Wednesday, November 30, 2016

november post 15: bulky knits, portillo please!

 **Hey there Boston area folks--I am teaching an iphoneography class at Craftworks Somerville on this Saturday 12/3 -and I just learned there are 3 seats left!  11 am- 1pm. Join us! Why make Just Average images?
 I'm not done with the bulky knit love yet. Not even close.
 Portillo Cowl from Drop Dead Easy Knits. Of all the patterns in the book, this one is the drop dead easiest.  It is also my lone design contribution. Given the talents of my two co-authors, I kept it simple and left the amazingly stylish and beautiful yet easy-to-knit designs to Kirsten and Mary Lou. If you have the book, you know what I mean.
 Big squishy yarn + warm snuggliness +  contrast yarns that are fun to knit = excellent gift knitting. 
That's my formula.
The sample for the book is made with two skein of Malabrigo Rasta. I kept it graphic and crisp with two mostly solids but you can go WILD, check out their color card.   This is a pattern to use handpainted yarn, and variegated yarns. The stitch pattern breaks it up.
Personally, I wear it doubled over, like this.  
About choosing the yarn: one of the things we did with Drop Dead Easy Knits is keep it yarn shop friendly--meaning, that you can pretty easily find the yarn we used, in your local yarn shop.  Since every shop can't stock every yarn, we also added a page in the back where we list substitution yarns-- all also easy to find in yarn shops. And, we want to offer  economic alternatives.
What's that you say?  Yup, we kept thinking about your knitting budget.  My Portillo costs about $ beautiful hand dyed yarn, and its worth it--but not always in the yarn budget. Or maybe, like me,  it's in the budget for a special treat, but it's a stretch to spend that for multiple friend gift knitting.
Substitutes*! Any nice super bulky with 90 yards/skein or more  will be equally fab.  Or possibly even fabbier. Here's Rowan Brushed Fleece,** which has a bit more yardage ,  two balls will total about $27. US.  It's also amazingly cloud like and delicious to knit.
Or the higher contrast red and grey. Love.
Kirsten grabbed these four balls of ValleyYarns  SuperWash Super Bulky .  You only need two for a Portillo Cowl but we loved these colors together- so you could mix and match. And guess what? $ 9.49 /skein, which means your project clocks in at just under $20.  Winner-winner chicken dinner.  Also, check at the link,  a lot of color options. 
 A real life Portillo Cowl testimonial: I was visiting my BFFL Arline on a Friday a couple of weeks ago.  She hauled out these two balls of yarn in her favorite colors, purchased long ago for some unrequited project. (They are a discontinued Tahki Yarn, but that company has other excellent super bulky options). Arline rarely knits. I had to refresh her cast-on skills. Above is what her Portillo looked like by Friday evening.
Monday morning! (photo courtesy of the knitter ) And I know she didn't just stay home and knit all weekend. I rest my case.
As for me, I came home with some of that Rowan Brushed Fleece *** in the pinkest of fluffy fuschia hues. It is going to be an Azel Pullover for Zoe,  it qualifies as both a bulky and super fast knit= good gift knitting. I'm trying to keep it a  secret and surprise her for Hanukah. Shhhh, ok?  
PS are you following the MasonDixon Knitting GiftAlong on their Lounge site? 
  * You might notice from this link to the Rowan page that suggested needle size is US 10 but this pattern is knit on US 15.  This is why the word suggested is so important. For the Portillo Cowl you want a nice drapey gauge and let it fluff up.  Fear not and go with the larger needles (and of course, the smart money is on doing a quick gauge swatch). 

** Many thanks to Kirsten Kapur and Beverly Army Williams for the yarn choosing and hand modeling The three of us were in Webs, where the options are mind-boggling. I don't know how they put up with shopping with me when there are so many oooh look squirrel choices  but I love them both for it. 

***this last link is to the discontinued Rowan Brushed Fleece colors at Webs.  You can knit a super duper economical Portillo Cowl. Just sayin'.


Beverly said...

I knit one Brushed Fleece Portillo Cowl in one evening! And we all know Beverly= World's Slowest Knitter!! I love this pattern!!

Sam said...

Some people just spin the universe faster when they knit. Love the "ooh a squirrel" moment. I am that way with buttons and fabric.

Mary Lou said...

I was in Duluth at Yarn Harbor and one customer told me she had already knit four of them! I making a shop model for the Yarnery right now. This goes FAAAAAST.

Kay said...

We really should have a topic in the Lounge for bulky Giftalong projects--could you post a link to this post there and maybe a photo of this cowl? There are so many good options, and we are getting into the last-minute zone! #teamPortillo

Carole said...

It can be really frustrating when the only yarn options given in a book are expensive ones, I greatly appreciate the different and varied price range in the book.

Kym said...

If only there were more minutes in my day. . . (Or, heck, if maybe I used my minutes more effectively or something!) I would be knitting these for everyone on my gift list! Love!

AsKatKnits said...

I love this! And, the yarn suggestions are excellent. This is moving to my 12 days of casting on list! Thank you!

steph said...

how cute.....!!!

Sam said...

If in Somerville - go to either The Buren or Redbones for FAB food.

Mary Lou said...

Kay's idea is a good one. Let me know if you want me to chime in. I got me some super bulky patterns, to.

Vicki said...

Newbie question: The link for the Valley Yarns goes to Bulky, not Super Bulky. Can you knit the Bulky on a 15 needle? Or do I need to order the Super Bulky instead? I followed the link and ordered the bulky weight, but I think it's too small? I'm lost, LOL