Knitting with cotton

I haven't typically loved knitting with cotton, but I needed a shop sample for Plymouth Yarn's Cleo, which is a DK weight 100% mercerized cotton.  The colors are saturated, and like all mercerized cottons, it has a slight sheen.  After some poking around on Ravelry, I decided on Chic Knits' Cinnie, a short sleeve cardigan with interesting construction details I thought would counter cotton's tendency to stretch in length--there are no seams, but the upper bodice is knit side-to-side, and then the lower portion is picked up and knit down. DSC_0873Lo and behold, not only did I love the pattern (Bonne Marie Burns is a genius), but I really liked knitting with the Cleo.  I normally knit with my Addi Turbo Lace Clicks, but I used the ChiaoGoo fixed bamboo circulars to avoid frustration with the cotton sliding around too much.  The ChiaoGoos had the right amount of drag on the needles, and they have very nice pointy tips.  The pattern repeats are easy to memorize, and the project has you changing gears often enough to keep everything fun and interesting.  I put it down for a few days to make a Cedar Leaf Shawlette in the RainCity Fiber Arts Bainbridge DK, and when I came back to it, I was able to find my place with a minimum of fuss.  The only real snag I ran into was when it came to the bind off for the neckband.  I initially used the method where you leave the second stitch on the left hand needle while you are pulling the right stitch over it.  This usually makes a looser, but still tidy edge, but it was still pulling upward too much.  I pulled it out and tried again, using a much bigger needle for the right hand needle (5.00mm vs. the 3.75mm the edging was knit with).  The second try gave me a cast off edge that was firm enough, but not too tight.

Blocking was essential for this sweater.  It looked a little homely right when it came off the needles, but I gave it a bath, i.e. machine washed it on delicate in the front loader, and tumble dried it on low until it was just damp.  At that point, I used a steam iron and very light pressure to smooth out the body and the picked up edges.

The pattern is available as an in-store Ravelry download (as is the Cedar Leaf Shawlette).  In addition to the Cleo, it would also work in the Ella Rae Cozy Soft, or the HiKoo Simplicity.  I made the long version, but there is also a cropped variation.  It's really a fun knit!