Monday, July 3, 2006

Rowan Denim

I love this stuff!! Since it came out back in 1992 Rowan Denim has a favourite of mine. This is my sweater. Kyle was good enough to model it after much explaining about "unisex". He even pulled off a smile! It was an 'at home day' so the hair didn't get combed and he still has hat head. I can't wait to get that mop cut off - 11 more days. He really is so handsome with a bare head. (wistful mom sigh) Well, to be truthful I really all of Rowan's yarns but today it's all about the Denim. I bought the first pattern leaflet that Rowan came out with and knit a sweater for Kyle - he was about 2. Then I knit a matching one for myself and Kerwyn, then another one for Kyle (he was about 4). He was my first child. I learned very quickly to knit his sweater much larger than would seem advisable so that they would fit when I was done with them and he would get to wear them for while. I also learned about making a working copy of your pattern. Lessons learned.
Kyle's sweater have gone through several children, back to me for Amanda and are now being loved by other children. I have had to redo the neck on Kerwyn's several times (whisker rubs cotto
n - whiskers win Hmmmm ... sounds like an all new take on Rock, Paper, Scissors). The hem on mine finally became so tatty that I cut it off and cast it off to neaten it up. My neckline finally fell apart - no not from whicker burn, just a lot of wear - so it has been re-knit. I like the way the darker yarn tells a progressive story about the sweater. Kind of like the growth rings in a tree.
It amazes me that this sweater still garners the most praise when I wear it to knitting shows. The cables show off the Denim Effect (the unique fading that you only get from losing the indigo dye through wash & wear) of the yarn so well and I guess that there are not too many Denim sweaters are quite this old. Knitters and non-knitters alike stop me to touch it, ask about the yarn (or if it was hand knit) and comment on the uniqueness of it.
It really does become like your favourite pair of jeans. The cotton softens up so much, the fading, the wearing at the edges all make it the perfect long-term sweater. It's worth the extra knitting. Rowan Denim is not pre-shrunk so you need to knit about an extra 20% in length to compensate for the impending shrinkage. (Rowan's patterns are
written to compensate for this.) It's worth the stains. The indigo dye comes off on your hands, needles and if you're wearing light coloured clothes it will rub off on that too. It's worth knitting with hard cotton. The dyeing makes the yarn a bit stiff in hand.
I haven't knit any more sweater out of the Denim since those original ones - wait, I knit one for Julie. It was out of the Ecru. I couldn't imagine why you'd want an ecru denim sweater - half the point is the Denim Effect. But it did fade significantly in the first wash to almost white. The shrinkage also scrinches (I know, all these technical terms) up the cables making them tighter than a sane knitter would want to knit them, making the cables extra popping ... I don't know ... cabley.
brooklyntweed is working on a Denim sweater and was expressing concern over the knitted length. Hopefully this post will reassure him a bit and fill him with denim-y desire and spur him on to the finish. Even though his sweater is stockinette stitch, I'm sure that the Denim Effect will be excellent. I mean, we all don't wear cabled jeans!

Here is me & the Tina Shawl.
Not really a shorts-and-tshirt kinda shawl, but there you go.

I'm off to block the fronts & back on Joanne's sweater. Have a great knitting day!!!


  1. Wow, that is a really nice looking rustic cabled sweater. Tahnks for the tips on rowan denim.

  2. I love the Tina shawl! Of course, I love shawls in general so you might call me a bit biased. And you can so wear the shawl with shorts and t-shirts if you want. Of course if it is shorts and t-shirt weather, needing a shawl might be a little redundant, but why not?!

  3. Sharon7:54 PM

    Love the denim sweater. I, too, am a fan of this yarn, and love how it fades and shrinks! What is the leaflet number for the pattern?

    Your Tina shawl is lovely.

  4. Rowan Den-m-nit 572
    Kim Hargreaves

    I'm quite certain that it's no longer available.

  5. The Denim cable sweater is just beautiful. It shows quite a history that you lovingly described. Thanks for a beautiful post.

    Hope you had a terrific Canada Day.

  6. That's one yarn I've never knit with but always wanted to. Maybe someday. And Julie's white denim is gorgeous by the way.