Cascade 220 Superwash and the Fourth Doctor
This is going to be a bit of a look-back post, as I’ve completed this project and shipped it out already, but I do want to document my thoughts regarding this new (to me) yarn. Perhaps someday I will document the story of how I ended up promising to create two Doctor Who Season 12 4th Doctor scarves for two separate customers between the beginning of December and the end of January when I generally budget 4-6 weeks for each scarf, but I think that’s a post unto itself. Suffice to say, I’ve been knitting frantically at any available opportunity, and while I don’t mind making these scarves, as they are largely mindless work I can get done while watching telly or listening to podfic (or in the car, in the case of this superwash scarf), I don’t think I’ll be opening up the posting for a while. Sorry to those of you who may be waiting for one. The second scarf I knit (back in August/September), I knit in Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in worsted weight and I absolutely fell in love with that yarn. It feels nice both pre- and post-blocking, it slides wonderfully on the needles, and it’s just generally a really fantastic wool to work with, especially for the price. So when it came time to list the scarves on my Etsy page, I thought I’d give people the option of having this knit in washable wool (planning on using Wool of the Andes superwash). Well, when an order came in for the scarf in superwash, I headed to the Knit Picks page and learned that Wool of the Andes superwash doesn’t come in all the colours I needed for the scarf, and I didn’t know the palettes well enough to figure out if I could get close enough. So, I had to ask the customer to pay a bit more for yarn (which I felt bad about, but he was very gracious) and I ordered the full color set in Cascade 220 Superwash (worsted weight). The yarn came quickly, which is great because I was on a time crunch, and because I spent so much on yarn (the cost was $84), the shipping was free. Both positives, in my book. I was excited to work with the new yarn and see what it would knit up like and what the colour differences would be between the WotA scarf and the C220S (my new abbreviation system) scarf.
As far as the yarn colorations go between the two brands, I do think the purple-red (marionberry in C220, currant in WotA) was far truer to the original show colors with the C220, but the green, yellow, and tan (Thyme, Turmeric, and Almond, respectively, in WotA) are definitely better in the Wool of the Andes colors. As far as knitting up, I didn’t much like working with the C220S at first. It was very thin for worsted weight and it took me multiple swatches to get the gauge right (I usually knit very true to gauge). The superwash coating on the yarn makes it a bit slick so I found myself dropping stitches more easily than with the WotA. In addition, where the WotA seems to hold true to the yardages indicated in the pattern (using the pattern found on doctorwhoscarf.com), I either used far more yards than indicated on the pattern, or the balls are far fewer yards than they are supposed to be, as I actually ran out of green yarn before I reached the end of the pattern, and had to cut one of the sections short by a few rows. The pattern indicated that I would need 195 yards and the balls are supposed to be 220 yards. I also had just about enough yarn in grey, red, and purple (each with a 220 yard ball) when I was supposed to need 184, 177, and 137 yards, respectively. So either my gauge was completely off or something else went pretty wrong. I don’t think it would be worth ordering an extra ball of green in the future, as I was only off by 8 rows, but it is something that bothered me. Blocking: This is my new nemesis when it comes to this yarn. It’s machine washable, so I debated just shoving it in a pillowcase and running it through a wash cycle, but I was worried about the yarn stretching oddly so I handwashed and pinned it instead. Turns out my first instinct would have yielded better results. The yarn opens up A LOT when blocked (it was significantly longer than the WotA scarf I made once it was blocked), which is fine, but my primary problem was that when I pinned my beautifully, consistently straight edges after handwashing the scarf, the rows shrunk up a bit horizontally as they dried and left the edges horribly uneven. I fixed it as best I could, but short of another re-blocking, this time with a run through the washer and a reshaping, nothing would fix the edges. So next time I either need to just let it shape itself and not pin the edges as it dries, or I need to pin it when it is less saturated with water and hope that makes the difference. I’d definitely work with this yarn again, as it’s pretty much the best washable wool option in the correct colours that I can find, but if I have my choice I’d rather work with Wool of the Andes in worsted, as I think it produces a better product for less cost with less hassle. Here is a photoset of the finished product in Cascade 220 Superwash. You can see the pulled edges from the blocking and hopefully this gives you a good idea of the colourations. I’m happy overall, except the blocking issue.