Silkystones Sweater He and She KAL

March 17, 2014

In the morning I asked my husband to take pictures of me modeling my new sweater made out of the new Rowan Silkystones.  But then, we thought, it's such a pretty day, let's go to the beach for lunch and take pictures there.  I love spontaneous mid week beach days!  Especially if I have a new sweater to wear!  The day.  Oh my.  The day was beautiful.  The sky was so blue, the waves were crazy wild, crashing and churning, and we had the best lunch at the Cliff House.  It was a perfect day. 

I used the color, Tarn for my Silkystones sweater.

The Cliff House is a San Francisco treasure.  It was first built in 1863 but the building that stands now is circa 1909.  It hangs on a cliff over Ocean Beach neighboring the old Playland at the Beach and Sutro Baths.  The Sutro ruins are directly below and are open daily.  It's fun to climb around when the wind is not blowing too hard.  The Cliff House is owned by the National Park Service and leased to a restauranteur to run the food service.  And it's excellent.  We have lunch here about twice a year and always eat downstairs at Sutros.  They have a more casual Bistro upstairs.  If you go midweek off-season you'll never have to wait for a window seat.  I can't vouch for the rest of the year.  We stay clear of the tourist destinations during the peak seasons.  Sutros has two story windows and the view and the light is incredible.  The Seal Rocks sit directly outside and you can often watch a big cargo ship move slowly across the horizon towards the Golden Gate Bridge.  If you visit San Francisco make sure you make time to have lunch at this very special place.  I hear their Sunday Brunch is amazing.  After lunch, walk through the Sutro Bath ruins, stop at the awesome Camera Obscura, spend some time walking the wide and windy Ocean Beach, fly a kite, walk a dog, read a book, and twirl around and enjoy the beauty that California offers.  (I haven't forgotten to tell you about my sweater, read on!)

The view of Seal Rocks from our table.

Bacon Crusted Salmon, so fresh and perfect.

It's a quick climb down to the beach.

In the far distance, south of Ocean Beach is Fort Funston, a dog friendly, leash free beach we visit with our granddog Dexter.  In this picture, on the far horizon on the left, you can view one of the two windmills that stand at the end of Golden Gate park where it meets Ocean Beach.  It's always planted with beautiful flowers and worth a little visit.

The Cliff House juts out for a good view!

The cliffs facing Ocean Beach.
I made my Silkystones pullover as part of a KAL with my German knitting buddy, Konrad.  You might remember that we were meant to knit the same sweater, Pond from the Silkystones Collection, with Konrad sharing his tips on how to modify a woman's pattern to suit a man.   And then I went rogue and decided instead to knit Margot with my yarn, a simple top down and in the round sweater I've knit before.  Dear Konrad has stayed on course and did indeed knit Pond and has made the most gorgeous sweater in a beautiful green.  I've shared all the links at the end of my post.

First let's talk about the yarn.  It's a 50/50 blend of silk and linen and well priced for such an elegant fiber combination with good yardage at 109 yards per skein.  It knits up as a worsted weight at 20 stitches per 4 inches.  The yarn has a pebbly, mottled appearance and is very soft and surprisingly easy to knit.  The fabric itself is very beautiful and next to the skin soft.  Rowan recommends that the finished garment be treated with care:  hand wash your garment in a basin of cool water (I would recommend a mesh laundry bag).  After rinsing, gently squeeze then roll in a towel to absorb excess moisture.  With care, pat the garment into shape and dry flat in the shade.

I will share my after care experience with you only if you promise not to do what I did.  I placed the finished sweater in a basin of cool water and swished it around.  Don't be too alarmed if excess dye comes out in the water.  It did not affect the look of my sweater.  I have been told to add salt to the water to help avoid this.  Next, I squeezed the water out and rolled it in several towels to remove excess moisture.  I covered my kitchen table with towels and pat it flat to dry.  My garment grew in length several inches during this process.  In the morning it was half dry, so I, gulp, am embarrassed to say this, but I threw it in the dryer.  Oh yes I did. I checked on it every five minutes or so and decided to keep it in until it was fully dry.  After this stint in the dryer, it fit!  It shrunk in length and a bit in width too which was fine with me.  That day I wore it to the beach all day and the stitches relaxed a bit, perhaps one inch in length.  You can compare the first pictures taken at the house to the second set at the beach.  The sleeves are about an inch longer after a day's wear. 

So, please keep my experience in mind when knitting with Silkystones.  Knit a swatch and measure your gauge only after you wet block and then adjust your needles from there.  This is the correct way to do it, NOT my "fix" in the dryer.  I do not recommend using the dryer for this yarn as I feel I was lucky to have a beautiful sweater after that experience.  I can assure you that Rowan does not recommend anything but what appears on the ball band and it says: do not tumble dry.  Bad ambassador, very bad.

I see this yarn knit in a drapey garment with flowing lines.  Both silk and linen have elegant attributes such as sheen and strength and drape, but neither has memory, so a fitted garment would not be it's best use.  Please read Konrad's wonderful and informative post.  And Konrad, your Pond is so handsome.  It makes your green eyes look even more green! KALs are all about helping and encouraging each other and I couldn't have asked for a more generous or kind knitting partner than Konrad.  In our next KAL we'll be making a v-neck top knit in Rowan Pure Linen.  And we'll both be involved in a mystery KAL run by Rowan Yarns.  More about both later, so stay tuned!

So what happened to my Silkystones sweater with the too long arms?  Well, it's knit top down and so it would be a quick fix to unravel and shorten.  But my daughter and granddaughter are both several inches taller than me so I mailed it to them and the word is that they are very happy and are keeping it!

The Links!

Konrad's tips on his modifications
Read this post by Anne to find out about her care for Silkystones.
Silkystones Collection, designs by Marie Wallin 
Purchase Silkystones at Jimmy Beans
Minute by minute weather update at The Cliff House

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  1. Hi Kristen, I love the design Margot and I love the colour. Looking forward for our next KAL.

  2. Lovely sweater Kristen! OMG in the dryer :)! Laughing....

  3. I love the cliff house!

  4. I LOVE that sweater.


  5. I'm a native San Franciscan and currently a part-time resident, but I've never been to the Cliff House. I must add it to my bucket list. I frequently walk or take a bus to Ocean beach. I call it the "edge of the world" because that's what it feels like when I look out over the water.

  6. Hi, Kristine. I have been admiring your knitting and other things you do through your blog for some years. I thought I need to thank you on this particular post on the Cliff House and the beach. I was there last week with my family thanks to your post. Otherwise, I would have missed it totally. Although it was not my first visit to SF, it was the first to the beach you introduced in this post. So spectacular! We were seated at the south-west corner of the restaurant and felt very lucky. Again, thank you for your post.


    1. Hi May! I'm so glad you visited the Cliff House and enjoyed it! It is such a special place! I went to your blog and also see that you visited Nepenthe too. That is an amazing place, isn't it? If I don't get there at least once a year I start to feel sorry for myself! Thank you for writing to me.


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