Sometimes a project manages to be all-consuming. It taunts you every time you put it down, willing you to pick it up, tempting you with its pure deliciousness, goading you to knit, knit, knit until it’s done! It knits up so quickly, so beautifully, the knitting so effortless that it is exclusively addictive to the detriment of housework, blogging and everything else on the needles… it’s relentless!
A week after starting this beautiful project, and fresh from my little frisson with Noro, I now have my perfect Francis (except that I might go back and lengthen the sleeves):
Wearing this yarn feels like being wrapped in a cloud of the ultimate softness and warmth. It’s so light, and airy, but yet warm and snuggly. It drapes and folds like a dream. I think I’ll wear it to bed. Zealana’s Kauri, worsted weight. Having finally got my sticky fingers on some of this yarn (thank you Zealana!), I’ve decided that this is my absolute favourite of all the Zealana yarns so far!
The addition of silk into the yarn has given it a sparkling lustre, drape and lightness that completely matches the attributes required to make this sweater a winner. The worsted weight is quite different to the fingering weight of the same yarn – it’s more like Rimu in spin, density and feel on the ball, but knit it up, and oh my!!!
I showed my Francis-in-progress to a friend at a knit meet this week, and I was worried she wasn’t going to give it back. She got that wide-eyed, slightly slack-jawed look of someone who has discovered a most covetable item and wants it. Clutching it tightly, slightly discombobulated language burbled out… ‘cloud’ ‘warm’ ‘soft’ ‘OMG’ something like that. I quickly prised my project out of her fingers and tucked into back my bag for safe keeping. Just in case. Because friends have been known to steal knitted items right out of my closet. It’s true!
Beth Silverstein’s Francis Revisited is an amazingly simple, yet stunning design that appears to suit all body types. Thank you again, Beth!
I’ve Raveled this project here, if you are interested in finding out the mods for this pattern using this yarn. There is one thing I’ll share with you here though: I learned a new cast-off (bind-off) that gave me a stretchy cuff and welt, matching the elasticity of the knitting perfectly.
Basically, it goes like this: at the beginning of your cast-off row, knit two stitches, then pop your left needle into the back of those two stitches and knit them together (effectively a SSK decrease) so that you’d got one stitch left. Then you knit another stitch, and SSK the remaining stitch left on your needle together with your new stitch and so on.
I’m sure there’s an online tutorial somewhere, but I got my instructions from the book Knit Fix: Problem Solving for Knitters by Lisa Kartus.
When I knitted my second Francis, I wasn’t happy with the bind-off despite using larger needles and knitting very loosely. It still produced a tight edge that didn’t match the fluidity of the rest of the project. So this time I decided to give this method a go, and I’m really happy I did.
In New Zealand, Mishi Yarns sells the yarn but you won’t see any pics on the site – best to check out the Yarn Sisters first to see the colours before contacting Mishi. Personally, I just want Knit World to stock this weight too, so I can pop in and indulge in a little Kauri at will!