I Have Dabbled in Dapple!
It’s been a month since I picked up seven skeins of Dapple from Needles in the Hay, and it’s been a solid four weeks. Dapple makes for some great knitting.
Overall, I’d describe it as a worry-free yarn to work with. I didn’t have any issues with it splitting on me, and as I said in my previous write up, it’s stronger than other Brooklyn Tweed woolen spuns. I wasn’t afraid to really work with it, and that’s a nice feature.
My Dapple trial project was a shrug, Santa Fe, by Isabelle Kramer.
With more than 1,000 yards of cotton/merino wool in it, it's incredibly light. I have fingering-weight cardigans that feel heavier.
It’ll be warm when I need it to be, and it feels nice on, even in the hot weather we’ve had in late July and early August. Dapple has a nice give to it. Enough to allow me to move, but not enough that I worry about it sagging.
Hands down, one of Dapple’s biggest stand outs is the stitch definition. Even the ribbing along the bottom and my cast off looks great, and I never say that about either ribbing or a cast off. I just went with the old standard cast off, and the edge was beautifully crisp and clean.
Another great feature? Drop a stitch, and it’ll just sit there until you notice again. It’s not prone to running down the length of the work until you find it.
Santa Fe features a Chevron lace for the front, and lace patterns don’t always show themselves well until you block, even with a DK weight. I didn’t have that problem. In fact, the structure of the shrug didn’t really change much at all after blocking, owing to the cotton. It made measuring as I went a pretty breezy process. I knew what I was seeing on the needles was what I’d get when it was all done.
There is one characteristic of Dapple that knitters are really going to have to watch. Because the cotton doesn’t really absorb this particular dye, and the merino DOES, Dapple doesn’t really have dye lots. Skeins within each dye lot can really vary. That can make for really great and really interesting projects, but you really have to plan ahead and pick your project carefully.
Santa Fe requires you to knit from the centre and complete one side, then pick up stitches along your cast on edge, and knit the down the other. That forms the shoulders and front of the garment.
In order to ensure I got my fade right, I worked outward from the centre, knitting both sides at the same time. That also meant dividing each skein, and bringing in the next skein all at the same time on each side. So there were a few rows where I was using four balls yarn at once.
After knitting that section, you pick up stitches along the back and work in stockinette all the way down for the lower back, then finish with 2 ¼” of ribbing.
Because of this, and despite my best efforts, my fade isn’t quite what I wanted it to be in some sections. I think using a colour like Natural, or using tones that were more similar instead of going for a fade would have eliminated the issue.
With all that in mind, I think Dapple’s got great potential for pretty much any project. And it is one of those great four-season yarns that’s nice to work with no matter what the weather is doing.
I made my shrug in the middle of a drought, happily knitting my stitches and making my yarn overs as the sun beat down around me. I think I’ll use my left over yarn to make a hat, now that the weather has finally cooled down.