For many years I have loved and admired Cape Cod, a gansey designed by Alice Starmore for her Fisherman’s Sweaters book and expressly created for a feminine wearer. The yarn used in the original design, like many of the venerable Rowan yarns of yore, is long discontinued. It was a 50/50 silk/wool blend, and knit up at 34 stitches and 44 rows per 4 inches.
Because I did not have access to the original yarn, and did not know of a suitable substitute, I did not ever knit the sweater. Over the years since Ravelry has come into existence, I periodically look at the implementations of the Cape Cod design as knit by other people, but nobody’s choice of yarn has ever struck me as perfect. I therefore refrained from adopting any of those yarns.
In the last month or so, largely inspired by Gordon, I contracted a serious case of Gansey Fever, and so began once again my hunt for the perfect yarn for Cape Cod.
The characteristics of this yarn, in my opinion, would be that it is soft in appearance and feel, but not so soft that it stretches into nothing as it loops around the needle; that it is tightly twisted so that it shows great stitch definition, but not so tight that it is harsh; that the color complements the design and is not overbearing.
One day it all came together, my perfect yarn: Renaissance Dyeing 4-ply Poll Dorset. The color is called Pastel, reminiscent of wispy clouds across a pale blue sky. It knits at the perfect gauge on a 2.25 mm needle, and is everything I ever dreamed. It has the bounce and softness characteristic of this breed of sheep, and I am infatuated with it.
In this picture you can see the bottoms of the shells and the beginnings of the horseshoe cables above the welt, see the sharp relief of the purls against the knits, and if you could also experience its softness against your skin you would agree that this yarn is perfect for Cape Cod.
Change of subject: I told you about Stonewall in my last post, and here he is to greet and to wish you, with his operatic meow, a very Merry Christmas!