As head of CEY’s luxury division, I’m always on the lookout for good designs for our cashmere yarns. I’m especially drawn to interesting combinations of basic stitches. Recently, an adorable pair of machine-knitted booties worked in ribs and small cables caught my eye. I liked them so much that I used a similar stitch combination for a pair of baby mitts and booties in Wicked, a dk weight cashmere yarn.
Not everyone is inclined to make baby items in cashmere however, so I adapted the rib-and-cable pattern for a small hat. I chose to make it in Summer Set, a soft-as-can-be blend of cotton and alpaca. Summer Set is a good yarn for baby items; it’s soft, warm, and it breathes. I added the little bow at the top for a touch of cute.
This pattern is a quick knit andgood newsthe two smaller sizes use only one ball of yarn each.
Summer Set 64% cotton, 19% alpaca, 12% polyester, 5% lyocel
When we think, “fiber from Peru,” most of us picture alpacathose lovely doe-eyed camelids that produce the soft, silky, and warm yarns that we have come to love. But Peru also produces two kinds of plant fiber. Pima cotton, the lustrous long-staple variety, is grown in northern Peru. But its cousin, the much-less-famous Tanguis cottonthe cotton found in many cotton-blends from South Americais grown along the central and southern coast and it has an interesting history.
In the early 1900’s, when Peruvians were trying to increase their cotton crops, at the expense of their sugar crops and vineyards (this is another story), they were hampered by wilt disease. In 1908, Fermin Tanquis, a cotton grower from the Pisco region, bred a more resistant long-staple cotton crop. The development of the durable Tanguis cotton revolutionized the cotton economy in Peru. Between 1920 and 1925, thanks in large measure to the boll-weevil that plagued U.S. cotton during those years (economies were global even then), Tanguis cotton was Peru’s largest export crop. Another interesting thing to note: Tanguis was grown mostly by peasant farmers and sharecroppers, not by wealthy landowners. It was a kind of people’s crop.
Unfortunately for the Peruvian farmers, when the U.S. crops recovered, the oversupply of cotton drove down global prices and Tanguis’s days of glory were over. Nonetheless, Tanguis cotton is still a large part of the Peruvian fiber industry. You can find it blended with the finest Peruvian baby alpaca in CEY’s Summer Set, available in 20 pretty colors.
Here is the free downloadable Ribs and Cables Baby Cap pattern.
Anyone who knits ribs and cables is familiar with that sloppy stitch where the rib or cable goes from knit stitch to purl stitch. Most of us tug a little more on the yarn after making that final stitch to tighten things up, but if you have a particularly egregious problem with knit-to-purl transitions, you might want to try one of these maneuvers to see if it helps.