This week I’ve been playing with Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino Tonals yarn. As you would expect from Debbie Bliss, it’s a fabulous yarn. It has exactly the same composition as Baby Cashmerino, but is in semi-solid tones. The shading within each colour is subtle, and I really like it. There are no wildly differing colours or variations within the colourways, just gentle subtleties. It reminds me a little of the more monochromatic semi-solid shades of Malabrigo Arroyo. The yarn is soft from the cashmere component, yet is bouncy, has a good ‘memory’, has an excellent stitch definition in lace and textured stitch patterns, and a neat, smooth look in stocking stitch. Debbie Bliss has produced an excellent pattern booklet to accompany the yarn, all for baby and children’s garments, and they are all cute and stylish, and there are some patterns for boys, who often seem to be a little neglected in pattern books.
The recommended gauge, or tension for this yarn is 25 stitches and 34 rows to 10cmin stocking stitch using 3.25mm needles. Now, I prefer to use 3.75mm needles with this yarn, and I obtain a tension of 24sts and 32 rows over stocking stitch after washing and blocking, and I think this makes a really lovely fabric, neither too dense, not too loose. I’ve knitted a couple of swatches so you can see how the yarn looks knitted up. The stocking stitch swatch is in Ocean 26, and the Lace swatch is in Peppermint 03. Remember, when knitting tension swatches to cast on more stitches, and knit more rows than you need, to obtain a more accurate measurement. For example, I cast on 34 stitches, and knit 36 rows in stocking stitch for my stocking stitch swatch. You will probably also find that if you knit a lace stitch swatch you will have fewer stitches to 10cm than in a stocking stitch swatch. My lace stitch swatch has 22 stitches and 32 rows to 10cm. Some patterns just give a tension in stocking stitch, while others include both stocking stitch, and pattern stitch tensions.
I knit a February Baby Sweater by Elizabeth Zimmermann using the basic Baby Cashmerino and 3.75mm needles, and I think this would look equally as cute in the Tonals yarn. As you can see from the picture of this garment, I added a ruffled collar, cuffs, and hem to the basic pattern to add a special touch to a girl’s cardigan. This pattern is a great introduction to top-down knitting, and has an easy lace-patterned body. It’s one of my go to patterns for babies, and it looks good in bright, neutral, or pastel shades. Taiga Hilliard Designs also produce fabulous baby and children’s knits. Check out her Merridy Tunic. These designs are all available on Ravelry.
Although this yarn is called Baby Cashmerino Tonals, there is no need to restrict our knitting to baby or children’s designs. I think this yarn would make equally gorgeous adult garments and accessories. Try the beautiful Hitofude Cardigan by Hiroke Fukatsu, but do check your tension with this design. It’s so soft that the yarn is comfortable to wear around the neck, and next to the skin, so I think it would be comfortable and cosy as a scarf, shawl, or wrap. Try Wavy Bias by Susan Ashcroft using the Ocean 26 colourway. Susan has many gorgeous, well-explained patterns for shawls, scarfs, wraps, and cowls, and most of her designs are customizable, and may be made in different weights of yarn. Or try mixing the Tonals yarn with the laceweight Debbie Bliss Angel, and make a Happy Half Moon wrap, also by Susan Ashcroft. Other striking shawls are The Age of Brass and Steam by Orange Flower Yarn; Multnomah by Kate Ray; and one of my favourites, Yvaine by Liz Abinante, which I think would look stunning in Cashmerino Tonals Speedwell 09.
I hope this has inspired you to try Baby Cashmerino Tonals. I’m sure that if you like Baby Cashmerino, you will like Tonals. Do remember to check your tension if you use a pattern from Ravelry, as lots of knitters who knit in the Continental style, knit more loosely than those of us who knit English style. If you have any questions about this, just ask.
If you have any knitting queries, or topics that you would like me to cover in a short article, or tutorial, please get in touch, and I will do my best to help.
In the meantime,
Copyright Lesley Conroy, 2016