In December, I sent a big box of Cormo 3.0 to Jennifer Heverly, of Spirit Trail Fiberworks, to see what magic she could work with her hands-on dye technique. She created two richly saturated, warm and earthy colors for us. Toile de Jouy is a wonderfully old-school rose that drifts from red to pink without ever actually hitting either extreme. It's gorgeous, especially for the February blahs.
Jennifer dyed these skeins in Virginia before returning them to Pepperell Mill Campus in Biddeford, Maine, where they were tagged and shipped to you.
Gauge: This plump, three-ply, combed American Cormo yarn has two distinct modes depending on what you want to make out of it. If your intent is a spongy, decadent cowl or scarf--something where abrasion concerns will never enter the picture--then you can pull out your US 11 (8mm) needles and finish your 3-3.25 stitches-per-inch project in no time. If, however, your goal is a garment where structure, dimensional stability, or abrasion resistance are a concern--which is to say, any kind of sweater--you will want to stick in the US 9 to 10 (5.5-6.0mm) needle range, seeking garments with a gauge of 3.5 to 3.75 stitches per inch. While Cormo 3.0 performs equally well on all types of needles, I particularly enjoyed working it on bamboo needles with a somewhat blunt tip. But the choice is yours: use the needles that feel right in your hands.
Put-up: 120 yards (109m)
Skein weight: 100g
Source: Wool from purebred American Cormo sheep raised in Montana. Scoured at Bollman's in San Angelo, Texas. Picked, carded, combed, pin-drafted, spun, twisted, and skeined at Kraemer Yarns in Nazareth, Pennsylvania. Scoured and twisted into the tidy skeins you see here at Saco River Dyehouse in Biddeford, Maine.
Elsa Hallowell first mentioned a third bale of Cormo to me back in the summer of 2014. Its size and location seemed to change every time we corresponded--one was already waiting at a mill, another had just been scoured, a few others were sitting here and there. No matter. I knew that whatever this bale ended up being, whenever Elsa was finally willing to part with it, I would snatch it up and never let go.
Which I did. And now, it's time to let it go.
For our third Cormo experiment I had just one thing in mind: Bulky.
Think of it. What more delicious way to enter a long cold winter than with a plump, three-ply Cormo that almost knits itself? This is a comfort yarn, like your favorite comfort food only better, with fewer calories and a plush wool hug that will comfort you for years.
The yarn's rounded construction renders a full, mostly steady stockinette with a hint of wabi-sabi wobble. The tighter your gauge, the more noticeable that wobble will be -- that is, until bath time. This yarn adores stockinette and will give you a highly spongy, corrugated garter stitch. But where it really thrives is in knit/purl textured patterning. Cables will be of a phenomenally high relief--just keep in mind that the more cables you work, the more the potential for bulk in the finished garment.
If you thought Cormo 1.0 and 2.0 bloomed, just wait until you take your still-wobbly, somewhat vulnerable stitches off the needle and drop them into a warm soapy bath. Give them a few squeezes, let them rest, and only then give them a good rinse (in the same temperature water as the initial bath). The cohesive relaxation and bloom on the finished fabric surface may take your breath away.
Picture the hat pattern at left, only in Jen's rich, warm Toile de Jouy (perhaps contrasting with her Roussillon?). Designed by Chris Roosien, this pattern offers optimal enjoyment of just two skeins of Cormo 3.0. For most knitters, one skein of a main color and one skein of a contrasting color should get you two hats total, each a mirror of the other. Just keep track of your yarn and reduce repeats up top if it's getting low.
Size US 10 (6mm) circulars or DPNs. This is a big, comfy hat, but the circumference can be easily modified simply by using US 9 (5.5mm) needles instead.
240 yards (219) bulky-weight wool in equal amounts of two contrasting colors.
14.5 stitches per 4 inches in stockinette working in the round.
In main color (MC), cast on 68 stitches. Join stitches, being careful not to twist.
Begin rib pattern: *K1 through back loop, p1*, repeat until work measures 1.5 inches (3.8cm).
Work 4 rounds in stockinette.
Begin checkerboard pattern:
Rounds 1-2: *K2 in MC, k2 in CC*, repeat to end of round.
Rounds 3-4 (changing colors): *K2 in CC, k2 in MC*, repeat to end of round.
Round 5-8: Knit all stitches in MC.
Round 9 (contrast stripe): Knit all stitches in CC.
Round 10-13: Knit all stitches in MC.
Repeat Rounds 1-9.
Change back to main color and begin crown decreases as follows:
Round 1: *K3, k2tog*, repeat around.
Round 2: *k2, k2tog*, repeat around.
Round 3: *k1, k2tog*, repeat around.
Round 4: *k2tog*, repeat around.
Repeat Round 4 until 6 stitches remain.
Using a darning needle, thread the tail through those six stitches and secure snugly into the crown of your hat. Darn in all remaining ends and enjoy!
Cormo 3.0 is a comfort yarn that thrives in the simplest of stitches and projects. I took great delight working up the cowl at left, which used exactly three skeins--and can be shortened or expanded depending on your own yarn supply.
Here's what I did: Using US 11 (8.0mm) needles, I cast on 135 stitches, joined to work in the round, and then worked (k2, p2) ribbing around and around and around until I felt like stopping.
The secret is having an odd number of stitches on your needles, causing the rib to spiral sideways in a manner that looks far more complicated than it really is. My gauge was 3 stitches per inch in pattern, and my finished cowl measured 46" circumference and 12 1/2" tall--though, again, all of this is easily changed to suit your own desires.