A little while ago I ordered some of the glorious 4ply Ton of Wool Cormo in natural black to knit myself a cardigan. When my yarn arrived the lovely Kylie had tucked in some extra samples for me to have a play with. One of those samples was a 100g ball of this squishy natural white. It might have taken me, oh, a whole five minutes before it was on the needles.
I'd been playing around with a cabled hat pattern for a bit and had already knit a sample up in an Alpaca/Merino blend. I'd experimented with the brim and worked some lazy crown shaping; neither of which I was entirely happy with. A swatch and block later and this cormo was just begging to be knit into that hat pattern. So I made some changes, charted some crown shaping that was more integrated into the design and set to knitting.
Even though I had swatched thoroughly and played around with the cable pattern in my swatch, I really was not prepared for how perfect the matching of this yarn and this pattern are. Cormo spun worsted like this, embodies a knit with such incredible stitch definition. This is the type of stitch definition that makes me weep in glee. The cables are so gloriously squishy and they just pop. It is so perfectly divine.
What I love about this is even though it is one-size, it fits many heads. This is one of those truly family hats where one day my husband is wearing it and the next day the six year old milo boy is sporting it.
Construction wise, it is knit from the brim up in the round. It's fairly straightforward as far as cable knitting is concerned (which seriously, if you've never tried it have a crack at a milo and you'll see it is dead easy - just a matter of swapping the order of your stitches). The crown uses a couple of unusual decreasing cables, which actually makes them sound trickier than they are. They're just cables with a decrease chucked in there to help shape the crown.
And I do so love the crown on this thing, I love the way the cables all merge and intertwine together to really finish it off.
The cables have both written instructions and charts to cater for your preference.
Let me tell you a little more about this yarn.
Cormo is a really really beautiful yarn.
If you're familiar with Clara Parkes you may have heard her speak so very fondly of Cormo yarn over the years as it is up there as one of her favourites. Interestingly most people's experience with Cormo is of yarn from the US and yarn that is quite often woollen spun. This Cormo is different on both those counts.
Cormo is not readily produced in Australia, Ton of Wool is pretty much it. This is just a wee bit crazy, as the Cormo breed is as Australian as a Hills Hoist or Ugg boots. It is considered an Australian breed of sheep and was developed by crossing Corriedale rams with Saxon merino ewes.
Kylie sources her Cormo from the very farm and the very family who developed Cormo, the Downie family from Bothwell, Tasmania. It does not get much better than that. In fact, when Clara reviewed this yarn glowingly she said of it, "If you want to experience the very DNA of what Cormo was intended to be, and still is, this is your yarn." She nailed it.
The 10ply Cormo is plump and amazing to work with in a way that is hard to explain. It is like butter. It is a quiet yarn. It is serenity; a yarn of mindfulness. It is definitely more in the category of an Aran weight yarn than a worsted weight, which I think is why it does lend itself so beautifully to cables. It reminds me of a snuggly aran jumper my mother knitted me when I was younger (I still have that jumper).
In desperate measures, you could substitute with another yarn - look for something plump and preferably lofty. This beanie took about 78 grams of the Cormo which works out to a bit under 150 yards/140 metres. But if you have the opportunity to, seriously try the Cormo.
There's another reason that I'm singing the praises of Cormo. My husband is allergic to wool. I know, pretty ironic for the husband of a knitwear designer. It's not lost on me.
Over the years I have knit him countless beanies in every variety of wool and wool blend imaginable. I have made him wear skeins of wool shoved down his shirt to see how he'd react. He itches. He complains. Even the purest organic merino bothers him. I had pretty much given up on knitting for him.
And then he wore this beanie, not just a bit but for whole days. AND it did not itch him. He did not break out in a rash! That my friends, is pretty amazing stuff as I'm sure anyone with a wool allergy will tell you. I have no idea why, it's spun in the same mill as other wools that make him itch, he's tried natural undyed before, merino and corriedale he both reacts to - who knows?
So I'm hailing Ton of Wool Cormo as a non-allergic wool. Try it! It may work for you too.
Anyway, this beanie pattern called Bothwell can be found in Ravelry in my store, which is just a quick hop, skip and a jump from here.
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