Recommended listening for this post: Spiderwebs by No Doubt
If you've subscribed to my Instagram you've seen a sneek peak of this bad boy, the No Doubt Warmer by Wool and the Gang
This super unique knit looks like plaid through the magic of interweaving thread through the purl bumps of the reverse stockinette stitch after all the knitting is complete (you can see a video of the process here). Because of it's plaid-nees the folks Wool and the Gang named it after the fabulous Gwen circa 1995 in all her ska, plaid wearing amazing-ness.
I love the overall shape of this 'warmer' its kind of a cross between a cowl and the very 'on-trend' blanket scarves. The best part is that you get the over-sized, chunky look of a blanket scarf without constantly having to re-position it a bazillion times or tie it to prevent it from falling off because it's sewn together like a giant cowl (Although given my small-ness I could gave probably made it a bit smaller...see a few pictures down)
This is a super easy knit and the knitting part whips up in about a week due to the chunky yarn and large needles making it a perfect 'veg out and knit in front of the tv' knit. The weaving of the plaid parts on the other hand....be prepared for an hour or two of solid weaving and concentration to get that part done. My best advice: a) put the whole thing on a table while you do this part so it lies flat, b) try to use lengths of yarn long enough to make two or three rows of weaving rather than one at a time like the instructions say or else you'll have a million thread ends to deal with later, c) use a tapered tapestry needle as this makes it easier to thread underneath the purl bumps and not split your yarn.
This is my first attempt at a Wool and The Gang pattern, mostly because I found that the patterns that I did like they did not offer as stand alone patterns.....to get the pattern you often have to buy one of their kits.....and while their yarn looks amazing, it's expensive! Plus, they are based in the UK so with the conversion to either pounds or US$ from Canadian plus shipping their kits are out of my price point :( (Also, does anyone else find it weird that the price difference between buying on of their kits and buying the same item pre-made is super small? for example this kit is $126US but the pre-made knit one is $165US.....to me that means they are either severely under valuing the time and talent of their knitters or using a machine to make their pre-made knits...)
Luckily they put this pattern up for sale as a pattern only purchase a few weeks ago so I snapped it up and cast on with some bulky acrylic yarn (Bernat Softee Chunky in Berry Red and True Grey and Lion Brand Yarns Potpourri) I snagged at Michaels for cheep #couponFTW I was super lucky to find colours that almost match those of the sample image for the warmer (I really loved the combo they had, especially the one 'tweedy' yarn that I thought really helped make the plaid pattern work). I normally don't knit with synthetic fibers but I'm kinda glad that I did with this one since it's so large and bulky it's warm enough on it's own without needing any extra help from say a wool or alpaca yarn (although using a natural fiber would probably give this knit more drape and make the overall look less stiff)
While I adore the finished product I can't say I was too impressed with the pattern itself. Maybe I'm a bit spoilt with super detailed instructions from designers from Brooklyn tweed, but I found that instructions could have used a bit more clarification for a pattern they bill as 'Easy'. Or perhaps I was expecting more from a pattern that I ended up paying almost $20 for once the price was converted from US$ to Canadian! I found this to be really expensive for a single pattern when you consider that most individual knitting patterns on Ravelry, in my expereince anyway, sell for 5-10$ even for sweaters with multiple sizes! This is a one size fits all kind of thing and it's almost double the average pattern price! And while it is nice that they give you both a PDF copy and mail you paper version I really didn't need the paper version and would have been perfectly happy with the PDF alone, especially since by the time the paper copy arrived in the mail I had already completed the project (they did send a straight, large eyed, sewing needle with the paper pattern which is nice of them but again I didn't need it!).
So I guess in conclusion while I LOVE this warmer and I see it getting many, many days of use I don't know if I'll be investing in some of their other patterns or kits......from having to either buy a whole kit from them to get a pattern or buying a really expensive pattern I was left kind of 'meh' by their approach to selling yarn and knitting patterns. Maybe if another one of their patterns really speaks to me like this one did I'll give them another shot (or if I win the lottery!)
Any of you guys have thoughts about Wool and The Gang?