Riverbend + Quarry

Egged on by stunning photography and super stylish pattern collections, it’s hard to resist the temptation that is Brooklyn Tweed. Seeing all the pretty photos of Quarry that started popping up when the yarn launched last year I made the fateful click that took me to the BT website. When I realized I could knit a sweater with this new-to-me yarn for a relatively good price, I splurged and decided to knit the very relaxed Riverbend with Quarry in Slate.

It arrived and the color was gorgeous. I knew the basics of this yarn — the chunky relative of Loft & Shelter — and I’ve knit for many years with a lot of different types of yarns and I never thought to go in and read reviews of it before I started knitting. I dutifully knit & washed my swatch & checked my gauge.

And I started knitting, ecstatic that the tweedy colors were everything I hoped they would be.

img_2336And at this point, I went and looked for reviews.

The thing about Quarry is that its made to act & look like a single, but it is a barely spun 3ply meant to be reminiscent of ‘unspun’ yarns. In action, this means that if you tug on it it comes apart very easily. I, of course, learned this the hard way. Once it’s knit it seems pretty sturdy, but if you pull on your working yarn it will most likely break unless you are very careful. I read a number of reviews where knitters were very unhappy and frustrated with this attribute. I can imagine that any knitter that grips the yarn firmly or has a habit of pulling on their working yarn or knitting with a lot of tension on their yarn might really struggle with Quarry. To their credit, Brooklyn Tweed has provided a PDF with “tips for happy knitting with Quarry” and it did indeed help me to better understand the material with which I was working. It did, however, leave me pondering how I feel about yarn that needs special instructions for use. I’m certainly on the esoteric side of the yarn consumer scale, but even I am left questioning the larger implications of needing to explain a yarn.

But I digress.

img_2348I knit along, more easily now that I was equipped with more knowledge of the yarn and made my way through Riverbend which is a very well-done pattern. The fabric, a beautiful slate-y blue with gorgeous pops of tweedy goodness, I knew would be a wonderful addition to my wardrobe. It’s a color I love to wear. As it’s a bulky weight sweater, of course, the knitting really didn’t take long at all.

I washed and blocked and seamed (with a different yarn, as directed) and added the button bands. Then I found the backer buttons I needed to complete the project.

img_2552-1And I selected the ‘right side’ buttons which I ended up picking from Balwen Woodworks. I’ll admit I was a little pokey getting the buttons on for no better reason that I’m not a huge fan of sewing on buttons. It’s weird, I know, but that’s me.

Looking at the pretty finished fabric though…

stitch detailI finally got to it and got it done.

with buttonsI really love the finished look (please excuse the white spots — again — it’s snow!). You’ll notice, perhaps, that the buttonholes & buttons are opposite where they should be on a ladies’ sweater. Somehow, somewhere in the button band process I managed to confuse the RS/WS which landed the buttonholes on the wrong side. This has never happened to me before, so I’m not quite sure how I did it, but there it is. It really doesn’t matter, it still looks lovely. I just kind of look like a kindergartner trying to button this sweater and every time I do button it I have a renewed respect for lefties everywhere.

on

Pardon my lack of head in this picture — it was cold and windy and snowy and I was too cold to retake them when I saw the weird faces I was making. I’d have left them in the photo, but I wanted you to be able to see the sweater and not just my ‘I’m freezing‘ and ‘What are you doing?‘ faces. In any case, I made the 39″ which gives me about 2.5-3″ of ease and it is really a very comfortable fit and a nice, cozy sweater. It’s great just casually thrown on over a t-shirt for around the house or for running errands. I think it looks nicest slouching off my shoulders a bit.

All in all, this project turned out wonderfully. I’ve already been wearing my Riverbend quite a bit and as I said it is very comfy & cozy. I’ve warmed to the entity that is Quarry, too, but I certainly think about the fragility of the yarn every time I put the sweater on. Considering its quirks when being knit, it’s hard to not wonder how it will hold up to the test of time. Since I always buy an extra skein when I’m planning on a sweater, I do have some leftovers. The yarn is pretty enough that I’ll definitely knit up a hat or something with it to use it up and it most likely won’t sit in my stash for long. And that’s the key for Quarry – I think it’s a good fit for accessories and light-wear items. Along with a lovely sweater, my takeaway from this project is that one should select a good pattern, approach it with a gentle hand and patience and Quarry will be good to you.

4 responses to “Riverbend + Quarry

  1. I agree that it can be an adjustment to work with but I really love that it’s a completely different texture and makes a different fabric than any the denser bulky weight yarns out there. I’d suggest making a Fidra hat with the leftovers, it’s perfectly suited for the yarn.

    • I was thinking a Fidra hat! I really want to try Quarry as an accessory – like I said I really love wearing the sweater and once I had more info the knitting was fine, but it’s one of those yarns that I don’t think is for everyone. It feels pretty durable as the FO, but I do worry about snagging or otherwise destroying it accidentally much more than any other sweater I’ve made. A lot of that is my lifestyle though – 2 active kids & a lot of time on the trail requires durable knitwear!

  2. The yarn has so much character that I would say that the results are well worth a bit of a struggle. I’m not a huge fan of bland yarns like Cascade; I’d go for something like this every time.

    • I think there’s a place for both types of yarn in knitting. From where I stand, partly it depends on what end product you’re seeking — if it’s a choice between durability and beauty, I’m going to have to make different choices for different items. As a busy, active mom that’s a trade-off that has to play into my decision making. Also, I think back to my teaching days and I read the comments regarding the yarn on Ravelry and I think it’s legitimate and actually important to say this isn’t for everyone. That’s not to say it’s not gorgeous and worth it’s weight, but it’s not like a Cascade that’s easily accessible (even if it’s on the bland side of things) to everyone.

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