My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


The Oracle of Denim

I’ve been looking for information online about washing and shrinking my denim knit. Specifically, can I shrink it after it has been seamed, or do I have to shrink the pieces first, then seam? The info I found online was conflicting — some said wash first, some said seam first.

So I did the only thing that any rational knitter could. I approached the Oracle of Denim and posed my question.  Because my sweater is a drop shoulder with no armhole, I’ want to attach my sleeves by picking up stitches along the body of the sweater and doing a three-needle bind-off.

Kay confirmed for me what I was hoping for — I can seam the sweater, then wash it. This information came to her from the production manager of Artwork, the British company that marketed handknit denim sweaters world-wide, said company run by Jane and Patrick Gottelier, authors of Indigo Knits, the most fabulous book on knitting with denim yarn.

Kay also told me that if seaming apres wash, there is no need to pre-wash the yarn used for seaming. A handy bit of information, that.

Here is my first attempt at photographing my knitting today:

Lucy sez:

“I was helping.”


  1. That’s is going to be a beautiful sweater.

  2. How is it that when you said “oracle of denim” I knew EXACTLY who you meant before I even “clicked?” LOVE the sweater…and of course, Lucy was helping…I have seen similar attempts in this household by the feline members…
    Knitnana´s last blog post ..Something Of A Relief

  3. Love!
    Mary´s last blog post ..Rest in peace- Mom

  4. When you first mentioned you had a question about shrinking denim, i thought
    “Oh, she should ask Kay”
    You were one step ahead of me apparently
    garret´s last blog post ..Ahead

  5. I love it when Lucy helps you!

  6. I love the Oracle of Denim. I’ve been reading her denim adventures forever!
    Seanna Lea´s last blog post ..nanowrimo day 20 starting the count down

  7. However, I found that I got a better fit if I washed the pieces first, washed the sewing up yarn and then put it together. But that might be to do with my sewing up technique!

  8. once again a perfect match for the lovely Lucy’s eyes ^..^

  9. That is going to be a really beautiful sweater. I’ve never tried knitting with denim yarn; I’ll have to one of these days. Although if it’s splitty for a right-handed knitter, it may be even worse for a leftie like me!

  10. Why did I think you’d said this yarn was splitty when you actually said “has the consistency of string,” which has nothing to do with splitting? Never mind me. I think I’ve raked too many leaves in the past two days; all my brains leaked out into the piles of leaves!

  11. That is going to be one awesome sweater! The cat ‘ornament’ is pretty too!

  12. Lucy is such a good helper — the sweater is looking gorgeous just like Lucy

  13. Just beautiful!

  14. I love the color and the helper :o)

  15. I’m working on the Picnic Blanket afghan with Rowan Denim yarn and was planning to seam and then wash (based on pattern directions) but it is nice to hear that that is in fact the advice of the experts. Your sweater looks gorgeous. Despite the blue hands I’m really enjoying working with the denim yarn so maybe I’ll add a sweater to my queue — first to get this darn afghan done and gifted!
    Wool Free and Lovin’ Knit´s last blog post ..Knitting Squares Until Im Blue in the Hands!

  16. Love the sweater. It’s turning out great!

    Are you going to make the pattern available so we can knit this one also??


  17. This is just beautiful! I love the way that the cablework is showing up.

    Lucy was decorating your sweater with a lovely contrast in cat hair…

  18. I *knew* you were referring to Kay!

    Lucy is dreaming about her slice of pumpkin pie!
    MicheleinMaine´s last blog post ..Tree Stand in Orange

  19. The cables really pop with that yarn. Thank you for the info about shrinking, how helpful! Lucy looks like she is scoping out the situation for blocking, like she knows just what she is doing.

  20. Love that sweater, especially the color. Lucy, I have four helpers here.
    Denise´s last blog post ..Bunday- Our Story Part Two

  21. I recently finished the Jali Cardigan using Rowan Denim. (I also re-read the Oracle’s wisdom before plunging in.) Being optimistic–and lazy–I sewed it all together and threw it in the washer and dryer with no ill effect. Even with the recalculation of the set-in sleeves to account for shrinkage, it was successful. The only thing I forgot to consider was the weight of the denim. It’s one heavy sweater, so it ended up longer than anticipated. Easily corrected by continual machine drying! Can’t wait to see your FO.

  22. When I awoke this morning it was an ordinary day.

    But now that I’m an oracle, well, things are looking UP.

    Did you know that the original Oracle of Delphi was probably influenced by inhaling noxious gases? Which is why she sounded so…oracular?

    You never need to pre-shrink the sewing up yarn, regardless of whether you are seaming before or after shrinking the sweater pieces.

    Yours in Mystical Infallibility,
    Kay´s last blog post ..Now With More Chewing

  23. To be fair, I think I’m actually the Rain Man of Denim. But whatever!
    Kay´s last blog post ..Now With More Chewing

  24. How heavy is a sweater made out of denim? Does it stretch at all? I think I’d like to try a denim cardigan.

  25. i’ll have to check out the Oracle…i have a denim yarn kit from a rowan subscription that i’m afraid to knit with because of all the things i’ve heard about the yarn….