This week I’m excited to share a project of firsts with you. Gully is not only my first project with brioches lace, but my first project with Brooklyn Tweed’s new Vale lace weight yarn! I knit Gully as part of Brooklyn Tweed’s Summer of Lace Knit Along. It traveled with me to Minneapolis and back and I learned a lot about brioche along the way. One of my goals for this year was to get better at brioche and, while this pattern was a challenge, It was a good challenge and I’m delighted by how it turned out.
Gully is a small, brioche lace cowl that can be knit in less than on skein of Brooklyn Tweed’s Vale. This may have contributed to my decision to make it because I wanted to try Vale, but I’m on a budget, dangit! It produces a very light and lofty cowl, which is great, because sometimes bulky cowls in the winter make me want to strangle somebody. The loftyness is the result of the brioche stitch and it’s wonderful three dimensional texture and a very strong blocking. Seriously, this thing grew a LOT when I blocked it.
The pattern, like all Brooklyn Tweed patterns, is beautifully written. It is very clear in it’s instructions for the special techniques. The lace portion quickly becomes manageable after a little time of focus. I did have a bit of confusion on the top and botton ribbing of the cowl. The pattern said to repeat rows 1 and 2 14 times and I wasn’t sure if that meant 14 rows total or 28 rows total. I did 14, because I was impatient. I don’t think that was technically correct, but the cowl came out fine anyways.
The other thing that I would say about that pattern is that it does not make for good travel knitting. It is concentration knitting. It is not good “there was turbulence on the plane and crap I dropped a stitch” knitting. If you are prone to dropping stitches, a lifeline might be a good idea for this project, because dropped stitches in brioche suuuuuck. If you find that you have, in fact, dropped a stitch, I found this video to be particularly helpful:
Despite my travel struggles, I’m really happy with how this cowl turned out. Like all Brooklyn Tweed Patterns, it has the feel of an heirloom piece. It is classic, subtle and elegantly designed. Jared Flood is an elf among hobbits when it comes to design and it shows in Gully. I can’t wait for colder weather so I can wear it more often.
Gully was my first chance to try Brooklyn Tweed’s new Vale lace weight yarn. Vale prides itself on being 100% Rambouillet fleece, and Brooklyn Tweed’s softest yarn yet. The verdict? Vale is, in fact, soft. I can wear it close to my neck with no issues. That being said, it is still definitely a wooly yarn. It is a fairly smooth yarn and has a consistent texture, but it’s not really squishy smooshy soft. It’s like Knit Picks Pallete had an older sister who went to university and studied abroad and wears designer clothes. It’s refined, polished and effective at what it does. Still, you’re buying it for the color and consistency, not for the softness.
I can say that while this yarn feels super delicate, it can stand up to some decent abuse. Because brioche and planes don’t mix, I had to rip back this yarn…a few times (a lot). Some yarns tend to get a little frayed and fuzzy with this much frogging, but Vale handled it surprisingly well. So far, I’ve seen no pilling, and don’t think that I really will. This yarn was designed for “heirloom-quality lace projects,” and I firmly believe that it will stand up to that description.
I would absolutely use Vale again. I love it’s range of colors, it’s warm and earthy feel and it’s polished finished appearance. While I don’t see myself taking any major lace projects on anytime soon, when I do, I know that I can rely on Vale to provide a consistent, easy to work with yarn.