Rowan Softyak DK: Yaks are Super Soft!

When I first touched a ball of Rowan Softyak DK I knew instantly I wanted to knit with this incredibly soft yarn and this is the result…..

Rowan hand knitted top Sonam in Softyak DK

Softyak DK, a new Rowan yarn for Spring/Summer 2016, consisting of 76% cotton, 15% yak and 9% nylon and is a true DK yarn with a tension/gauge of 22 stitches to 30 rows on 4mm/(US) 6 knitting needles. I really love the qualities of this yarn: soft, silky, great stitch definition, fantastic drape and easy to knit with. I was also very pleased with the resulting stocking stitch; the stitches were extremely neat and even and look at the great lace stitch too………

Close up of lace st and stocking stitch in Rowan Softyak DK

The yarn knitted up into a very soft and comfortable fabric too and washes up lovely too!

The top I chose to make is called Sonam from the accompanying Softyak DK pattern brochure, all designed by Marie Wallin.

Cover Rowan Softyak DK pattern book

Initially I had difficulty deciding on the pattern because every design in the brochure was something I knew would not suit me. One thing I have learned is to make sure before I knit up something that the design I choose will suit me. The last thing I want to do is spend weeks knitting something and then put it on when I have finished and it doesn’t look good and I won’t wear it! I have reached that age……unfortunately….. when I have worn all sorts of designs and I know what will not work on my body shape. So, as I looked through all the patterns in the Softyak DK pattern book I was dismissing many of the designs for one reason or another. I settled on Sonam as I liked the t-shirt shape but knew I would have to bring the neckline down slightly as a neckline that hits the collar bone is too high for me…..too much material from my bust-line to my neck!

Here’s how Sonam will look if you knit from the pattern instructions without any alterations.

Sonam pattern in Rowan Softyak DK

To change the neckline I first decided how far down towards my bust I would like the neckline to be. I did this by comparing it to another top I knitted called Eloisa; I knew that I didn’t want to go any deeper than this, probably an inch or two higher. Although Eloisa has a deep v-neck it was the point where it hits my chest in relation to the armhole that was important. Here’s me in Eloisa…….I just love this top……..

Eloisa, hand knitted short sleeved top using Rowan PanamaThen I had to work out the the number of stitches I needed to decrease and over how many rows to reach the shoulder area of the neckline. After the initial cast-off stitches at the center front which I did 2 or 3 less than stated, I decreased gradually over 4 rows at first and then every other row to achieve this new deep scoop neckline. I think it worked out well and I’m very happy with it.

Close up of neckline of Sonam by Marie Wallin

The other problem I had was choosing the shade. I love saturated colours and they suit me best but the Softyak DK shades are generally quite muted, especially with the lighter shades. This is because the yak fibre doesn’t take dye very well, so to get really bright or light shades it would have to be stripped which would then harshen the yarn. You can see from the shades below that the lighter colours have a more mottled and greyed appearance.

Rowan Softyak DK Shades

Sonam is relatively easy to knit for those of you with some experience. If you are a regular knitter, the lace work on the top half will ensure you do not get bored and then to finish it off there is this lovely picot crochet edging on the neckline, lower edge and sleeves.

Crochet Picot Edge 180

Now, if the crochet part is putting you off because you cannot crochet, you can do one of three things: forget it completely and miss out on millions of patterns that combine crochet and knitting (What!….…Never!), find an alternative edging that you can knit on, or learn how to crochet.

For an alternative knit on edging you could choose to do a knitted picot cast off (bind-off). I don’t think it looks as good as the crocheted version……….

Knitted Picot Cast-off

I have not tested this out on this top but I would pick up stitches along the edges as the pattern states and then use the picot cast-off (bind-off) ……link to instructions below. Maybe this would work? If you try it let me know what happens.

But, if you would love to learn how to crochet and have been putting it off then I would recommend Rowan’s Crochet Along with Lisa Richardson from Spring 2015. This CAL was created with the intention of introducing the basics to crocheting by making different hexagon motifs, each one introducing a different crochet stitch and/or increasing in difficulty. By the time your through you can crochet anything. Of course, it is not a crochet along now but all the patterns are there on the Rowan website (you will need to be logged on to download the patterns). Check out my blog posts from last year (links below) which tells you all about it.

Here’s all the links as promised ……..

My Blog post on why I decided to do the Crochet Along by Lisa Richardson

My Blog Post when Crochet Along Finished

Crochet Along by Lisa Richardson on Rowan website

 Softyak DK Brochure patterns

How to knit the Picot Bind-off courtesy of New Stitch A Day

So, there it is ………my version of Marie Wallin’s Sonam in Softyak DK. Of course, you can knit the pattern exactly as it is and the way Marie Wallin intended it to be and it may well suit you that way too! Oh……I also changed the back slightly as I didn’t need such a deep slit at the back to get my head through; this little one with the button is just decorative……….

Rowan Sonam back view

If you have any questions or have already used Softyak DK do let me know by leaving a comment below! And, let me know if you can guess where I was in the photos….no prizes, just for fun!

Thank so much for reading my blog.

Esther x