Holsten sweater by Ankestrick

posted in: Finished projects, knitting | 13

Review in two sentences. Nice, interesting pattern. Terrible yarn from Love Knitting.

Holsten by Anketrick

This pattern has been reviewed by Sue Stoney recently. She is an expert knitter and her version is very nice indeed.

Mine is quite successful despite having an absolute disaster with the yarn. I can’t believe what happened and I am quite angry.

I bought the yarn online from Love Knitting, and it took a while to arrive. I ordered six skeins of 100% cashmere 4 ply – five in brown (tea leaves) and one in green. When the yarn arrived from America after about two weeks, but only some of the skeins were 100% cashmere. Two of the skeins were a mixture of silk (55%) and cashmere (45%). As  you can see from the photograph below, quite a different product, weight and colour.  I had a little hassle with the company who eventually reordered the correct replacement and I sent back the incorrect yarn.

Love knitting mistake
This is what I was sent

So, believing I now had 100 per cent cashmere yarn I started knitting. After I had done the neck and shoulder area I came to coloured band and swapped over to the green yarn. This felt very different from what I had been knitting with. I was thinking – this feels like a DK rather than a four ply (I am still such a novice). I decided instead to use one of my remainder ends from Colourmart, which are sold as 4 ply and are quite skinny. I decided against the green which felt a bit thick, and offered up all the Colourmart options, see below.  On Instagram, and the people  went with the light mauve.  If you are a more experienced yarn purchaser than me you may have now worked out what had happened. The second picture shows my work with the Jade Sapphire “100% cashmere” and the colourmart 4ply. In fact, even through all six yarns were labelled as 100 per cent cashmere I still ended up with some silk/cashmere blend.

Unfortunately I didn’t realise until I had finished the neck, one sleeve and the purple band. When I took my second skein of yarn I realised it was thicker than the first skein – obviously because I was now using the 100 per cent cashmere.

Love knitting yarn problems
A really nasty outcome in terms of yarns

The difference is pretty marked. Luckily, because of the separation of the two browns yarns by the mauve band the two different yarns don’t actually sit side by side. And on me I am not sure you can tell. One arm feels different – less warm and snuggly, and the knitting is much less dense. I am annoyed as I spent so many hours on this jumper and feel I have been sold the wrong product, at the wrong price, but I can’t exactly send it back and I should have really satisfied myself that I knew exactly what I was buying. But, especially early on, one trusts the website to send you what you ordered.


The pattern is great, and I really enjoyed the way the two bands (across both the bust and one arm) are created simultaneously. It’s a neat pattern and I am enjoying wearing it. What is special about it for me is that it doesn’t look like something you could just buy – although it is both plain and simple, it has the kind of twist/artfulness that I like in a garment. I am keen to make it again. It is light and easy to wear and fits in a clingy but also a little drapey – I made one size up (small rather than extra small). Nick loves this top on me – I am not sure why. Maybe the colours are a bit muted (and he prefers what he calls “natural” colours.

Holsten sweater
Holsten sweater

I have some navy and pink 2 ply remnants from Colourmart that would work perfectly for this style. However, unlike my experiments with a bulky yarn knitting with two ply is a bit of a slow burn. I now have a queue of knitting projects (like many of you!). And just to encourage me some more my dear friend Jo and I met this week, and she kindly donated me her entire stash! I really didn’t know what to say. This is such a generous and delightful gift. Jo likes, and suits, deep cool colours, and likes quality yarns in cotton, merino and pure new wool. There is quite alot of the dark green (which is a colour I love (along with navy), navy, aubergine and what I would call petrol – although I understand this shade of blue is not called that in the US (they know their petrol over there!)

Yarn stash
Jo’s wonderful yarn collection

What should I do with this embarrassment of riches?

13 Responses

  1. Sue

    Such a disappointing experience with your Holsten, and it is a bit of work, so even more annoying. However, I’m sure you will recover the situation with panache. Your friend Jo’s donation is indeed wonderful, and those colours all look gorgeous on you, so I am sure you are going to continue to delight us with many fabulous makes.

  2. Karen Berthine

    It is a hard learning experience that almost most knitters go through early in their “knitting years.” I would strongly advise you not to rely on yarn weight description (I.e., fingerlings vs. DK etc.). Familiarize yourself with comparing yarns by their yardage/meterage relative to their weight (oz/g). Then look at fiber content and spinning (ply, Z vs. S twist, boucle, etc.). All of this affects both gauge and hand of the resultant fabric. Lastly, always always always (did I mention always?!) make gauge swatches (washed and dried before final measurement). Further, on the same yarn, your gauge can change over the course of a day (e.g., you might knit tighter earlier in the day), different needle materials (e.g., stainless steel vs. wood vs. aluminum etc.), even different dye lots of the same yarn. Your tendency to knit tight or loose will also change over the years.

  3. Brenda

    I love this sentiment- “although it is both plain and simple, it has the kind of twist/artfulness that I like in a garment.” – and very much appreciate the same in a garment, I fear I too often fall into plain, though.

    I’m sorry about your yarn experience. I’m glad you’re enjoying wearing the sweater, though, and look forward to seeing it!

    What to do with the yarn? Good question! Maybe a kid’s garment? Quick and satisfying.

  4. Kim

    How annoying your experience with this supplier has been – and they will have lost not just you as a customer now.
    Sadly yarns are described in a ‘generic’ way but much like standard clothes sizing there is a bit of a difference between brands/fibres. Even after many years of knitting it’s still something that catches me out. I’m so sad you spent so much time on a result that has disappointed you. The stash from your friend is fitting reward – I don’t have any suggestions other than to enjoy it ?

  5. ceci

    Harking back to your previous post, I am so glad you are enjoying Elizabeth Zimmerman – I went through a hat knitting phase using her wonderful hat assortment directions and loved all of them and her knitting stories are so charming.

    Annoying with the yarn snafu; as you say the company has lost many customers with one episode of carelessness and poor service.

    It looks like the “windfall” yarn is a mixture of fibers – maybe a cotton tank for summer and the darker colors (are they all cashmerino?) in your stripe pattern? Or a vertically striped skirt, just for fun?


  6. Kerry

    Kate this is not okay, it’s very unprofessional of the company. Could you tell the difference in quality from ball to ball before commencing or did you trust the labelling? I’m worried that the sleeves will respond differently to laundering. Love the jumper though!

  7. Jennifer

    Wow, what an unpleasant experience. I’m always surprised when a company has such poor customer service (doesn’t do well for their bottom line, does it?).
    After all that, the new yarn stash must feel especially nice. I’d play with it for a while. Just feeling the textures, and arranging by different colors. I trust some amazing thing(s) will be the result of your friend’s generous gift.

  8. Annie

    Even in shops I’m often surprised by salespersons’ lack of product knowledge. Clearly assuming the folks at Love Knitting know what they’re supplying is mistaken. It’s probably sent from a warehouse staffed by folk who don’t knit.

    I’ve seen some lovey sweaters knitted in Rowan Tweed, if you look up the yarns that you have on Ravelry you can see what others have made and get a fair idea of what you can make.

    I love the colours in your bounty, on my screen the blue looks like cadet blue.

  9. Anne Reid

    Having read your great blog, I have a quick question. When you order from Colourmart, for delivery to the UK, do you order from their US website? And do you have issues with import duty?


    • fabrickated

      It’s a uk website and the yarn is dispatched from Shrewsbury. Sometimes the prices show in dollars but you get the general idea. The package arrives next day. All good. Highly recommended.

      • Anne Reid

        Thanks for coming back to me. I registered with them after asking you the question, and saw their address. That’s dangerous!

  10. SJ Kurtz

    You are late enough to the party to have missed the whole epic dust up over Bliss’ noncashmere Cashmerino line. Go look it up, and give yourself about a day to read it all. Short version: content labels are only as good as the sources the yarn maker uses.
    So it’s pure, mostly (at that price? Who are we kidding?) but what it is: a well made very soft yarn that holds up really well, holds its color like a champ (even across different lots, the color is damn near perfect). It’s deeply wearable, nice to handle, warm. Pills a little at high wear points (pits, cuffs) in time if you keep it out of the dryer. I wish the colors sets worked for intarsia better, but not everyone wants a soft picture knit sweater. I used it to make the expandable sweaters for the kids, frogging back the cuffs and adding on. You can’t tell the joins (except for my poor joining skill) by the yarn.
    I don’t knit anymore, but I kept all the Zimmerman books. She was a great great writer, with an amazing brain.

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