When we first heard that Wool And The Gang was releasing a new line of yarn made of up-cycled denim, we knew we had to try it out! And what better way to test out some yarn than with one of the patterns made specifically for Billie Jean? We promptly proceeded to order the Calvin Top
crochet kit and impatiently awaited its arrival.
When the package arrived, I was so excited. It came in the cutest little lunch bag, complete with everything I should have needed to complete the Calvin Top; 3 skeins of Billie Jean dirty denim yarn, the pattern and a sewing needle. What is that “should have” all about you ask? I’ll get to that shortly. First, I’ll say that the packaging by far is the best part! It’s so cute and put together. It definitely gets you excited to work on your project. And the packaging and pattern are scattered with their hashtag #madeunique; reminding us that not only are we about to make something special, but letting us know that each of us is also unique in our own ways. Wool And The Gang is definitely a unique company, and we were happy to support them!
With all of the excitement that had built up over the 2 weeks I’d waited to receive the kit, I got started on it the evening it arrived. I opened the pattern, which came tucked away in it’s own little folder, but was surprised at how poorly it was written. For example, step 1 explained to chain X stitches to create the foundation chain. Then step 2 informed to make three additional chain stitches for the turning chain rather than adding those to the foundation chain and informing you of the turning chain at the end of the next step. This was not the only wonky thing I saw with the pattern. Luckily, it was a super easy pattern, and I could figure out how to make it without looking at a pattern. But, if you’re new to knit or crochet, I would recommend holding off on a WATG pattern until you’re very familiar with the craft. That, or have someone who is an expert re-write the pattern in terms that are easily understandable. I unfortunately have heard from numerous parties that they had the same issue with other WATG knit and crochet patterns, so it is not exclusive to the Calvin Top.
The biggest problem with the pattern is that it doesn’t follow the pattern’s gauge! Yup. I was pretty surprised by this myself. For example, the gauge is 8 rows at 4″. However, a portion of the pattern calls for 21 rows and informs the maker that it should then measure 12″. But, according to the gauge, 12″ should be 24 rows, so after 21 rows, I was still short on the length. But, I opted to follow the gauge instead of the pattern for all sections, and wound up not having enough yarn to finish the top! I was 3 rows short on the front side of the mesh, so I decided to finish it with some Cascade Yarns Avalon in Ecru. It ended up working out as I also used the Ecru for the side ties and a bottom edging on the front and back consisting of 4 single crochet rows all the way across. For the tassels, I used a combination of both the Ecru and Dirty Denim yarns.
Once I completed the pattern and my Cascade Yarns additions, I was very pleased with the outcome! The top fits like a dream. Because of the side ties, it is great for all body types (please be aware that this top is semi-cropped and if you’d like extra length, you should purchase more skeins). I was eager to wear it and did so the next day despite the heat. This is a heavy garment, and will keep you pretty warm even though it has a pretty open design. I think it will be perfect for those Fall and Spring days where the weather is just right! But of course I can’t wait until then to wear it again….
One last note on the yarn itself: The Billie Jean Dirty Denim yarn is 60% denim, 40% cotton. Because of this, it splits (or splinters; whichever word you prefer) pretty badly while you’re working with it. Go slow and it shouldn’t be a problem. Try to work fast, and you may end up with snag after snag in your project. I am not a huge fan of splitting yarn because it’s so hard to work with, but this yarn works up so beautifully (and the price point is just right), I can definitely see myself purchasing it again in the near future. I won’t be purchasing another WATG pattern.
UPDATE: I hand washed the top this morning, and the smell is unbearable. Not sure what was activated when the water touched it, but the top now smells like wet dog. The blue in the denim also runs really badly, and the bathtub where the top is hanging to dry is currently blue instead of white.