I just got back from a 10-day business trip to Orlando, Florida. It took some serious clothes wrangling to find ten days' worth of office-ready clothes in my closet, and more wrangling still to fit them all in my suitcase.
One of the things I decided to do for the trip was finish off this recycled-cotton pullover I've been working on:
The pattern can be found free on Knitty here. The original was made in wool, but the simple lines made me think that it would be good for cotton too. The shape is a wonderfully flattering A-line, the armholes are low enough to be comfy but high enough to be elegant, and it has those neato-keen pleats at the neck and on the slightly belled sleeves (the back has darts that imitate the pleats without adding bulk). The vast majority of the knitting was just that wide 2x6 rib that you can see forming the vertical lines. And yes, the back does work out to be wider than the front, which in wearing means it's also longer, but that keeps it from riding up, so I'm fine with that.
The recycled cotton was from a "sweater's-worth" kit that I picked up from Summit Yarns in the early 00s, right before they went out of business. The idea was that you would knit up a largish swatch in the stitch pattern you wanted to use, then machine-wash and -dry it. The yarn would shrink (mostly lengthwise — denim yarn is famous for this), and you would know your finished gauge. You could then knit the sweater to the finished gauge, and have a machine washable sweater made out of eco-friendly yarn.
Knitting the sweater was a breeze, despite the 20% increase in all the lengths I had to knit in. The yarn itself was kind of like knitting with cotton kitchen twine — not unpleasant, but not exactly "luxurious" either. It's an artifact of how quickly our "green" sensibilities have changed. While part of me is glad it's made from recycled fibre and is unbleached, another part is shrieking, "I have to throw this thing in the dryer to make it keep its shape? I never put clothes in the dryer!" Oh well, it seems to be happy being washed with the towels.
I still have another Summit kit in a hemp/cotton blend that knits up to about the same gauge.