The sweater is knit with the Cocoknits method, a unique technique for working a sweater seamlessly from the top-down, and I’m curious to finally learn it! I think I’ll make it as a turtle neck …. it gives the shape a bit more substance.
I’ve done my swatching and tried 3 different yarns:
I tried 7mm/US10.75 needles and 6.5mm/US10.5 needles, and got the best gauge by combining Drops Air & Drops Kid-Silk on 6.5mm/US10.5 needles.
In the video I also flip through the pattern … it’s very professional and comprehensive, I’m looking forward to it and I know we will be in good hands!
The ring I’m wearing in the video is from Kormar Jewellery. I bought it at the Toronto Outdoor Art Show and LURV it! It’s 3D-printed silver and doesn’t get caught on my yarn when I knit or crochet (an essential quality in my jewellery).
Mabel is a loose-fitting, comfortable pullover that fits the bill. She is also infinitely adaptable … try knitting the neck ribbing into a cowl or extra long fold-over turtleneck. Add cables, split the hem, knit it knee length, add stripes … the sky’s the limit. It is written in 10 sizes from 36 to 72” bust, so you have options for fit, as well!
This sweater is worked using the Cocoknits Method, a commonsense system for knitting seamless, tailored sweaters from the top down. The Cocoknits Method is explained in detail in Cocoknits Sweater Workshop by Julie Weisenberger.
Our fall Drops stock has FINALLY dropped! An unfortunate victim of COVID supply chain fatigue, our order was expected in August, then October, but got stuck in all kinds of international shipping snafus. Regardless, it’s here now and we are GRATEFUL for the bounty! There are bunch new colours in Drops Air and Drops Kid-Silk (including those marvellously neutral blush pinks and beiges). We also received some much sought after and back-ordered CHRISTMAS COLOURS in Drops Nepal.
Drops Air is a deliciously soft and airy yarn. It knits up beautifully into hats, scarves, cowls, sweaters, blankets, toys – you name it! It is a ‘blown’ yarn, which means it has a core (polyamide) that is a knitting tube, and then the fibre is literally blown into it, creating a light, fluffy, fuzzy haze of alpaca floating around it. It knits up easily, and you can even knit with 2 strands held together to bulk it up to a bulky weight (try a 6.5mm/US10.5). the yardage is also generous, coming in at 150m for a 50g ball. One of the extra bonuses with this yarn is that it’s been used a zillion times on Ravelry, so there’s lots of pattern inspiration out there and you know that its not going to let you down.
Drops Kid-Silk is a luxurious, feather-light brushed mix of super kid mohair and mulberry silk. It gives garments a sophisticated look, whether used alone or held together with other yarns (see projects by PetiteKnit).
Drops Nepal is a great staple yarn made with superfine alpaca and Peruvian highland wool. Both fibers are untreated, which means that they are only washed and not exposed to any chemical treatment prior to the dyeing. This highlights the fibers’ natural properties, making it a lofty, bouncy yarn that’s great for garments. It’s hand-washable and felts beautifully. Drops Nepal is great for sweaters, hats, scarves, mitts, blankets – you name it. It also comes in 50g balls, making it an amazing choice for fair-isle projects.
The sweaters above are different iterations of Riddari, a pattern from Istex Lopi that works up beautifully in Drops Nepal. (If can’t tolerate the itch but love the look of Icelandic knits try substituting Drops Air – it won’t be as dense or itchy as a proper wool sweater, but on the upside, it’ll be light as air and soft as a baby’s butt.)
Drops Wish is a dreamy, super bulky weight, blown yarn made from baby alpaca blown into a core of merino wool and pima cotton. Wish is cosy, light, airy, soft, fluffy and absolutely itch-free. Wish is a great choice for sweaters, accessories (hats, wraps, scarves, cowls, shawls, etc), blankets – you name it. To make for a REALLY thick knit, you can hold 2 strands of this yarn together and use 15mm/US19 needles.
The sweater pattern above is Harvest Queen, a free pattern from Drops that works up beautifully in either Drops Wish or Drops Air (holding 2 strands together). We made one and it worked up beautifully (blog post forthcoming).
Drops Melody is a super soft, super delicious alternative to Mohair it looks like mohair, but it has NONE of the itch! It’s super soft, light and airy. Drops Melody is a great choice for oversize garments and accessories, although it would also make a stunning and very cozy blanket. It knits up quickly on big needles without the piece becoming heavy and it can be held together with another yarn to create a fuzzy effect, or to give garments extra volume and softness.
The sweater pattern above is Caja, a free pattern from Ravelry. It knits up with 1 strand of Melody and one of a fingering weight yarn – like Cascade Heritage.
Drops Brushed Alpaca and Silk is a luxurious alpaca and silk yarn that looks like beautiful (but itchy) kid mohair but feels like super soft alpaca. It’s light and fluffy, with plenty of halo. You can work with it as a single strand or hold two or three strands together to bulk it up for larger needles. It is very affordably priced and makes a great substitute for other kid mohair yarns.
Drops Andes is a soft, chunky blend of superfine alpaca and Peruvian Highland wool. The mixture brings out the alpaca silky surface, while the wool gives the yarn better shape and stability. It’s super easy to work with and works up quickly on large needles. It’s also great for felting and is ideal for felted slippers, mitts and bags. Andes is also ideal for beginner knitters, two balls are all you need to make a scarf!
The yarn fibres are untreated, which means that it is only washed and not exposed to any chemical treatment prior to dying. This highlights the fibre’s natural properties, while it also provides a better shape and texture quality.
It’s chilly outside today, which means it is time for me to start reminding about knitting for the holidays. You’ve got about 2 months until Christmas, Kwanzaa and Yule, if you’re Eastern Orthodox you get an extra few weeks, but Hannukah is REALLY early this year (Nov 28th!). I’ll try to keep throwing in the interesting stuff, abut the project suggestions are shifting into small achievable goals. Let the parade of giftable projects roll!
For a few years clients have been telling me they LOVE the soft, airy look and texture of blown yarns like Drops Air, but does it come in something more colourful? Well, this fall one of our distributors introduced something just of the sort, so if you like Drops Air, then Estelle Colour Flow is for you!
Estelle Colour Flow is a super-soft yarn with lots of fun! It’s made with merino wool that is literally blown into a nylon core, making it super light and airy, like knitting with a cloud (without the precipitation). The colour changes all by itself, making it an entertaining and pretty knit. It’s a bulky weight, so it will knit up reasonably quickly on 6mm/US10 needles. Colour Flow is knits really well with other fuzzy yarns (see below for more on this). NOTE: this yarn is feltable, so it must be hand washed.
It gets a bit busy around here in the fall (which is awesome, no complaints), so here’s a pic of our first solo project, a Mobius Cowl. Scarves, cowls and wraps knit LENGTHWISE will look amazing with this yarn, the colour gradation in the yarn will do all the work! The pattern is an oldie – you can’t beat a classic.
Use 6mm/US10 needles (36″ or longer)
Cast on 174 sts
Reduce each garter section by 1 round for each group (5 rounds becomes 4, 6 rounds becomes 5)
If you are a new knitter and can’t deal with the mobius cast-on, just use a regular cast on and make it without the twist.
Yarn combining has become a ‘thing’, and I’m glad it has, because it makes textiles that much more fun and interesting! I’ve embarked on a little experimentation, and found that Estelle Colour Flow works up beautifully held with other fluffy yarns:
I can’t say I’m in love with the colour combo I chose above (it works, but I find it a little depressing, the brown is sort of stealing the colour’s ‘life’), but I’d like to give it another shot holding the Colour Flow with a light grey, light beige or cream coloured yarn. I’ll try the fun skein below (colour 42204 Pinata) – it became unruly so I threw it on the winder and yowza it looks purty!
I tried getting Gru into the game, but he was having none of it (and I was out of treats). This is what birds look like right before they take-off.
A simple sweater makes for a very satisfying project (and a great sweater), and PetiteKnit is really, really, really good at that. Besides designing patterns for beautiful, simple silhouettes, she does a lot of combining of fibres, which creates a depth of colour and texture that goes beyond what you can get out of a single strand. The Novice Cardigan Mohair Edition is designed with 2 strands of a lace-weight mohair, like Drops Kid-Silk, held together. There are a few different ways you can go about this:
1. Same Yarn & Colour (Identical Twins)
You can use (ie. Drops Kid-Silk) like the designer has done in her sample (see the picture above for a closeup). Easy, peasy, no thinking, falls under Keep It Simple Sister.
2. Combine Two Colours(Fraternal Twins)
A second option could be to use two different colours of the same yarn (ie. Drops Kid-Silk). If you want to create a depth of colour chose two that are close together, and their fuzzinesses will blend together and make them look like something new. Below are a few examples of to illustrate my point ….
3. Combine Fibres(Kissing Cousins)
The option that gets me really excited is to combine different fibres in colours that complement each other, thereby creating a dept of colour and texture – something you’ll never find in a store-bought garment. For this pattern I’m crushing on Fibre Co Meadow(On Sale to Sept 6) paired with Drops Kid-Silk. A lighter shade of kid-mohair will brighten up the base yarn, while a colour that is closer to the base will blend more, and create a halo. The most important thing is that the base tones match. For the the following examples I’ve eyeballed and scrutinized the skeins in natural light to make sure they work together, or as Erica says ‘make sense’. (FYI, if you’ve only got 1 skein of Meadow see the bottom of the page for a smaller project)
Designed to fit an approximate bust circumference of 80-85 (85-90) 90-95 (95-100) 100-110 (110-120) 120-130 (130-140) 140-150 cm [31½-33½ (33½-35½) 35½-37½ (37½-39½) 39½-43¼ (43¼-47¼) 47¼-51¼ (51¼-55) 55-59 inches].
Designed to have approx. 10 cm [4 inches] of positive ease, meaning it is designed to be approx. 10 cm [4 inches] larger in circumference than your body. (This means that if you, for example, measure 90 cm [35½ inches] around your bust or widest upper body part (measure yourself around your bust, or your widest point, using a measuring tape), you should knit a size S which has a circumference of 100 cm [39¼ inches]. This will give you 10 cm [4 inches] of positive ease.)
Drops Kid-Silk: 8(8-9, 9, 10, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14-15) balls in one colour
Drops Kid-Silk: 5(5, 5, 6, 6, 7, 7, 8) balls in each of TWO colours (you may end up with an extra ball of yarn this way, but it’s better than running out)
Drops Wish is a dreamy, super bulky weight, blown yarn made from baby alpaca blown into a core of merino wool and pima cotton. Wish is cosy, light, airy, soft, fluffy and absolutely itch-free. Wish is a great choice for sweaters, accessories (hats, wraps, scarves, cowls, shawls, etc), blankets – you name it. To make for a REALLY thick knit, you can hold 2 strands of this yarn together and use 15mm/US19 needles. We also love that Wish is made in the first world, and made exclusively with natural, biodegradable fibres (no synthetics).
If you do not already have the needles for this project we recommend buying interchangeable needles. They are very versatile for top-down sweaters and have more longevity for future projects (if you need a longer or shorter needle you can purchase an inexpensive new cord, rather than an entire needle. If you are buying individual tips and cords, that Knitter’s Pride are the most affordable option. If you are thinking about investing in a set, the Chiaogoo Twist Red Lace 4″ Tips: 2.75mm – 10mm have the best range and versatility for an assortment of projects.
I don’t love the way Drops formats their pattern, I find it makes them harder to follow. If you find you have the same issue consider copying the text into a free, cloud based text editing program like Google Docs and cleaning up the formatting to your liking – I find it’s worth the time to separate the sections. If you have a more pronounced learning disability you may even want to put it into a spreadsheet program like Google Sheets to break it down into line-by-line instructions – you can even make it into a chart and tick off your work as you go.
Harvest Queenis a cozy, oversized pullover that’s knit in one piece from the top-down. It features a yoke construction with pretty cable and lace detail. It’s knit on 9mm needles, so it works up fast! The yarns recommend are blownyarns, making it a lighter, airier textile than expected. Video and written tutorials are provided at the bottom of the free pattern (they even have a place you can ask them questions about the pattern, and the pattern is available in 15 languages).
XS(S, M, L, XL, XXL)
Bust circumference: 36.75(40.75, 43.25, 47.25, 51.25, 56) inches or 92(102, 108, 118, 128, 140) cm
Shout for Winteris a cozy, oversized cardigan that’s knit in one piece from the top-down. It features raglans sleeves with a pretty mock English rib detail. It’s knit on 9mm needles, so it works up fast! The yarns recommend are blownyarns, making it a lighter, airier textile than expected. Video and written tutorials are provided at the bottom of the free pattern (they even have a place you can ask them questions about the pattern, and the pattern is available in 15 languages).
S(M, L, XL, XXL, XXXL)
Bust circumference: 40(43.25, 46.5, 51.25, 56, 60.75)inches or 100(108, 116, 128, 140, 152) cm
Just Rightis a cozy, oversized pullover that’s knit in one piece from the top-down. It features raglans sleeves with a pretty cable detail and puffed sleeves. It’s knit on 9mm needles, so it works up fast! The yarns recommend are blownyarns, making it a lighter, airier textile than expected. Video and written tutorials are provided at the bottom of the free pattern (they even have a place you can ask them questions about the pattern, and the pattern is available in 15 languages).
S(M, L, XL, XXL, XXXL)
Bust circumference: 40(41.5, 44.75, 49.75, 54.5, 59.25)inches or 100(104, 112, 124, 136, 148) cm
In my last post I talked about tension, why it’s important and how to do it properly. In this one I’m sharing two projects that inspired me to swatch. In that post I mentioned that it’s a great idea to upload your swatch data to your Ravelry account for posterity, which is already proving handy today as I’m writing from home, without my swatch at hand! All the patterns today are beginner friendly, accessible and affordable.
This is the pattern that got me swatching, Over Easy. I thought it would make a great, quick ‘n easy fall knit, especially for the less experienced knitters. It’s knit in the round from the bottom up, the upper front and back are each worked flat, the shoulders are seamed, and then the sleeves are picked up and knit from the top-down. It’s worked up on BIG needles, and the yarn is fuzzy and hides a multitude of sins.
The yarn I was testing out is Drops Melody, a super soft, light and fluffy blend of alpaca and wool. What I really love about this yarn is that it looks like a bulky mohair, but it feels like a baby’s bum! Seriously, every time I touch a ball I’m shocked that it doesn’t have new-baby smell. The reason I was testing it was because I recognized that it would look great worked holding multiple strands together, but I didn’t precisely know how it would respond on different sized needles, or the difference between holding two or three strands together. It turns out my first instinct was right, I think this pattern would work best with12mm/US17 needles and holding two strands together. If you find you knit tightly on larger needles (some people do, but I don’t) then you’ll want to go up to a 15mm/US19 needle.
Sizes: 1 (2, 3, 4)
Body circumference: 64 (69, 76, 76)”
Sleeve length: 8.5 (8.5, 7.5, 7.5)”
Length from shoulder to bottom: 18 (18, 21, 23)”
Use the following as a general guide for sizing based on bust measurement:
This is the other sweater that got me swatching, Kelowna. This one is knit in the round from the top-down, and is approachable to everyone- at any knitting level. For this sweaterI’d use two strands held together and whatever size needle gets you gauge (my swatch was closest with a 9mm/US13, but you might want go bigger … it’ll be a great opportunity to practice checking your tension!
This might be my next COVID sweater (I haven’t been especially prolific), but I’m not sure which colour …maybe the petrol green?
One of the cool things that have come out of COVID is that there are a lot of new and inexperienced knitters out there, so I’ve been on the lookout for patterns and projects that you guys can do at home without the support of an in-person class. I think Four Scoreis a great sweater project for newbies or just people whose skill threshold isn’t advanced, but they want to try and do something more.
The sweater is worked flat in four pieces, on two straight needles (or circular if you prefer) and sewn up later using mattress stitch. The back and front are the same. A generous 4×4 rib pattern makes this a stretchy, flattering sweater with a bit of cling. It is designed to be worn with 3-6” of ease.
The yarn, Drops Air, is also super accessible. It’s super soft, light as air (hence the name), fluffy (which can be both cozy *and* forgiving), and affordable. I think this project is one you’ll love making as well as snuggling into. It’s a good thing many people are working from home, because when people see your new sweater they are going to ask you to make them one!
The skills and techniques used in this project are not complicated! The most advanced skill is seaming. Don’t let seaming scare you, it isn’t complicated, you just have to do it to practice it. The yarn that this project is made with is a great canvas to learn on – you don’t have to be perfect, the fuzzy aura will obscure so many sins.
ssk (slip, slip, knit – an easy type of decrease)
knit 2 together (a very easy type of decrease)
purl 2 together (a very easy type of decrease)
bind off in rib (knit the knit stitches, purl the purl stitches)
seaming with mattress stitch
If you’re looking for help on the interweb I always recommend the following two resources to new knitters:
I have fallen seriously behind in my COVID knitting … you know how it goes, make plans and universe laughs. I pulled some sexy yarn from my ‘stash’ and have been working on Love Note. I know fuzzy isn’t really spring but hey, my pandemic, my rules. My sweater is not the pink one, that belongs to the pattern designer, mine is the dark one in progress below.
I finished the body last night and tried it on and it looked amazing! I’m feeling motivated to finish the arms and wear it – it feels light as air, it should be great over a cami. The lace looks really pretty, I’m not really a lace person, but it isn’t too much, and it’s in the right place. There is a sort of high front/lower back thing going on, if you aren’t into it you can skip it, although I would put in at least half of the short rows to even out the front & back. The pattern has both a cropped and full length version, I’m making the adult size XS in the full length (see below for interesting things about size), I added a 1/2 inch, and it’s still on the short side style-wise. I highly advise trying on your sweater before starting the short rows. BTW, the lace is fairly simple, and the pattern comes with both a chart and the written instructions.
The pattern uses a thin mohair held with a fingering weight yarn, but I’m not really up for mohair (itchy), so I have subbed a ‘blown yarn’ with baby alpaca. Blown means it has a knitted core and the alpaca is literally blown into it with a machine. It makes an extremely light, airy yarn that has some depth to it. I’m using Illimani Amelie, but you can also use the very similar and quite affordable Drops Air(or if you want I’ll special order you some Amelie, it’s super yummy scrummy sexy (I don’t have any in store right now, it costs $24/skein).
The pattern is EXTREMELY size inclusive, it runs from a baby 0-6 months up to an adult 5XL (72″ bust). I’m thinking matching mommy/baby sweaters? Sibling sweaters? Cousin sweaters? BFF sweaters? The opportunities are endless. The baby and child sizes are an ideal opportunity to use Drops Air – my mom always said you can put a baby in anything, that they can’t complain, but I beg to differ – they seem to be adept at wailing their adorable little heads off for as long as they feel uncomfortable.
Sorry we haven’t connected in a while, I’ve been working hard and am healthy and happy. You know how it is, this experience is wearing on the most resilient of us – going eyeball to eyeball with fear and vulnerability is challenging. Anyway, I haven’t been feeling myself lately, but I think that’s ok, I’m growing into something new, so I’m just sort of letting myself marinate. I saw my niece and nephew for the first time since before march break and found they have grown … they used to fight like cats & dogs and now they’re BFFs (it only took a month and a half of being locked in together). They got bigger too, but that’s a given.. they’re kids. Anyway, here’s what I’ve been up to (should you be interested):
Reading:The Power of Now by Ekhart Tolle (audiobook) … I just started this on Sunday and it’s the kind of book that you’re going to read over and over as you grow. I think it’s also the kind of book that you don’t read until you’re ready for it. I wouldn’t say the material is over my head, but I’ve got some work ahead of me.
Listening: Tara Brach podcast …. I’ve wandered from her excellent weekly pandemic support content and have crawled into the back-catalogue from B.C. (ie. before covid). The episodes on Radical Compassion from December 2019 are excellent, this morning I was listening to Desire and Addiction from March 2020.
Discussing: The Zombie Apocalypse … apparently I’m not on my beau’s Zombie Apocalypse ‘team’ and he’s throwing me under the bus. On the upside, he says the team will eat me. I don’t really blame him, I can’t run and I bruise easily. Anyway, I don’t really want to be around for the Zombie Apocalypse anyway, it sounds stressy and low on crafts. Other topics of interest include washing our winter coats … is there anything better than sucking the air out of the storage bag containing your winter coats? That’s a feeling worth savouring!
Cooking: Instant Pot Chicken Adobo. Yummy, simple and easy! Serve with Rice and a veggie. Freeze in batches for quick prep later.
Working On: Making vulnerability my BFF … according to researcher Brené Brown in Daring Greatly: “Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”
With the holidays coming up I’m going to try to focus on smaller projects that make great gifts (hats, cowls, scarves, slippers, sockies, mitts, leg-warmers, etc). What are you making for the holidays this year? I received a reprieve this year, only one hand knit required, so I’m developing my self-love and making myself some new leg-warmers and a new sweater made with the new Fibre Co. Cumbria. I’m looking forward to sharing that project with you, the results so far are great – I’ve gone off-book and am trying a new experiential experiment with it, fingers crossed!
I was originally thinking of using a sightly heavier yarn for this, some Cascade Eco+ Merino that was leftover from our Felix Pullover, but I kind of wanted to experiment and see what the hat would be like with Drops Air, a lighter, airier yarn. I think it made for a really nice fall hat or something for people who have a lot of hair. Now that I’m sitting down and giving it another thought, I’m having a “what were you thinking?!” moment and realize that it would look sensational made with the Malabrigo Mecha (smack forehead). Thankfully, there’s always another hat on the horizon! It would be interesting to make the same hat over & over in different yarns and see how they turn out …. maybe that will happen some day, when I’m no longer a person with a DaVinci-esque attention span (he was notorious for not finishing his work, once DaVinci solved a puzzle he lost interest and moved on).
If you mke a pompom for this hat, don’t kill yourself making it dense. I did, I got all perfectionisty and packed it tightly, which made it look smooth and dense. Unfortuantely, this made it smooth and dense. This hat looks great with a “hand-made” looking pompom, and light and airy is definitely better. If you like a tight pompom, go for a smaller size pompom maker, like the yellow one from clover.
Design Hack: Want a quick pick-me-up for a dull hat? Add a fur pom-pom or a hand made pompom in a contrasting colour!
Another experiment with Drops Air, Antler turned out super light and cozy. Like, super-duper light and cozy. I just tried it on, and it’s so cozy that I’d kinda like to crawl into a matching onesie made with the same yarn … that would be quite a sight, quite possibly the ultimate in ‘cocooning’ (something to think about for halloween next year). I’ve completely lost my train of thought … that’s how cozy it feels!!! Oh yeah, wear it with your Infinitude cowl, you’ll never want to take your outerwear off.
We made the brim of our hat short so it can be worn like a slouch, but it was designed with more ribbing and you can take it either way, depending on what looks nice on you.
Please meet our latest success, Decemberist! I’ve been eyeballing this pattern for a while and figured “What have I got to loose?!” It knits fast with super thick yarn on 9mm/US13 needles (or larger if your yarn is accommodating). We used 3 balls of Drops Andes in colour 8112, an icy blue, so it was a pretty affordable project too ($33). The pattern was straight-forward, and the lace is given in both written instructions and as a chart – it probably fits into an advanced-beginner/intermediate skill level, and would probably make a decent introduction to lace knitting for anyone wanting to expand and explore.
Overall, I think it is a very successful project, and it would make a great holiday gift knit (I kind of like that it looks like a substantial sized gift, even though it’s light on cost and labour). If you know someone with a cottage it would make an amazing wrap to snuggle up in at night or at the end of the season. Women who work in cold offices will also appreciate one of these. I also think that this wrap is so pretty that when your friends/family/colleagues see you wearing this they are going to ask you to make them one, so you might as well get ahead of the curve and start early. Will it look a little strange seeing the women in your office walking around wearing the same wrap in different colours? Maybe, but the Pointer Sisters rocked the look, so I say own it and be your best, favourite you!
Drops Andes is a comfortable, lofty 2ply blend of Alpaca and Peruvian Wool. It’s soft to the touch, and kind of feels like what I always wish wool actually felt like – that stage that is just short of the buttery soft texture you normally find with a fine merino or baby alpaca. All of the colours are lovely, but I think the pattern would look especially good in the following:
Greys: 519 Dark Grey Mix, 9020 Light Grey Mix, 9015 Grey Mix, 8465 Medium Grey (solid)
Neutrals: 100 Off White (naturalish), 1101 White (cream), 206 Light Beige Mix, 619 Beige Mix (oatmeal)
If you want to make yours larger the easiest way is to use a slightly thicker yarn with a larger needle. Malabrigo Rasta (5 skeins) and Cascade Spuntaneous (3 skeins) would both be great yarns to sub, and you can go up to a 12mm/US17 needle with both of them. Unless you are a tight knitter, I would NOT increase the needle size for the Drops Andes; after blocking the fabric flows and drapes, its a beautiful tension (around 9 sts over 4″/10cm).
If you feel confident with your mathimagical abilities, you can also upsize the pattern by increasing the amount of stocking stitch you work before starting the lace. You’ll need to add an extra 36 sts to the stocking stitch section (so you’ll need to do an extra 6 repeats for “Section 1”, which would add an extra 12 rows). Depending on your tension, this should give you about an extra 3.75″/9.5cm of depth and about 16″/40cm in width.
If you don’t already own 9mm/US13 needles (or larger) this might be a great opportunity to buy some Knitters Pride Interchangeable needles. You’ll need a long cable for this project, which is something you may not get a lot of use out of in the future (unless you’re going to get into making Bulky Blankets, which are awesome things in their own right). With interchangeable needles one pair of tips can become any length of circular needle from 24″ to 60″, and extra cords are a very reasonable $3.97 each (instead of $20 to $35 for a new pair of needles with a different length cord).
This project is a two thumbs up! It’s pretty, fast, not too complicated, affordable, and giftable. I’m thinking about trying it again in Malabrigo Rasta in 429 Cape Cod Grey, but I’ll wait a month or so in case you guys need the yarn.