I love Malabrigo yarn. It is super-soft and smooshy, one of the most pet-able yarns out there. There's a reason why it's the 3rd most popular yarn used on Ravelry.
A few years back (June 2005, to be exact!) I bought 2 skeins of Malabrigo in the Loro Barranquero colourway, a gorgeous mix of maroons and reds with some pinks and yellows and greens and white thrown in. I originally used the yarn to knit a hat and scarf set, loved how the colourway knit up, but hated the actual finished products themselves. Here's a photo of the hat-that-didn't-really-fit, see all the pretty colours?
Earlier this summer I decided that the yarn was being wasted as never-to-be-worn winter accessories, so I frogged the hat and scarf and cast about for something else to make with the yarn. I only had 2 skeins worth (~420 yards), so it definitely wasn't enough for a sweater. I couldn't find any coordinating solids that would have matched well. Eventually I came across the Scoop Neck Vest pattern from Blue Sky Alpacas, which only required 400 yards or so of yarn for my size.
Making sure I didn't run out of yarn required some reworking of the pattern on my part. I cast on provisionally and knit the top parts of both the back and the front first (i.e. the stockinette portions), then joined both pieces together and knit the bottom ribbing in the round. Then I picked up stitches around the neckline and armholes to knit the ribbing there. I have a very small ball of yarn left.
I'm not sure how I feel about the finished product right now. It hasn't been blocked yet, but currently the fit is a bit off, and I feel like the scoop is too low, especially given my lack of, um, assets in that area. The straps are rather curly and the neckline is a bit wonky, but that will probably (hopefully) go away after blocking. In the photo below, I'm wondering where my waistline went, and why plain white shirts are flattering on everyone else except me.
In general, I think I've realized something about Malabrigo. It's very pretty yarn, but there's something about it that feels a bit....off to me when I knit with it. Maybe it's that it's too "floppy" when knit up, I always feel like I like it better in the skein than as an FO. In this situation, I'm sort of feeling like the vest doesn't do justice to the gorgeousness of the colourway, and that it didn't necessarily live up to the promise of the original skeins. I mean, aren't these prettier than either the hat or the vest?
So, who knows. Maybe blocking will "fix" everything. Or maybe this will go into the pile of knits-I-never-wear. In either case, I am NOT knitting this yarn up again for the third time. =)