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Swatches, Swatches, Swatches

March 22, 2006


While waiting for my sweater yarn to come in, I’ve been buying single balls of different yarns and making swatches. I figure at some point I can use all these odd balls as accent colors in a multi-fiber sweater extravaganza. Yes, that’s perhaps a stretch, given that I have yet to knit a successful sweater at all, but why not dream big.


I started with the Rowan Felted Tweed (50% merino wool, 25% alpaca, 25% viscose), which I tried on size fives and size sixes. The sixes are looking like the choice for getting gauge for my Weasley sweater. Since I’ve got many balls of this heading my way (at least I hope I do; promises have been made), I was glad I found it easy to work with and liked the fabric it makes, which is nice and light.


Then I tried Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool (65% wool, 35% silk). I’d read here that this can be substituted for the Felted Tweed (FT), and since it comes in several nice purples that I could use if my Felted Tweed never shows up, I thought I’d see what it was like. It’s nice to work with and did indeed come out at just about the same gauge. I think I like the resulting fabric a bit better, as it’s a little softer. It doesn’t have the little flecks of contrasting color, though, which makes it slightly less interesting to look at than the Felted Tweed.


This is Rowan Yorkshire Tweed DK (100% wool). It’s definitely sturdier than the Felted Tweed–the swatch is wider, a bit longer, and a bit stiffer.


The Jo Sharp Silkroad DK Tweed (85% wool, 10% silk, 5% cashmere) worked up to about the same gauge as the Yorkshire Tweed, but it’s softer–I guess what they say about cashmere is true.


This is Queensland Collection Kathmandu DK (85% merino wool, 10% silk, 5% cashmere). It’s a comparable to the previous two yarns in gauge but is softer even than the Jo Sharp. I really like this one. If I’d thought to do this swatching before I ordered yarn, I think this would be my choice for a Weasley. I might have to make something else in this, because I like to pet the swatch.


Based on my experience (all 32 rows of it) with the Silky Wool, I was interested to try the Elsebeth Lavold Silky Tweed (40% silk, 30% cotton, 20% merino extra fine, 10% viscose). It’s got little flecks of color in it, and you know I love color. This was a tiny bit splitty to work with, but I like the finished swatch a lot. It didn’t end up at the same gauge as the Silky Wool, though–it’s noticeably longer–so it’s not interchangeable with it.


Here’s Heirloom Breeze (30% wool, 69.6% cotton, 0.4% Lycra). I had a fair bit of trouble with this splitting on me. The resulting fabric is sturdier than the Silky Tweed but still soft. I was surprised that the bumpiness of the yarn on the ball didn’t really show up in the swatch–maybe that’s the Lycra at work.


Finally, I tried Heirloom Easy Care (100% wool). This was a bit splitty, too. It’s hard to tell how big the swatch is what with all that curling–I guess I need to wash and block swatches to really tell what’s up with a yarn, but I didn’t get to that step yet.

If I’d found some Grignasco Tango, mentioned here as a Felted Tweed substitute, I would have knitted a swatch of that, too, but I didn’t. Here’s hoping my Felted Tweed arrives soon.

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