Saturday, March 3, 2012

Swatch it!

When I was new to the knitting world I purchased a fairly large quantity of yarn on eBay. Almost all of what I purchased came from the same vendor and was 100% New Zealand Wool in various weights and colors. I purchased A LOT of this yarn. I mean a HUGE quantity. I decided recently that I should really use some of this yarn. So I grabbed out a ball in Bright Orange and started making a swatch.

I decided to use this as an opportunity to really try and understand gauge and swatching, and found a few useful links online I thought I would share. The first is on and is an article called "Swatch it!" Really good article on how to swatch and how to read your swatch. After I read this article I decided I would cast on 50 stitches and pretty much knit a washcloth in the wool yarn to get an idea of how it works up. I am knitting this on size 7 needles because the notes I have on this yarn tell me it's a DK/Worsted weight. My notes also tell me I have 2lbs 6 oz of this yarn, that it's 2 ply and that it comes in at about 1100 yards per pound. I decided that I wanted to understand a little more about what yarn weights really mean and found a page by Spinderella on yarn weight. Really interesting! This told me that a worsted weight is 900 - 1100 yards per pound and that DK is 1000 - 1400 yards per lb. Neat. So I can see why this comes in at DK/Worsted Weight.

I am knitting it up and I am feeling like it's close to Cascade 220 or perhaps Lion Brand Fisherman's wool in weight. I will be curious to see if this yarn blooms at all in the wash and block stage of this yarn. I will also be curious to see if it gets any softer as this is the scratchiest wool yarn ever created. Seriously rough! If it comes out of the wash and block process and still feels like it could remove a callous from my foot I will have to think about how I want to use this yarn. (Probably slippers, handbags and rugs rather than sweaters you wear against your skin.)

It's feeling good to pull some of this yarn out and think about what it could be used for. Also, if I can work it with some cascade 220 or fisherman's wool in various projects that could be really fun. I am anxious to see what the stitch per inch count comes up as when I am done swatching.


Hippywitch said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Now I put my hand up and confess, I never do swatches!! I know, slap my hand, very naughty but I'm just too impatient and want to get started on the item instead. Lucky for me I haven't had any mess ups with size, yet!

I love the colour of the yarn you're using.

Lori xxx

LiteraryLadybug said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Hippywitch I don't make swatches either. I am terrible about it and go off of other people's notes and "Wing it" most of the time. BUT since I have a LOT of this yarn and it's pretty much a mystery yarn - I thought I should be a good little knitter and do a swatch and figure it out. It's a new thing for me! :)

What I am really curious about is if this yarn softens up and turns into something I like after I swatch. It's REALLY harsh wool!

I love the color too. :)

Nicky said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I am another naughty non-swatcher - I am to eager just to get going lol. Great notes though, when I am big and do swatches like a real grown up knitter I will know where to come for advice :) Have a great week. xx

LiteraryLadybug said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Knitting Nix I feel the same way. Most of the time I either use the yarn a pattern calls for or I read a lot of the notes on a project on Ravelry. Knitting a swatch was a little new for me! Turns out my yarn is about 19 stitches to a 4 inch guage on Size 7 needles - so it's working up very like Cascade 220! Exciting!

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