Over the weekend I swatched 6 yarns. The first 4 swatches I really enjoyed; by the last two I was getting tired of swatching. If you recall, I did not choose these yarns to compare to each other, but rather to get familiar with them because they are in my stash or to find some DK weight yarns I like due to all the new patterns in DK. To that end, these are just my impressions – not really a review as I don’t feel I’ve knit with enough comparable yarns give an official review.
As it turned out, it was a nice sample of yarn weight and compositions. I wish I had done a sampling like this sooner.
Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool: 45% wool, 35% silk 20% nylon; DK weight
My first thought was “I don’t know if I could knit a whole sweater at this gauge.” LOL. The yarn is dry, crispy, and has no noticeable give. I had felt a swatch at the yarn store so I knew there would be a dramatic difference after washing and there was. The washed swatch is much softer and has good drape. Despite my hesitance to tackle a whole sweater in DK weight, I would definitely use this yarn for a Summer weight garment.
Rowan Felted Tweed: 50% merino wool, 25% alpaca, 25% viscose; sport weight
While knitting the yarn felt sticky and itchy. The sticky makes sense as I’ve seen this used for colorwork, but I can’t fathom the itchy since the composition is Merino, Alpaca, and Rayon. Maybe it’s just the halo that gives the sensation of itch? After washing it’s softness factor is much improved and I look forward to using it in larger quantity (it feels soft in the ball too so I don’t know why it felt itchy while I was knitting). I love the Fyne Vest pattern from Rowan.
Misti Alpaca Worsted: 100% alpaca; says worsted weight, but seems DK
My first attempt at using this yarn was very frustrating. I was knitting it too tightly and it has no give so it was difficult to move the stitches along the needle. That project was frogged a few rows in. Then I made the Fishbone Lace Cowl which was successful, but I had never really swatched this yarn. In the swatch I really liked it! It’s so soft and, even in this dark color, it has a nice sheen.
Rowan Wool Cotton: 50% merino wool, 50% cotton; DK weight
I like how this feels as I knit. It seems like it would be nice for a summery top since it’s only 50% wool. When I first started on the 3.75 mm needle it felt too small for the yarn, but after a few rows it felt fine. I could see this being appropriate for a Summer vest.
Rowan All Seasons Cotton: 60% cotton, 40% acrylic; aran weight
I had trouble tensioning this yarn. It wants to knit too tight which makes the next row tight. Then I even out again and it feels okay to knit. Tried to swatch on 4.5 mm, bagged that as it just felt too tight. I think I would become accustomed to this yarn as I knit it, but I didn’t find it that pleasant to swatch.
I washed my swatch by hand, did not let it soak, and then dried it on the heater vent. It looked the same as before washing. I have 20 skeins of this yarn in my stash so I will be knitting *something* more in it, but I still don’t know how I feel about it.
Plymouth Tweed: 100% wool; worsted weight
This feels nice and sticky after I finished knitting with Rowan ASC. This is definitely wool – sticky, stretchy. Visually it does not appear to have a thick/thin quality, but when knitting you feel it. I did have a bit of trouble splitting the two main plies of yarn as I knit, but I think this would lessen as I found my rhythm with the yarn.
I LOVE the colors of the flecks paired with the main color. To get even stitches, I think I’d have to knit this on the larger needle that I swatched in (5.5 mm) so I could pull a bit more. This would be very suited to a warm, rustic Winter garment.
Overall, I’m very glad I did this. I feel that I have a lot of experience with a small subset of yarns and it was time to broaden my range. Plus it sure makes sense to try a skein or two before buying a sweaters worth of any yarn.
If you’re wondering what I’m going to knit with the yarns now that I know how they swatch, I have to say I haven’t figured it out yet.