Sunday, February 28, 2016


Today I did some swatches for my next projects.  I got this yarn as one of Sundara's Daily Dreams last month and have been contemplating what to make out of it.  It is aran silky merino in Gold in the Sky.  It is a 50/50 silk/merino wool yarn and comes 200 yards to 100 grams.  After some browsing on Ravely I came up with loppem by Norah Gaughan.  I actually have the yarn called for by the pattern - Berroco Palace - but it is a pattern I'm likely to do more than once and I thought it would look good in this yarn.
I knit the swatch on the needles called for - US 8 (5 mm) - casting on 22 stitches (18 for the swatch and 2 on each side for a garter stitch border).  I always work a couple of rows in garter before starting the knit section and keep the first and last 2 stitches in garter stitch.  I actually knit 21 rows so I ended after working a right side row and could work a knit row on the wrong side to finish up with a couple of rows of garter before casting off.  I had to stretch the swatch to get it to fill the 4 by 4 inch square, but the swatch took it easily and did not rebound when I took it off the needle.  The resulting swatch has a great drape.  For comparison I also swatched with the yarn called for by the pattern.
This swatch I had to stretch vertically to fill the 4 by 4 square.  It is also a 50/50 silk/merino wool yarn and comes 103 yards to 50 grams, so it is just slightly lighter weight than the aran silky merino.  The aran silky merino also has very little twist and is basically a single ply, whereas the Berroco Palace is a 4-ply.

I also swatched for my next Tudor Roses pattern - Margaret Beaufort.  The pattern calls for Hebridean 3 ply in Selkie.  I picked Lapwing for mine.
I do love the way the yarn comes packaged.
According to the pattern the gauge is 22 stitches and 30 rows on 4 mm (US 6) needles.  Having struggled some with gauge on Elizabeth Woodville I knew to be wary, but this yarn is a fair bit heavier than the 2-ply, so I gave it a try.  It didn't take me long to realize that my swatch would be too big so I pulled it off the needles and tried again on US 4 needles (3.5 mm).  Where the knitting on the US 6 needles seemed a little on the loose side, the knitting on the US 4 needles seemed pretty tight.  Too tight.  I looked up the yarn on Ravelry - it is categorized as a DK weight.  I looked at the standards and guidelines for needle size and gauge for DK weight yarn.  I also looked back at the Elizabeth Woodville pattern, which calls for a gauge of 23 stitches and 32 rows on 4 mm (US 6) needles.  This really puzzled me.  It just doesn't make sense given the weight difference between the two yarns, so I decided to ignore it and just see what I would get.  I didn't really want to knit 3 swatches so I compromised.  I knit 15 rows using the US 4, then did a purl row, 15 rows using US 5, another purl row, and then 15 rows using US 6.  I was swatching on my Addi click interchangeables, so changing the needle size was a breeze.
Here are the results:
US 4 (3.5 mm):  22 stitches = 4 5/8 inches, 15 rows = 1 3/4 inches
US 5 (3.75 mm):  22 stitches = 4 3/4 inches, 15 rows = 1 7/8 inches
US 6 (4 mm):  22 stitches = 5 inches, 15 rows = 2 inches

As you can see, I don't get stitch gauge with any of the needles, but I do get row gauge with the US 6.  Once the swatch dries I'll see which fabric I like best.  I have a feeling that I will go with the US 5.  I'll have to do a spreadsheet to convert the pattern to my gauge.

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