Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Swatching for the "Princess Shawl" (What do you mean I don't have enough yardage?)

The Princess Shawl pattern is being mailed to me and so I am trying to anticipate what I might use to knit this shawl. I went to the Heirloom Knitting Site to check out yarn recommendations and yardage only to end up a little confused. The yardages and needle sizes are all over the map. Now I'm trying to use my stash for this and it matters to me that I don't run out of yarn for this shawl because some of the yarn is no longer available. If I run out of one of those, I'm up the creek so to speak. Hence my trepidation.

Above I have a few swatches from my stash. In the top picture on the left hand side you have Lacis Tussah Silk 60/2 knit on US 000 (cone holds 5,600 yards). Pleasant to knit, a little "sticky" rather than slick, nice drape. Goes over the joins of my Addi Turbo needles very nicely and it's strong. If I ran out, it is still available. Downside, not very soft :-( My sister liked this one the best. On the right I have ColourMart 50/50 Cashmere/Silk from ColourMart 3/84 NM 4,600 yards on this cone. It feels amazing, knits nicely, has a lovely halo and also goes over the joins without any problem. Downside. If I run out of yarn, there is no more in this color to be had :-( Both these yarns are reasonable in cost.

Next picture. All these were also knit on US 000 needles. On the left I have swatched Habu orgazine degummed silk which is indigo dyed (NS-18J, 21d/102 colour # 5) Strong, lovely to look at, great body not at all limp, blocked and stayed blocked, soft, shimmery, and not nearly enough of it for Princess Shawl. I'd have to buy about 3 thousand more yards if I want to do the Princess in this. Downside. drop a stitch and it wants to run away :-( On the right side you have ColourMart 65/35 cashmere/silk 2/60 NM and 5,000 yards on the cone.Pretty nice to knit though it wants to split a little, pretty colors, blocked OK. Downside. If I run out there is no more to be had. It's also kind of light in weight and sort of wants to stick to me with all that hair. :-( Maybe it would drape better if it was a large piece of knitting but all in all I'd rather knit with the ColourMart 3/84 instead for this project.

Last picture. I just put a swatch of Colourmart smooth silk. It's the one on the site from a french mill with 4 plies. It's too big and the wrong color for this project. It's out of the running but I put it next to the 2/60 cashmere/silk for you to see how much bigger it is from the others. That would look nice for something that requires sections of solid knitting to flesh out a motif, like a Niebling.

As for yardage estimates they vary with needles, what you select to knit with and are confusing to me to figure out if would have enough if I knit from the stash.

Original was knit with DMC Crochet Cotton # 70 on 2.25/UK13/US 0 or US 1. It says they used 13/20gm balls at 330m/20gm ball (4,290 meters or 4,692 yds). Based on this, you would think I'd need less yardage on smaller needles so I could use stuff from the stash. However, other estimates vary from 5,150 meters using Shetland Supreme 1 ply on 1.5mm/UK16/US 000 or US 0000. Using Gossamer Merino they suggest 4,800 meters on 2.00 or 2.25mm needles and for the Cashmere Silk (70/30) using 1.50mm needles you are supposed to get 5,800 meters of yarn.

So ultimately I'm still undecided but it's fun to swatch. If you want to see more swatches you could go over to fleegle and see what she's tried out :-) She gives lots of information and you really get to see that not all gossamer yarns are equal once they are knit up, in spite of their similar weights! By next post I hope to have done one end of the Legends of the Shetland Seas Shawl and have started the other end. It goes without saying that I am trying to avoid the edging for the Sampler Stole but I promise I will eventually finish it. For those wondering about the Peacock Shawl it's slated for de-construction this weekend. Why you ask? Because I cast-on something else this year if I get rid of it, that's why! Hmmmm. I wonder what that project might be? Good evening and good knitting!