fredag 9 april 2010

Swatching for a wedding ring shawl

I have spent a few hrs on swatching (but I never do that...). The Wedding ring shawl and Queen ring shawl patterns had small skeins of sample yarns attached and I was especially curious about the 2/90nm cashmere and the 1/16nm Shetland supreme yarns.

As a comparison I also made a swatch with my favourite lace weight 2/28nm (any yarn really, I always end up with 2/28nm).

Funny enough, Miller calls these thin yarns thread (lol!), but really that's an understatement!

The 2/90nm cash is even thinner than normal sewing thread :-). It has almost no halo because it is tightly spun (like a sewing thread) and with my 2.5mm Addi Lace (I won't knit lace with a thinner needle, it hurts my fingertips and that's not fun and knitting shall be nothing but fun!) the result is not of my preference at all. It has a crispness I hadn't expected and it is much stronger than many lace weight yarns I have tried. Cashmere yarns are normally very fragile, you have to use a waste wool cast on method, but this yarn is really something extra and I think you can redo sections with the same yarn if you have to frog a section. Consequently it is not at all as soft as cashmere yarns are expected to be. Finally, a shawl in this yarn will not warm up any shoulders... aren't they supposed to? I am though sure the result for those that have no pets, no kids and never have to store their knitting while not working on the shawls will be very pleased with the final result with this yarn choice. The shawl will be almost transparent. So delicate!

The Shetland supreme is very fuzzy, though not at all as soft as I had expected. I have to say thin 1ply yarns are not my preference, it's too fragile and too difficult to fix when it snags. Though, the smell of the wet Shetland supreme yarn is fantastic (yes I do love the smell of nondestroyed wool, makes me feel comfortable), smells like a free breeding sheep (I am trying to say I think they spend all year round outdoors, happy sheep). The yarn has the very typical wool roughness and unfortunately I have spoilt myself with cashmere, silk and the softest merino. If I hadn't I would appreciate this yarn much more I think because when knitted the fuzziness is exceptional. Probably the best "ecological" choice, but it is not mentioned so I am just guessing.

So, the result is: 2/28nm is the winner again! It will give a stunning lace effect. The pattern is even and the result is very transparent too (but you can not see it when you compare these swatches :-)).

If you look closely you can see that the yarn samples used, the swatch is on page 12 in the Queen ring pattern, was even too small for making a 10 by 10 cm square. That's not a sample worth swatching with when you are to knit square meters. What if I wanted to redo my swatch with another needle size? Don't misunderstand, I really admire the work Miller has done! Her Herirloom knitting lace bible is really something extra and it must have taken ages to collect all the patterns and make diagrams for them. Though there are many "weak" areas of the designs and I would rather know beforehand than meeting the problems when there is nothing you can do to compensate for the weakesses. I always have ideas of how to fix things. Dealing with fragile yarns gives no margins. When you have set the route there is no turning back else months of hard work can be wasted. Please put the cards on the table. I think Miller needs a testing team giving feedback and a few sponsors to add that little extra to the layout.

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