A new series of yarn samples and reviews of our yarn stock.
Since we opened we have always had samples of the yarns we sell made into garments or as samples worked up for customers to see and feel. It is important as all yarns look and feel very different after working and wool yarns do change after blocking. What something looks like in the ball is the kerb appeal is one thing but how it works should be what knitter want to know.
All yarn makers and designer emphasise tension/gauge and sampling yourself as an important part of making any design up as it was intended and getting the garment you want ie the one in the picture. What this series will do is compare the samples knitted by me on a standard set of needles and crocheted on the same hook differentiated for the yarn type. We will start with DK yarns as there are some new ones in. I am a very sloppy worker and usually find I need to knit DK on 3.75mm (old number 9) and crochet on 3.5mm hook. I will try to keep the reviews factual – describe the yarn, how it works and behaves while working, any noticeable features. The purpose is to give a description to help when choosing a suitable pattern/project for the yarns not to grade as good or bad.
I pull balls from centre.
Knit samples are on 3.75mm wood/bamboo needles one blunt and one sharp (this will help to advise for tool choice) . The pattern will be the same cast on 36st, K4 rows, then 37 rows stocking st, K5 rows cast of in K. I am writing that here so I can’t forget!! I will show them just knitted and after blocking and compare them with a ‘control’ see below. I record the gauge count I got for comparison between my samples.
Crochet samples are worked with a 3.5mm hook into a granny square. Starting with a magic loop cast on ring of 12st and 5 rounds total(including the ring). The stitch I use is worked by wrapping the yarn over hook make a base loop into the hole in the work below ( 3 loops on hook) pull through all loops on hook ( I am describing it because I get confused by the names of crochet stitches!!).
This is the master sample above which is West Yorkshire Spinners (WYS) BFL DK in olive. Yarn comes in 50g traditional shaped balls with 112m, and their ball tension is 22st to 28rows to 10cmx10cm on 4mm. The yarn is wool spun and has 4 threads(4plies). It is smooth but has a wool medium aura, knits easily and it snaps easily with a hairy edge when pulled to breaking. My sample has 22 stitches and 28 rows to a 10cm x 10cm square. The crochet is square and 9cm. The fabric is quite dense when compressed between finger and thumb and is springy when pulled diagonally and across the knitting, it has a minimal woolly textured ( ie the stitch definition is slightly blurred) surface. The photo shows unblocked samples. I will do a post later showing the changes once blocked.
I’ll start with some new yarns in the shop this week a crepe spun cotton polyester, a wool and cotton and a wool and hemp mixes from Adrialfil in Italy. I like to stock UK produced yarns where I can but I have found it hard to find these particular types mixes are not available spun in the UK, except from indie dyers. Adriafil spin theri own yarns so have a similar business model to WYS.
Soleluna is 96% cotton 4% polyester, crepe like yarn. The ball is a soft doughnut with 1 band. The band details say 50g ball with 160m it knits on 4 or 4.5mm needles? 24st and 32 rows. Machine washable. £4/ball
I have 24st to 32 rows and a quite crisp, light, fabric which is thin, smooth and stretchy diagonal and width ways. This yarn knits like wool yarns in it feels elastic when you are working it. The stitches have crepe like texture and a bit of drape. The finished garment might not need blocking the sample is flat and feels finished now. The yarn give a very stretchy light cotton fabric unlike mercierised yarns which can be heavy and dense – good for a T or shell jumper, baby clothes or vests!! . The yarn does not break so keep scissors handy. The crochet is 9cm square, has a bit of give and would make some great wash cloths or lacy cardigan!! There was no snagging or splitting while working and I could work fast. The ball was intact and not to messy when I finished the samples.
Duo Comfort is a 52% merino 42% Egyptian cotton yarn. Again a doughnut. The band details are: 50g 120m, knits on 4 or 4.5mm needles 19st and 26 rows. Yarn is smooth and 10 plied with a chalky effect to the colours. Machine wash at 30. £5.50/ball
The yarn snaps when pulled with a frayed edge and no stretch damage. I have 22st and 27 rows, the fabric is crisp and smooth with diagonal stretch and width ways give. The fabric is flat and has good stitch definition. It had drape and substance. This would knit for me as a DK not an aran the fabric at the given gauge it will be loose, it might be good for a lacy design on 4.5mm needles.
The crochet is 9cm square and the fabric is a bit dense with not much give, it needs a bigger hook and an open lacey design would work best in crochet. It did split a bit when working due to tight work. It did pull back easily. This ball fell apart and needs managing!!!
WoCa is a 70% wool 30% hemp yarn eco yarn. the band details are: 50g 110m knits on 3.5 or 4mm 21 st and 28 rows to 10cm, The yarn is bi with white fibres it looks coarse with plant hair and fluffy white texture. It is a single ply yarn. £4.85/ball
I have 19 st and 29 rows and a soft plump fabric. It has a loose structure and hairy surface. The fabric stretches width and diagonally and has drape. It does feel soft and not scratchy which the visual suggests and has a pleasant rustic feel appears more substantial. Possible uses at this gauge: simple designs to show off the yarn the big casual jumper or cardigan, or a cowl hat. Will need smaller needles to get the suggested gauge and will give a denser possibly springier fabric.
The crochet is 10cm square – it is stretchy but firm. This yarn crocheted much more easily than expected for a single/roving spun yarn no splitting, and smoothly, it is not so easy to pull back due to the fibre aura. I could see this as a nice blanket of granny squares but any complicated patterns will get broken up in the strong colour mix/marl style. The yarn breaks when pulled and has a stretched tail. And the ball stays together well (the yarn nature it is gripy onto itself in the ball – which meant pulling out lengths as I worked the crochet, this may effect your tension when knitting).
Next time DK Baby yarns!!!