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3 swatches determine the best knit fabric

by Cindy O'Malley

This week, I’m knitting with Rozetti Yarns Merino Mist, which sports a shimmer that’s sure to brighten up a dreary winter’s day. Yesterday I described this feather-like yarn, its gauge, and care instructions.

 

Rozetti Yarns Merino Mist, a blown yarn that is feather-like and very warm. Offered in 10 colorways.

 

Today, I’m knitting some swatches using three different needle sizes to determine which fabric I like the best. This impacts how I’ll proceed with my selected projects as the sweater pattern I’ve chosen is based on a gauge of 23 sts, with two different row counts of 27 and 30 over two different needle sizes.

I’m using Rain Cloud for my swatches as the silver will be much easier to count the stitches and rows than black. So let’s see what I get.

First up – the US 5 [3.75mm] swatch using 24 sts and 30 rows in stocking stitch. When the swatch was first completed, it measured in at 22½ sts over 4”. The row count was 31 rows for 4”. After the fabric relaxed for a while, it actually measured in at 21 sts over 4”. I’m normally a gauge knitter, but did not achieve the expected 6 sts per 1”.

Secondly – the US 7 [4.5mm] swatch using the same number of stitches and rows as the previous swatch.  Initially, this swatch measured in at 19½ sts over 4”, and 18 sts after relaxing for a while. The row count resulted in 26 rows over 4”. The knitted fabric was a lot more relaxed than the previous swatch.

Lastly – the US 6 [4.0mm] swatch with the same number of stitches and rows. This swatch measured in at 21 sts over 4” initially, and 20 after relaxing. The row count was 27 over 4”.

 

Three swatches (from Left to Right) using US 5 [3.75mm], US 7 [4.5mm], and US 6 [4.0mm]. All three fabrics are lovely with great stitch definition, but my preference is the US 6 [4.0mm] version.

 

Of the three, my preference is the last swatch. All three fabrics are lovely, but I like the feel and drape of the fabric made with the US 6 [4.0mm] needle the best.

I didn’t launder my swatches, but this is a good practice to do before measuring. As mentioned, my stitch count changed from when it was first made until it had a chance to relax. Laundering can change this again, so you should always launder your swatch to get a better feel for what the finished and blocked garment will be like.

You may be wondering why I’m so concerned with the row count of each swatch. The sweater pattern I’ve chosen is top-down construction. Row gauge can be very important to the finished size from the shoulders to the underarms as pattern increases (and decreases) are usually based on rows. If you don’t take this into consideration, you could end up with a saggy armhole opening or worse yet, too short.

Tomorrow I’m starting the sweater using a US 6 [4.0mm] needle, therefore, I’ll need to calculate how my gauge will impact the pattern. I’ll be using Merino Mist in Rain Cloud and Night to make a bright and cheery sweater. Join me!

 

This is part 2 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 1: Combatting the winter blues with Merino Mist yarn

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