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Swatches – what does Cotton Supreme Waves look like in 3 needle sizes?

by Cindy O'Malley

Yesterday I went over the characteristics of knitting with Universal Yarn Cotton Supreme Waves, which is 100%, high-quality cotton in bright self-striping colors.

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 chose is based on a gauge of 20 sts x 26 rows in stocking stitch using a US 7 [4.5mm]  needle.

Sweater patterns designed for cotton will often have a very tight gauge so that the finished project holds its shape. There was a time when I would use the recommended needle size and knit tightly to achieve gauge. Cotton does not have elasticity so I found it to be very uncomfortable on my hands and didn’t enjoy working with it. Over time, I learned to relax and use the needle size that lets me knit comfortably and still achieve gauge. That’s what today is about.

First Up – I’ll use a US 7 [4.5mm] needle, but I won’t try to get gauge. Instead, I’ll relax and see what I end up with for my swatch. I cast on 25 stitches and knit 2 stitches at each end and 2 rows in garter stitch. I then proceeded to knit 27 rows in stocking stitch and ended with 2 more rows of garter stitch. My swatch measured in at 19 sts and 25 rows over 4”.

Secondly – I used a US 6 [4mm] swatch using the same number of stitches and rows. This resulted in 20 sts and 26 rows over 4”.

Lastly – I used a US 5 [3.75mm] swatch with the same number of stitches and rows. This swatch measured in at 21 sts and 27 rows.

Lavender (Heliotrope) US 7 – 4.5mm, Turquoise (Lagoon) US 6 – 4.0mm, Green (Equator) US 5 – 3.75mm

When I laundered these swatches, I placed them in a laundry bag and threw them in the wash with my other cotton undergarments and sweaters in a warm wash and medium dryer …  in other words, no special treatment other than the laundry bag, but that’s because I didn’t want to lose them in the wash, so to speak. After laundering, I measured my swatches again and was rather pleased that the gauge did not significantly change.

In the past, I’ve found that hand-knitted cotton fabric may change its shape over time. It tends to expand in width and reduce in length.

Hand knitted cotton fabric tends to change shape over time.

This is one of the key reasons why I remove my cotton knitwear from the dryer while it’s still damp, reshape it, and lay flat to finish drying.

I must say, this is one of the softest cotton fibers I’ve knit. My preference was using the US 6 [4mm] needle and happily, that’s the right size for me to achieve the Tee sweater gauge that I’ll be working on tomorrow.

I love the colors of this yarn as well – turquoise and bright green are two of my favorite summer colors, so this should be a fun week.

Join me tomorrow when I use Cotton Supreme Waves in Heliotrope to make a bright and cheery summer Tee!

This is part 2 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 1: Knitting with Cotton Supreme Waves

Go to part 3: Knitting a summertime Tee with waves of color


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