This week, I’m knitting with Universal Yarn Odette which is a light blend of fine superwash merino and alpaca, combined with the strength of nylon. Its open and airy chain construction exudes a heathered and feathery halo that is perfect for a multitude of projects.
Today, I’m knitting some swatches, initially based on the recommended gauge as discussed yesterday, but then playing with various needle sizes to see how the yarn reacts. My first project is a sweater where gauge is extremely important. The recommended gauge is 21-23 stitches over 4”[10cm] using a US 5 – 7 [3.75 – 4.5mm] knitting needle, and the sweater has a gauge of 22sts and 26rows on US6[4.0mm] and 22sts and 23rows on US7[4.5mm] needles. Based on that, I’ll start with the US 6 [4.0mm] and then use the US 7 [4.5].
This yarn is extremely light and can get caught on dry, rough hands, so make sure you use some hand lotion. But I must say, it’s lovely to knit. I tend to use very pointed needles. If my stitch isn’t true, it can get caught in the links of the chain. Easily rectified, but something to watch for, as the sooner you catch it, the easier it is to correct.
1st Swatch – US 6 [4.0mm]
My first swatch yielded 22 sts and approximately 32 rows after blocking. I love the fabric it created, both in drape and in color. The soft halo and heathered tones of the Rusted Orange are beautiful. On to the next.
2nd Swatch – US 7 [4.5mm]
The second swatch yielded 21 sts and 30 rows after blocking. The drape is still lovely and I’m happy with both swatches. Even though the row count is different from that which is called for by the sweater pattern, I think it will work out fine.
Since my stitch count was right on the money as per the yarn recommendations, I didn’t make a 4” x 4” swatch using the US 5 [3.75mm] needle but did use it during my experimental swatches.
My first experimental swatch was to determine what needle size I would use for socks. I made 3 mini swatches, all in succession beginning with a 3.0mm needles, which doesn’t seem to have a US equivalent, then a US 3[3.25mm], and lastly, a US 4 [3.5mm]. I ribbed a few rows before the stocking stitch using each needle size in turn.
3rd Swatch Results
3.0mm – 8 sts = 1”, 10 rows = 1”
US 3 [3.25mm] – 7 sts = 1”, 9 rows = 1”
US 4 [3.5mm] – 6.75 sts = 1”, 8 rows = 1”
I’m truly amazed at how well the yarn performed when knit at a tight gauge. By knitting the samples in succession, you can really see the difference between the needle sizes. I was expecting to use the US 3 or 4 as my needles for the socks, but after this exercise, I’ll be using the 3.0mm.
I had originally planned on making a shawl that had open mesh between sections of garter stitch. I changed my mind at the last minute, but more about that later. For my fourth swatch, I took the same approach as the sock swatch, but this time I used four different needle sizes beginning with a US 5 [3.75mm] and worked my way up to a US 8 [5.0mm]. Again, by doing the test swatches in succession, you can really see the impact of the different sized needles. The following results are approximates, mainly due to the springiness of the yarn on the open mesh work.
4th Swatch Results
US 5 [3.75mm] 22 sts = 4” garter, 11 sts = 2” mesh
US 6 [4.0mm] 22 sts = 4” garter, 11 sts = 2” mesh
US 7 [4.5mm] 20 sts = 4” garter, 10 sts = 2” mesh
US 8 [5mm] 19 sts = 4” garter, 9 sts = 2” mesh
This is when I started calling Odette a chameleon when it comes to gauge. It looks great when knit with the various needle sizes. Depending on the project, Odette seems to adapt nicely to its environment; hence chameleon.
I quite enjoyed knitting these swatches, which isn’t something you hear a knitter say very often. Enough playing as it’s time to get on with my projects for the balance of the week. Tomorrow, please join me as I use Odette to make a stranded color sweater using all seven of my colors!
This is part 2 of 5 in this series
Go back to part 1: Light and feathery Odette has the grace and elegance of a swan
Go to part 3: The challenge of combining 7 different colors on a knitted sweater