Saturday, September 19, 2015

saturday swatch

I did something funny last night.

Remember those six little samples of yarn, several yards of each?

I swatched them all.

I cast on the first sample just because it is hard to handle a new yarn and not put it on needles.

Plus, I wanted to see if my fingers would still work with needles the diameter of toothpicks. They would. They did.

And those first few rows of 30 tidy little stitches were so entertaining, I decided to continue and knit all the samples, making a note about which fiber was which. Because this is all in aid of the Big Decision for the next dyepot.

The entire finished swatch was about three by seven inches; half the size of a typical swatch for one yarn.

The little stripes indicate where the samples are linked by their individual pre-dyed wrapping strands. The result reminded me of those packets of jelly candies we used to buy when I was little. Do you know the ones I mean? There were five or six in a packet.

After noting some differences in the yarn as I knitted, and feeling differences in the texture of the knitted fabric - although certainly a "real" swatch would make this much easier! - I decided to wash the swatch to see if each fiber would bloom. Why not?

And this afternoon when I finally began a long-delayed project of overdyeing a plaid cotton jacket, I thought, "Why not take the tiny swatch experiment as far as possible?" and added it to the dyebucket. Not looking for quantitative information; just taking an opportunity to quickly see what the variability might be for uptake of dye.

Do you think there'd be much difference?

When all six sample yarns are based on two breeds of sheep?

Go on, take a guess.

And by the way, the bottom-most sections are the two I was initially trying to choose between.

ETA: the top four sections are merino yarns, the bottom two are British Bluefaced Leicester.

And for the truly hardcore: the 4-ply BFL was knit on US size 0 needles (2mm) while the 3-ply Sport merino was knit on US size 1 needles (2.25mm)

Dyeing is sooooo interesting!

I hope your Saturday has also been colorful and informative.

The jacket is having a second trip through the washing machine, to remove any excess dye. If I can get a few more pictures from my poor camera (the ones about took several attempts) I will post before and after snaps when the jacket is dry tomorrow. My goal was to tone down a squintingly-bright red plaid (with blue, green, and yellow components) into a deep brown fabric with subtle green tones.
Fingers crossed!