I’m sure you know the process for buying new yarn. You go to a shop and spend some quality time squishing it. Then you buy that yarn, take it home, squish it some more for luck and plan your project. Then you knit and test a tension square. Right? So you can be sure the resulting garment will fit you properly? So you can tell how the fabric behaves after blocking and wearing and stuff? Right? I certainly do, because I’m all diligent and find the idea of wasting months on a project that isn’t quite right just painful. Besides, you need to squish the fabric too.
Stitch gauge, that’s your own business. No-one can help you with that. Yarn behaviour after use (and abuse) though, there’s something that can be reliably documented on the internet!
Join me now, as I take my recent yarn purchases and pummel the crap out of them.
First up is Rowan Kid Classic, a.k.a. spring-in-a-ball. Not only is it egg-yolk yellow, it’s made from the fleeces of baby sheep and goats. Totally springy! I’ve liked it from afar for a while and eventually bagged a load of it for cheap on t’internets (thank you Black Sheep!).
The label recommends 5 – 5.5mm needles but pfffffffft, this stuff is DK weight if I ever saw it. I have a very specific project in mind for this yarn: the swishy Manu cardigan. My square is therefore on the required 3.75mm needles.
Remember: Garter stitch borders keep your knitting flat and easy to measure!
Before washing, I measured the gauge at 6st/8rws to the inch. After washing and blocking…much the same. It just looked a bit neater, so the above picture is the blocked one. Bonus! That’s the exact gauge I was after for the cardigan! Not all yarns behave that well, I’ve had some yarns get waaaay bigger after washing. I am certainly giving Kid Classic points for predictability.
Kid Classic is a fuzzy yarn and I wish to see what that fuzz is going to do after I’ve worn it umpteen times like I’m totally gonna (seriously look at this magnificent cardigan). Let’s check out the fuzz after one wash and also, check out the macro function on my camera…
That would be all the kid mohair giving it that halo. It’s not at all itchy against my skin, which is another plus. The fabric feels nice and drapey but it’s still thick. This cardigan is going to be very warm. Looks so neat too…welp, time to give it hell. FOR SCIENCE.
First we conduct a basic stretch test. I hang up the swatch, then I hang three full balls of Kid Classic from it overnight. This is to simulate the weight of the final garment on any given area of knitting. The bulldog clip adds weight too, but that’s cool because I intend to fill the cardigan pockets with trinkets anyhow.
The result? All that stretching barely affected the square. It was something like 7.75 rows per inch instead of 8 and after a quick shake, it snapped back to 8 again. It’s good to know my cardigan can hold many, many trinkets and spare change without consequence.
Test number 2: Tougher still. Stick it in the washing machine spin cycle with some heavier items. If that’s not a good homebrew wear simulator, I don’t know what is…
Result: Again! The swatch comes out unchanged! Sure it’s a little fluffier, but not in a way I can capture on camera. More importantly, that fluff appears to be entirely mohair and as such is not gathering into lumpy pills.
MY 100% SCIENTIFIC CONCLUSION: The softness of lambswool with the resilience of mohair? Rowan, you have earnt that reputation! This is an amazingly well behaved, soft, fuzzy yarn. I give it both thumbs up and am casting on immediately. Hooray!