Wednesday 2 February 2011


I have had another attempt to find a stitch pattern for Rowan silk-wool DK yarn.  I am thinking of knitting a cardigan in the 6 balls of yarn that I bought last year, as I described in a previous post.

I have been trying out lace patterns that will fit well with the raglan increases in a top-down cardigan.  The stitch pattern in the centre of the swatch is the Vertical Lace Trellis from Barbara Walker's A Treasury of Knitting Patterns.  I increased one stitch at each end of the centre panel on every right-side row, and the extra stitches are incorporated neatly into the lace pattern. 

I have done the side panels in plain stocking stitch, because I am still experimenting with needle sizes and tension for this yarn  It is allegedly DK yarn, and the recommended needle size is 4 mm, supposedly giving a tension of 22 stitches and 30 rows to 10 cm, which is of course perfectly standard for DK yarn.  However, I have used 5.5mm needles for this swatch, and the tension over the stocking stitch is about 18 stitches and 22 rows to 10 cm.  The resulting fabric looks fine to me - not too loose.  So the yarn seems to me to be behaving a lot  more like Aran weight than DK.

 In comparison with the  Felted Tweed DK that I am using for my Old Moor jumper, the Silk-Wool looks much thicker.  Felted Tweed has 2 strands of yarn, quite loosely wound around each other  (there are probably some technical terms to use here that I don't know)  whereas the Silk-Wool has 4 strands of yarn and is more tightly wound, and the yarn looks and feels much denser.   
Such huge disparities in yarns that claim to be the same weight make it potentially very difficult to substitute a different yarn for the one that a pattern is written for. I guess the lesson is not to go by what the ball-band says, but look at the yarn itself and how it feels. In my case, I don't have a pattern, except for Barbara Walker's general guidelines in her book Knitting from the Top.  So all I have to do is find an appropriate gauge for this yarn, and a good stitch pattern for what I want to achieve.  I think I have done both of those with this swatch.   

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