Let the past sleep, but let it sleep in the sweet embrace of Christ, and let us go on into the invincible future with Him. (Oswalt Chambers)

Monday, March 31, 2008

April Sample Skein Swatches

When I subscribed to Elann Sample Skeins, one of my goals was to knit up each sample skein, including yarn I would never dream of buying. Because who knows? I might fall in love with a yarn that I otherwise never would have tried. Or, in short, I wanted to experiment a little and expand my yarn exposure.

The following are my impressions of the April sample skeins. These are NOT yarn reviews. They are my personal preferences after knitting a sample skein.

Soie Bambou (left). 65% silk, 35% bamboo, DK weight. Swatch knit on #4 needle.

Nice. This is a yarn I would never have considered buying before I knit the sample. Great stitch definition and the ribbing has spring to it.

When the yarn was wrapped around my needle, the plies spread out so I could see each individual thread. I was unable to knit this yarn at my normal knitting speed and catch all the plies on each stitch. Knitting it without splitting required a sharp pointed needle and constant vigilance.

Araucania Atacama (top right). 100% Alpaca, Aran weight. Swatch knit on #5 needle.

For almost 50 years I've been attracted to variegated yarns that look pretty in the skein and disappoint when knit. I never learn. When I saw this sample skein I got very excited. The skein was gorgeous. Variegated alpaca, what could be nicer?

Saved by the ugly little swatch. I'm no longer in love. And, it's not as soft as the Peruvian Pure Alpaca that Elann sells.

Berroco Suede Tri-Color (lower right). 100% nylon. Swatch knit on #7 needle.

This is really a nylon ribbon about 1/8 inch wide. It was easy knitting.

Even knit on a needle size smaller than the recommended 8, the resulting fabric is very loose. I can pull it long or I can pull it wide. I'm trying to think what kind of garment would work with this yarn and failing. Maybe if it were a prettier color I would try harder?

Araucania Magallanes (left). 100% single ply thick and thin wool. Swatch knit on #8 needle.

The thick is like Lopi, the thin is like fingering weight. The resulting texture is interesting. The colors are attractive.

I'm still mulling this one over.

Berroco Zen Colors (right). 55% cotton, 45% nylon ribbon, worsted weight. Swatch knit on #8 needle.

I know I didn't have kind words for the solid color version Zen when I wrote the March Sample Skein post. But these colors are striking and worth a second look for someone who needs a dressy little jacket.

This free pattern is written for Zen and is perfect for the ribbon yarn. If I had a special occasion happening this summer, I'd be tempted.

I may not have learned to stop buying variegated yarn, but I have learned that if there's to be any hope of turning it into something nice the pattern needs to be simple.

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