Technically, I shouldn’t be messing around with swatches for February Lady yet, but at some point spinning an endless supply of singles wears on a knitter (If by “wears on” you understand that at some point this morning I thought that I should rather shovel my front walk with my bare left elbow while singing showtunes than spin singles for another moment) and I thought I might break up the tedium by doing a tiny bit of plying and swatching – just so I could at least come back to the single spinning with the shape and promise of things to come firmly in mind. I therefore engaged in the following motivational exercise.
I decided I would ply, set and swatch the four options, the way I saw them. I would make a two ply, a three ply, a four ply and a four ply cabled yarn. First up… two ply.
Nice eh? Looked good in the swatch too…
but I’ve rejected it entirely. It’s pretty as well as nice and bouncy and elastic, but I don’t like the idea of only two colours being present at once… I think it’s going to make the differences between skeins too great as the sweater goes on – and it isn’t anywhere near an aran weight. Light worsted maybe.
Then there’s the cabled yarn. The singles are spun, then plied with extra twist, then that strand is plied against itself.
It’s a seriously sexy yarn. It looks to me almost like it’s beaded, with the colours well mingled, and frankly, I just have a thing for cabled yarns. It too is elastic and charming, but it’s heavier than I was hoping for (nudging towards a chunky, just past aran) and the swatch settled me against it.
Cabled yarns make really smooth stockinette and really, really strong yarn. The bumps on the yarn fit together like interlocking driveway bricks, creating a surface with less diversity than that of yarn plied once, but the February Lady sweater is lace and garter, and you can see from that cast on edge that the bumpiness of garter in cabled yarns is made even bumpier by purl bumps, and I don’t think I like it. I found this yarn to be rather dense as well, which is a peril of cabled yarns – at least in my experience, where the slightest heavy handed moment results in a yarn that is the fibre equivalent of lead. Sadly, as I find with people, something pretty but dense is of limited use. In addition, the individual colours present in the plies are almost blended too much for me in this project, I think it resembles a heathered yarn. Nope. This yarn got rejected, and it also wiped out the possibility of trying a four ply, unless the three ply really sucked.
The three ply is – as almost all yarns that have more than two plies are, very smooth, consistent looking, round and elastic. This three ply is downright cushy and bouncy. I like that there are three options for colour at a time, which means that there’s a greater chance that the individual skeins will have at least one ply in common now and again, and frankly, I think it’s pretty. Really pretty.
The swatch was pretty too. Nice stitch definition, does nice things with the colours, and darn it if when I measured, I wasn’t getting exactly 18 stitches to 10cm… the stated gauge for the sweater. Not almost 18, not 18 if I fudged, not 18 if I blocked, not 18 if I smooshed it a little against the ruler…. 18. A good, honest 18 that doesn’t have on a low cut shirt, and fake ID in it’s pocket on a Friday night. 18.
It’s settled. I’m doing a three ply. You know, as soon as I finish the singles. (Mostly.)