I wanted to give Beth a range of fabrics so she could choose the one that felt right to her. I sent them off this morning and am looking forward to her response. We felt that a shrug would work better than a shawl because of the detail on her dress, and a shrug is much less fussy to wear. This was a fun experiment and I feel like I am getting to know Beth in a more personal way than I would by just sending her a gift. I want to play around more with the gauge of the fabric and weighted drape, but wanted to wait until Beth gives me her choice. Then I can focus on that yarn specifically. The swatches have 35 stitches each, with a 2 stitch garter edge on each side and 5 pattern repeats (with the exception of the mohair). I knit each swatch on size 7 (4.5 mm) or 8 (5 mm) needles. I washed all of the swatches and let them air dry. An added benefit to making so many swatches is that I memorized the pattern, only making one mistake, so now I know what to watch out for.
|Lana Gatto Silk Mohair|
The Cotton Bam Boo was my first swatch. It was knit on size 8 needles. The fabric is soft and would be comfortable next to the skin. It has serious drape and I expect it will stretch and grow. If Beth chooses this one I would swatch on smaller needles to get a more dense fabric with better stitch definition and really test it for growth. She wants the shrug to cover her back, not the dress.
Knit Picks Shine as a back up for this one if Beth picks it. I think the Shine will have a bit more "shine" and elegance.
Ripple is a cotton thick and thin yarn. The thick parts are woven, making it like a tape with thin parts. The fabric is a bit crunchy and it has zero stitch definition, but I like this one a lot. This swatch is certainly not boring. I used size 7 needles which I think are about right for this yarn. It was very strange to knit with, hard to tell if you had knit or purled at times. If Beth chooses this one I'll have to play around with drape, weighting the swatch.
Tiara is a wool and mohair blend with beads and sequins in the yarn. When I bought this one, it was the most expensive of all the yarns, I thought this would be the one. But I wasn't as impressed as I thought I would be. The beads and sequins do add drama, but the stitch definition is just okay. The biggest issue I have with it is the color. This was the "creamiest" of all the yarns and I'm afraid it would look yellow. If Beth likes the bling I would be happy to add beads to any of the other yarns, except the Ripple!
The last swatch is Sunseeker. A cotton yarn with what looks like a mylar thread going through it. You don't really notice the sparkle unless you are right on top of it. I knit the swatch on size 7 needles. It's okay, looks more sporty than I would like. Being cotton it may grow when it is worn, so I would need to do more swatching if this is Beth's pick. I think it would be cute as a shrug for a summer dress, but it doesn't have the bridal flair I was looking for.
So, what have I learned and where do I want to go next? Well, I would really like to try some silk, but I'm going to wait and see what Beth is feeling. I also have the Shine coming, I'll see what happens with that. I'll swatch it, but may not have to send it to Beth. A problem I had with this experiment is color. There are not a lot of pure white yarns. We could go with a light gray to match the ribbon in her dress as an option. I have learned that swatching can be addicting! Just knitting these six swatches makes me want to look at more possibilities, silk for example. And then adjusting the gauge will add a whole new range of options. I learned that it is much more economical to add my own bling rather than pay the extra for yarn with the bling built in. There is more but I'll save it for the next group of swatches I'm knitting for the Blank Canvas Sweater.