Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Initial Colourmart Evaluation

Calamintha commented: So many people seem to really like working with it but some of the things that I have heard vis a vis yarn weights and how they correspond to US weights is confusing.

I can understand why there is some confusion. The yarn samples on the card seemed lighter weight than the classifications indicated, as did the hank I purchased. In addition, while the Ebay listing for this hank called it DK (as did the tag that came with it), the listing description stated "This yarn is a 2 ply, 2/7NM, and will knit similarly to the 4ply weight yarns..." Since the 4 ply weight on their chart and on the sample card are two classifications smaller than DK, this was a little perplexing to start with, but I figured "What the heck, what are swatches for?"

So somewhat randomly, I grabbed a needle and knit this at about 4.8 - 5 stitches per inch.

It is way too loose, but I thought I would wash it and see what happened before swatching again at a tighter gauge. After hand washing, I couldn't see any change or evidence of "bloom." So I put it through the washer and dryer per the sellers instructions.

These photos are much too dark. The color is a lovely deep jade/bottle green.

What a difference! It did "bloom" and also became much softer. The gauge also changed to about 5.6 stitches per inch. Of course, what is going on here is like a light felting, (in strict sense, this is "fulling"). The fabric is nice and drapey, which will be good for a neckwarmer, and it has retained its stitch definition pretty well.

As is common with felting, the fabric seems to have condensed more lenghtwise than widthwise, but I didn't take measurements, so I can't verify that.

Since I was at it, I knit up the 100% silk DK sample. I worked this at 6 Sts/inch, which is a sport rather than a DK gauge, and I don't think I would like it any looser. My swatch seems to have a bit of bias, but that may be me rather than the yarn. As I recall, I've had this happen before with inelasic yarns

I also knit the DK cashmere sample. The lower section is about 5.75 sts/inch. The top is 5 sts/inch and it looks good at that gauge after hand washing. Depending on my purposes, I might or might not give this yarn the machine wash treatment. If I were planning to, I might go up a needle size.

So my very initial conclusions are, 1) some of these yarns run on what I consider to be the light side for the categories given, and 2) if you plan to go for the "bloom" it is absolutely essential to measure both stitch and row gauge from a swatch that has been washed in the same way that the finished garment will be treated. (Note to Self: Yes I'm talking to you, and this time I really mean it!)


calamintha said...

Thanks for the review, Cindy! I think I have a better sense of what the yarn is like now. I guess I should send for the sample myself.

Cindy G said...

If you do, I'd love to know what you thing of the lace weights.