A variation on the Spin-In, here I’ll be documenting progress on my first major handspun project. I’ve spun large amounts before, but only for lace where gauge doesn’t really matter.
This weekend I started sampling for the Deev-V Argyle by Eunny Jang. Being a colourwork project, it’s important that the gauge is correct as I won’t be able to easily tweak the pattern, it’s also very fitted so doesn’t leave much room for alterations in finished size. Therefore, I’m doing something I’ve never really done before - which is to spin samples for swatches before embarking on the whole project.
The pattern calls for a DK yarn, gauge 22sts/4inches in colourwork. I started spinning, aiming for a yarn with a wpi of around 12. I’m not doing a lot to the yarn in the finishing process (colourwork yarn doesn’t need to be bouncy) so there shouldn’t be much change in the wpi after finishing.
To check finished wpi while you’re spinning, pull back a good length of yarn from the bobbin and double it over, letting it twist back on itself. You can measure the wpi and then untwist the yarn and keep spinning.
I spun and plied a sample of each colour at 12 wpi and then finished them by soaking in warm water and Eucalan, snapping a few times to distribute twist and then hung them to dry. I didn’t abuse the skeins at all as this will add loft, something I don’t really need in this yarn. The fibres (BFL and Shetland), in fact have plenty of natural loft already and the yarn is nice and springy but will still lie flat in the stranded pattern.
The recommended needle is 3.5mm but I know I tend to knit colourwork fairly tightly, so I started with a 3.75mm, knitting the swatches ‘in the round’ by taking the yarns across the back in long floats at the end of each row. I got a gauge of 27sts on this needle so switched to a 4mm.
The second swatch still has a gauge of 25.5sts so I am faced with having to spin more yarn for a second sample. I preferred the feel of the fabric on the 3.75mm, so I definitely don’t want to go up any more needle sizes.
Next: I’ll be spinning more samples at 11wpi. As I don’t have a great deal of extra dyed fibre to play with I may have to consider adjusting the pattern a little if I don’t get gauge with the second batch. It would be terrible to run out on the last little bit of neckband!