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Swatching with Cotton Fine: A knitted sample of Tegna by Caitlin Hunter
Loom & Spindle - Cotton Fine - Tegna Swatch-2.jpg
 

Swatching with Cotton Fine

A knitted sample of Tegna, by Caitlin Hunter

Here at Loom & Spindle, we’re proud omni-crafters! Passionately dabbling in all things fibre.

Today we’re taking a look at our first knitted swatch for Cotton Fine. Specifically, a sampler of Caitlin Hunter’s popular Tegna pattern.

We thought this light-weight summer style would be a good match for this sumptuous blend of Pima cotton and merino wool.

We knit the swatch to explore the interaction between gauge, knit fabric and fibre and assess the suitability of the yarn for a knitted project featuring lacework.

Below, we’ve included our notes on how we interpreted the pattern to become a swatch and our thoughts on the resulting fabric.

This ‘recipe’ is a great starting point if you want to have a go at swatching for your next knitting project.

P.S. At the end we’ve detailed the yardage required for all sizes should you wish to knit your own!

Loom & Spindle - Cotton Fine - Tegna Swatch-5.jpg

PROJECT

A knitted sample of Tegna by Caitlin Hunter, using Cotton Fine by Brown Sheep Co.

AIM

Knit a swatch in Cotton Fine to explore:

  • The fabric’s hand-feel at the resulting gauge

  • The suitability of Cotton Fine for lacework, and

  • Knitting garments in Cotton Fine

SKILLS

  • Casting on

  • Casting off

  • Knitting flat

  • Reading charts for lacework

  • Familiarity with decreasing, yarnovers, knitting through the back loop

  • Translating pattern instructions into swatch parameters

TOOLS

  • 3.25 mm (US 3) circular needles (we used Chiaogoo Spin Bamboo Interchangables)

  • Scissors

  • Tapestry needle

MATERIALS

 

PLANNING

We focused on setting parameters for the piece and interpreting the pattern to accommodate the swatch.

SIZE

  • Working with the patterns suggested gauge of 22 stitches over 10cm (4'') in stocking stitch and the stitch count for the lace repeat, we decided three lace repeats would provide a reasonable sample size and a visually balanced sample.

  • 60 stitches were required for the cast on.

SETUP

  • Cast on: Long-tail method

  • Cast off: A tapestry needle to thread the yarn tail through live stitches

LACEWORK

  • The pattern details the lace repeat both written (worked in the round) and as a chart.

  • We chose working with the chart as the visual aid was convenient when working the swatch flat.

  • We used stitch markers to define the beginning and end of each lace repeat.

NOTES

  • As 3.25mm was the needle size suggested in the pattern, we thought this would be a good starting point to explore gauge.

  • Our swatch will be knit flat as noted above. Please note the Tegna pattern, as written, is worked in the round.

METHOD

STEP 1

60 stitches were cast on using the long-tail method.

STEP 2

The lace repeat was worked flat until the end of the chart.

STEP 3

Approximately 10cm (4'') was knit in stocking stitch to complete the swatch.

STEP 4

The live stitches were secured by simply threading the yarn tail through the loops using a tapestry needle.

FINISHING

The swatch was soaked in a bath of cool water for around 5 minutes, the excess water pressed out using a towel. The swatch was then pinned out on a blocking matt, attention given to opening up the lacework and aligning the stiches that frame the lace detail.

GUAGE

The final measurements were:

  • 22 stitches over 10cm (4'')

  • 28 rows over 10cm (4'')

  • Overall dimensions, 20cm x 25cm (8'' x 10'')

INSIGHTS AND OPPORTUNITIES

THE GAUGE

Amazingly, we got gauge! When does that ever happen ;)

Though, it’s important to note that we worked the swatch flat. Working in the round could produce a slightly different row gauge.

Based on these results we’d go ahead and knit the garment on 3.25mm needles, monitoring row gauge and adjusting the body length in the stocking stitch section if necessary.

Loom & Spindle - Cotton Fine - Tegna Swatch-7.jpg

THE FABRIC

At this airy gauge, Cotton Fine has produced a soft drapey fabric with a smooth hand-feel.

The cotton/merino blend offers great stitch definition, the detail in the lace panel is clear and structural elements well defined.

The resulting texture is feminine and cool.

Loom & Spindle - Cotton Fine - Tegna Swatch-1.jpg

FINAL THOUGHTS

The lacework was intuitive and the pattern easy to follow. Using stitch markers definitely helped us track the lace repeats and catch those missed yarnovers!

Cotton Fine worked up nicely and we think it has great potential for light-weight knitted garments.

Tegna is an exciting introduction to both lacework and knitted garment construction and is highly recommended to anyone motivated to give it a try.


THANK YOU FOR READING!

Tegna by Caitlin Hunter can be found on RAVELRY.
Knitting in Cotton Fine? Here’s what you’ll need:

  • X-Small - 4 Skeins

  • Small - 4 Skeins

  • Medium - 5 Skeins

  • Large - 6 Skeins

  • X-Large - 6 Skeins

  • 2X-Large - 6 Skeins

  • 3X-Large - 7 Skeins

 
 

More on Cotton Fine…

 

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Swatching with Cotton Fine: A woven Sampler in Plain-Weave
Loom & Spindle - Cotton Fine Swatch at 10epi-14.jpg
 

Swatching with Cotton Fine

A woven Sampler in Plain-Weave

With the recent introduction of Cotton Fine to the Loom & Spindle yarn range, we’ve been excited to explore our new yarn.

Our first swatch is a woven sampler in plain-weave, woven at a sett of 40ends/10cm (10epi) on a rigid heddle loom.

Our aim was to explore the fabric’s hand-feel, interaction of colour and the effect of using a finishing technique to full the fabric and set the fibres.

We’ve detailed the project below to offer insight into our planning and methodology, and our thoughts on the resulting fabric. This recipe is a great starting point if you want to have a go at swatching for your next weaving project!

 
Loom & Spindle - Cotton Fine Swatch at 10epi-16.jpg
 

PROJECT

A woven sampler in plain-weave, woven at 40ends/10cm (10epi), using Cotton Fine By Brown Sheep Co.

Loom & Spindle - Cotton Fine Swatch at 10epi-3.jpg

AIM

Weave a plain-weave fabric in Cotton Fine to explore:

  • The fabric’s hand-feel at a sett of 40ends/10cm (10epi)

  • The interaction of colour when using three shades; and

  • The effect of using a finishing technique to full the fabric / set the fibre.

 SKILLS

  • Calculating yardage

  • Warping a rigid heddle loom

  • Preparing the warp for weaving

  • Hem stitching, to secure the warp and weft

  • Balanced plain-weave

 TOOLS

 MATERIALS

PLANNING

As the materials and tools were pre-established, planning was limited to determining an appropriate size for the sample, approximating the metreage required, and defining colour placement. 

SIZE

It was determined that a sample size of 30cm x 45cm (12"x 18") would be sufficient to examine hand-feel, colour interaction and allow for any shrinkage that may occur during finishing.

METREAGE REQUIRED FOR WARP

  • Length of piece, 45cm + extra length for warping, 60cm (30cm each end)
    Total warp length, 105cm

  • Warp width, 30cm X No. warp ends at 40ends/10cm
    Total no. warp ends, 120

  • Metreage required for warp:

= No. warp ends x Total warp length
= 120 x 1.05m
= 12600cm or 126m

METREAGE REQUIRED FOR WEFT 

  • At 40ends/10cm, No. weft passes over 45cm = 180

  • Metreage required for weft:

= No. weft passes x Warp width
= 180 x 30cm
= 5400cm or 54m

TOTAL METREAGE

  • Total metreage required

= Warp + Weft
= 126m + 54m
= 180m

COLOUR PLACEMENT

  • The placement of colour was kept simple, the three colours being divided in blocks evenly across both warp and weft.

  • Warp, 40 ends per colour

  • Weft, 60 ends per colour (or 15cm of length, per colour)

 NOTES

  • These calculations tell us that at 196m per skein, one ball of Cotton Fine would be enough to make a sample of this size. 

  • As the plan was to use three colours in equal quantities in this piece, we divided the total metreage by three to determine the amount for each colour, 180m divided by 3 = 60m per colour.

METHOD

STEP 1

The rigid heddle loom was warped and colours placed as per the planning notes.

Loom & Spindle - Cotton Fine Swatch at 10epi-9.jpeg
Loom & Spindle - Cotton Fine Swatch at 10epi-8.jpeg

 STEP 2

3cm of ground weave was woven with leftover Cotton Fine to help evenly space and tension the warp.

STEP 3

Weaving began using the first colour in the sequence,.

Once the fabric was established, a row of hem-stitch was used to secure warp and weft at the beginning of the piece. 

Loom & Spindle - Cotton Fine Swatch at 10epi-4.jpg

STEP 4

Weaving continued, changing colours as required until each colour section was completed. 

Once complete, a row of hem-stitch was used to secure warp and weft before cutting the piece from the loom. 

Loom & Spindle - Cotton Fine Swatch at 10epi-5.jpg

FINISHING

The sample was finished by undergoing a full wash cycle in a washing machine and dried in a tumble dryer using a regular heat setting.

This treatment contradicts the recommended care instructions for Cotton Fine, but we thought this experiment was warranted to help set the weave and allow the fibres to bloom.

INSIGHTS AND OPPORTUNITIES 

THE FABRIC

The resulting fabric has a great lightness and after finishing is quite soft to the touch. 

At this sett, the fabric feels smooth and has excellent drape. 

Though it’s not a firm weave, the fabric feels like it would be somewhat hard-wearing and have some longevity when used in pieces that will see some wear-and-tear. 

THE COLOUR

The effect of the bold colour blocking produces a homey fabric and in the chosen colour palette has a somewhat vintage feel. 

Working with three colours allows for endless permutations that can be used to influence the look and feel of the fabric.

APPLICATIONS

From our results we think the fabric would be best suited to household napery and table linens.

The drape suggests that with a bit of fine tuning there is scope to work the fabric into garments, maybe simple summer tees and tunics. 

We would like to experiment next by working the yarn up at a finer gauge with the aim of creating a denser fabric that could be used for towelling applications in the home – washcloths, tea towels, etc.

 
 
Loom & Spindle - Cotton Fine Swatch at 10epi-15.jpg

Thank you for reading!

To learn more about Cotton Fine please click HERE.

 
 
 
 

Let’s Get Started…

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How to Weave a Tapestry Sampler
Loom & Spindle Tapestry Samplers

For a while now I’ve been working on a special project for Loom & Spindle, a weaving yarn that's structure and composition has been carefully considered and selected specifically for tapestry weaving.

Exciting, I know! I’ll have all the details for you in coming weeks. 

But for now, I’d like to focus on one element of the project, weaving samples (or samplers, or swatches or whatever you’d like to call these tiny woven fabrics).

Sampling has been an important part of the project as it’s given me the opportunity to work with this yarn on a small scale and test the arrangement of elements that form the tapestry fabric – things like warp sett, weft weight, and colour harmony or disharmony.

Weaving a test fabric can be the defining moment in a new tapestry project. This little experiment between fibre and form will help you decide whether or not your configuration will work cohesively and convey the feeling you intended.

In preparing for the upcoming yarn launch I thought it would be useful to weave a sample of each new yarn colour to explore and share the fabric each produced. My thoughts were that this will help us both choose colour palettes and determine the suitability of the yarn for any future projects you or I might have in mind.

Here’s my method for weaving a tapestry sampler…


PROJECT: Tapestry SAMPLER

INTENTION

Make a small woven tapestry sample using Woolsey: A Weaving Yarn, to study the colour and texture of the woven fabric produced.

SKILLS

  • Plain weave.

  • Double half-hitches to secure warp and weft.

  • Weft changes using the half-hitch method.

*To learn more about these skills you might like to check out our book - LINE SHAPE TEXTURE.

PLANNING

  • My samples will measure 10cm x 10cm (or 4" x 4"), I find this sample size quick to weave and the warp sett is easily determined.

  • My set-up will comprise a frame-loom warped with cotton thread at 16 ends over 10cm (4 ends per inch).

  • I will use a ground weave of warp thread to evenly space the warp and provide a firm base to begin the sample.

  • The warp and weft will be secured with a row of double half –hitches at either end.

MATERIALS

Loom & Spindle Woolsey Samples

METHOD

STEP 1
Space the warp evenly over the 10cm (4") warp width.
While carefully maintaining the warp spacing, begin the weft yarn by establishing a row of double half-hitches.
Ensure each hitch is knotted firmly to secure the weft to warp.

STEP 2
Using plain weave, weave in the body of the fabric until the piece measures 10cm (4") in length. If needed, begin any new weft threads using the half-hitch method.

STEP 3
Finish with a row of double half-hitches to secure the fabric.

STEP 4
Cut from the loom and finish as desired.

Loom & Spindle - Tapestry Sampler Method

APPLICATION

  • The method is fairly straight forward with no special notes to consider.

  • No modifications were made when weaving the samples.

  • To ensure straight edges and symmetry I did take extra care when working close to the selvages.

FINISHING

  • No finishing techniques were applied but I might use this sample in the future to test the effects of steam blocking on this yarn.

 

INSIGHTS AND OPPORTUNITIES

  • This method enables me to set up and weave a tapestry sample in about 30 minutes, allowing me to very quickly sample a new yarn or fibre.

  • It’s such a versatile method that it would also be useful for working a series of small tapestry projects.

Loom & Spindle Tapestry Sampler

THANK YOU FOR READING!

Our new weaving yarn has arrived, find Woolsey here.
To get all the latest news and access to our resources you might like to join the Loom & Spindle Collective...

FOR MORE INFO ON THE SKILLS USED IN THIS TUTORIAL, CHECK OUT OUR BOOK LINE SHAPE TEXTURE.

YOU’LL FIND AN IN DEPTH DISCUSSION ON A RANGE OF TOPICS, INCLUDING plain weave AND THE VERSATILITY OF THE HALF-HITCH.

WHY NOT CHECK OUT the FREE SAMPLE VIA OUR BOOK PAGE!