Swatching Grace by Denise Bayron
An experiment stranding Semilla Grosso with Silky Kid
It’s been an exciting year here at Loom & Spindle, we’ve spent many happy hours sourcing unique yarns and fibres from all over the world to bring you a fresh palette of textures to explore.
One of our new favourites is the GOTS certified, Semilla Grosso by BC Garn. A smooth round yarn with exceptional stitch definition.
We’ve been enjoying the process of swatching and planning projects with Semilla Grosso and we’re eager to share all our experiments with you.
This swatch almost didn’t make the cut. Grace is knit in a super bulky weight yarn at 2.75 stitches per inch. At a standard gauge Semilla Grosso knits up much finer at around 3.5-4.5 stitches per inch.
Our pre-swatching suggested that we just weren’t going to get gauge using Semilla Grosso, but we had one last trick up our sleeve…
Read on to find out how we untangled this ball of yarn + how to get a 10% discount on the Semilla Grosso range!
Swatching Grace by Denise Bayron using Semilla Grosso and Silky Kid
Knit a swatch for the Grace pullover to explore:
If an appropriate gauge can be obtained using Semilla Grosso
The fabric’s hand-feel at the resulting gauge, and
The suitability of Semilla Grosso for a pullover intended for a ‘super bulky’ weight yarn
Working a simple cable pattern
Translating pattern instructions into swatch parameters
5mm (US 8) knitting needles (we used Chiaogoo Spin Bamboo Interchangables)
The swatch itself was to be very simple, we wanted to test Semilla Grosso in the knitted fabric and also work-in a 1x1 rib and one cable repeat to see how the design details would translate. The resulting swatch was knit over 26 stitches incorporating these design elements.
The pre-swatch – Semilla Grosso
We tried a few different needle sizes on some pre-swatch swatches.
Using the needle size recommended in the pattern, 9.0 mm (US 13), the resulting fabric was extremely loose and airy and was not going to be suitable for garment construction.
Sizing down, the fabric was more cohesive but lacked structure.
We found a satisfactory fabric was obtained on 4mm (US 6) needles, with a resulting 5 stitches per inch. The fabric was smooth, felt durable and had spring. Unfortunately, at this finer gauge the pattern as written would become unworkable for our intended size.
The final Swatch - Semilla Grosso stranded with Silky Kid
Before giving up we tried one last swatch stranding Semilla Grosso with Silky Kid by Kremke Soul Wool. Our theory was, that by adding a strand of mohair we could knit at a looser gauge with the mohair halo filling in the ‘gaps’ to help maintain the structure of the fabric.
So finally, on 5mm (US 8) needles we discovered a soft silky fabric that had both stitch definition and structure, was surprisingly drapey and had a luxurious halo. And, the resulting gauge would allow us to work the pattern as written with only a few minor adjustments!
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 mat, attention given to straightening the cable detail and aligning the stitches before being allowed to dry.
14 stitches over 10cm (4'')
20 rows over 10cm (4'')
Overall dimensions, 15cm x 15cm (6'' x 6'')
INSIGHTS AND OPPORTUNITIES
With our pre-swatches telling us that Semilla Grosso and the Grace pullover might just not be compatible, we were really pleased to find a workable gauge when adding a strand of mohair.
Semilla Grosso delivered smooth well-defined stitches, making the cable pattern pop. The mohair halo supported the looser gauge and provided structure and durability to the knitted fabric. These elements all came together to create a drapey fabric with a lustrous look and silky hand-feel.
The super bulky weight yarn used in the pattern lends a certain look and feel to the original piece. Though we haven’t recreated this fabric, we think we’ve come up with something interesting that could be applied to this pattern with great results.
Ultimately, stranding Semilla Grosso with Silky Kid turned the Grace pullover into a viable project option for these yarns. We’ve done some preliminary calculations on working the pullover at this gauge and think we’ll get some exciting results. Stay tuned!
THANK YOU FOR READING!
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