Gauge for Something New
Cerisara and I'm going to be using Classic Elite's Soft Linen for it (I'm using Kentucky Blue, AKA Navy). The pattern is written to use DK yarn at a worsted gauge - I'm guessing that's to add drape. This yarn is made of 35% wool/35% linen/ 30% alpaca. The wool adds some memory, the linen and alpaca add drape and the alpaca adds softness. It feels very soft - not as warm as a wool yarn does, but softer than cotton. Oh just go find some and squeeze it and you'll know what I'm talking about.
I started with Size US 7's (4.5 mm) which was the size recommended by Bonne Marie in the pattern (she didn't use this yarn for her sample though). I got gauge. I had a sneaky suspicion that the yarn might relax when it hit water, so I tried it on US 6's (4.0 mm) and US 5's (3.75 mm). Then I washed my swatches. I carefully squeezed the water out and laid them out to dry, but I couldn't help measuring to see where they were. Guess what? They grew! I was now getting gauge with the US 5's. So I wandered off and let them dry (periodically rechecking them just to see what was going on), but got the US 5's ready since that was what it seemed I'd be using. Last night, I was getting ready to cast on and I rechecked the now fully dry swatches and you'll never believe what happened!
They had gone back to their pre washed gauge! I was now back with the US 7's to get gauge. I have seen yarns that don't change gauge when you wash them and I have seen yarns that do, but this is the first yarn I've ever seen that changes when it's wet and then sneakily shrinks back to where it started when you're not looking. So I switched to the US 7's, worked a provisional cast on and swore not to panic when I washed the sweater. I'm two inches into the lace pattern right now, but you can't really see it (pre blocking and all).
Today's lesson? Swatches lie.
By the way, I have a whole bag of this yarn in the Smokey Rose colorway that I'm offering for sale on Ravelry. There are 10 skeins, still in the factory bag. It's a lovely rose color with brown undertones but in artificial light it pulls to a more terracotta color. I can't do terracotta, but someone with warm tones to their skin would look lovely in it. If you have cool tones to your skin (like I do) it won't work. (I tried, I even considered wearing it only when I could control the lighting, but then I realized that would never work in real life and I'd just end up looking like a corpse and someone who had golden undertones to their skin would look so much better in that color than I would but by then it was too late to return it, hence the Ravelry sale listing.) If you're interested, PM me on Ravelry - PinkLemon.
ETA: The yarn has found a new home!