Not fabulous

This entry is a difficult one for me to write, and probably for you to fully understand, because I’ll be talking about tactile things. Sometimes I wish there was another dimension to this blogging thing :).

I swatched for my Fibo, and it was not fabulous. Here’s the breakdown:

Lang Jawoll, 75% wool, 18% polyamid, 7% acrylic, teal:

  • Working with this yarn was awful! My one and only thought during the knitting process was, “There’s no way I’m knitting an entire sweater with this stuff.”
  • The yarn felt stiff, like plastic, and split very easily. I suppose all worsted yarns have some tendency to split, but Jawoll didn’t want to snap back into shape at all.
  • At the gauge I’m aiming for, 28 sts/4 inches, the fabric is too loose and holey. This yarn has a semblance of normalcy when knit tighter, at 30 sts or more, but if I’m going to stoop down to that gauge, I might as well use the fabulous Baby Ull (I’m sorry, Betsy, I know you hate it).
  • This yarn hurt my left elbow :(. I’m really freaked out by this… So far I’ve had no indication that my knitting is hurting my body in any way. Until now. I felt a nagging pain in my left elbow during and after knitting the Jawoll swatch. And it’s now been 2 days since the swatching and the elbow still hurts, when I’m knitting and when I’m not!
  • Oh, and did I mention the yarn is not colorfast? Evidence: the sink during blocking, filled with ice-cold water, and the now-ruined towel I used for swatch-drying. Sigh.
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Jaeger Matchmaker 4-ply , 100% wool, strawberry:

  • Working with this yarn was pretty good, I can see myself knitting an entire sweater out of it.
  • Same as Jawoll, the fabric is too loose and holey at 28 sts/4 inches.
  • A bigger problem is that the resulting fabric is stiff and has no drape.. If I hold the swatch by one corner, it just floats there, does not flop over, all stiff and stuff.
  • I think this yarn will be too itchy for me, especially for the Fibo, which will have to be worn right next to the body.
  • At least this yarn is colorfast! For the record, here’s a picture of the swatch:

And so, the search for the perfect Fibo yarn continues. For the record, the pattern is written for a basic Rowan 4-ply wool. I can’t imagine buying any yarn which I haven’t touched myself, and seen the color card with my own two eyes. Yes, I’m being very picky, but I don’t think I’m unreasonable because I also swatched with a fingering weight wool/alpaca blend that I have in my stash, and although the gauge is off (30 sts/4 inches), and the color is totally wrong (oatmeal), I did learn that the drape I desire is achievable. So, my mental list of Fibo yarn requirements is as follows:

  • Fabulous, saturated colors.
  • Gauge between 26-28 sts/4 inches.
  • Excellent drape. If the yarn is 100% wool, it will need to be a heavier wool to basically buckle under its own weight. Most likely the Fibo yarn will need to contain some silk, alpaca, tencel, or other manmade fiber to achieve proper drape.
  • Cotton blends are fine, and welcome, but 100% cotton is out because my left elbow said so.
  • No mohair and no angora content.
  • No doubling of lace-weight yarn because stringing beads onto one strand is painful enough.

I’m dealing with this roadblock by furiously knitting away my AV sweater. I’ll post a picture next time.

5 thoughts on “Not fabulous

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  1. Colleen

    Well…at least you discovered this before you cast on for the sweater.

    Rest that elbow! I repeat: rest that elbow. Be aware of other ways that you might be straining it. A few days now will make all the difference. Trust me.

    Okay, okay let me think. You want about a sport weight, right? What about Silky Wool? The colors are nice, althought I’m not sure about the range. I *love* the way that the yarn feels. I’m thinking about doing a Clapper with it.

  2. Cyndi

    Good luck finding a yarn that will work for Fibo. I think it is funny how a yarn can knit up and feel totally different than it does on the skein.

    PS – I’ve tagged you for a meme, hope you don’t mind… it’s on my blog. :)

  3. Tara

    Oh grumpy, I understand the obsession. Of course, mine was just with color, but I get your drift. Did you check out the Baby Silk or Baby Cashemere from elann?

  4. Danielle

    Here are some other possibilities, although I’m not sure which ones are available at your LYS.

    Brown Sheep Cotton Fine (20% wool)

    Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport (it might be too close to 6sts/in)

    Koigu solids (pricey!)

  5. Ann

    Check out the new Rowan Cashsoft 4-ply. It’s a merino blend with microfiber, good drape and SO soft. And the colors are scrumptious (check out logangberry).

    You also might try a mercerized cotton, which can behave differently. Like Jaeger Aqua.

    Good luck!

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