An Unsettling Confession

There are two words I don't like -- gauge swatch.  These two five letter words look harmless but their mere mention causes nervous tremors in knitters the world over.  There is the rare knitter who likes swatching, but they, like people who enjoy doing taxes, are considered by many strangely unique creatures to be admired with caution.  I know I'm not the only one who has spent countless hours trying to forget the gauge swatch.  It's not like it tells the truth anyway, right?

Which is why it pains me so much to tell you this.  But I feel it's something I must admit.  I, Faith, who only knits swatches for sweaters because I can't afford to knit something I'll never wear, I who tries to only knit swatches in dark movie theaters, I actually enjoyed swatching!

I think I'll blame this one on weakness.  I was just too sick to work up my usual level of antagonism towards my swatch.  Or maybe I was just bewitched by the yarn.

Rowan Denim is amazing.  My LYS (yes, it's still my lys even if it's in a town in which I've never lived) has sadly decided that it's too expensive to keep stocking Rowan and so is selling off the in-store stock for 20% off.  Which means that this lot I bought was still very pricey for me, but I saved enough that I convinced myself I deserved a good British yarn splurge.

It was just so much fun to knit up.  I just could not tear my eyes off of it.  Plus it's fairly soft for cotton, and appears to have a really nice drape.

But the coolest thing about Rowan Denim is what happens when it's washed.  The white core of the yarn is left undyed, which means that a lot of the color bleeds off when it is washed, allowing the white core to peak through like a nicely worn pair of jeans.

The left is pre-washing, right is post.  Both taken with flash.

I had read that the swatch would tighten up when it is soaked, but it was not nearly as significant as I expected.  I lost about a quarter inch in the row gauge, but that amounts to only about one added row.  Stitch gauge also only gained one, so it really isn't bad.  In fact, the washed swatch put me on gauge for the Ambrosia Cardigan from Interweave Summer 2010.  I've been eyeing this cardigan since it was published but at the time I didn't think I could knit anything that "elaborate".  Amazing the difference a year makes.


  1. That yarn does look lovely, the colour is great after washing. Glad you managed to enjoy swatching, I haven't experienced that yet!

  2. What a lovely rich blue you found :-)

  3. The yarn looks like it's really pretty and awesome to knit with. I don't swatch.. but that's because I haven't made a project that requires it yet.

  4. You are a strange creature indeed. I cringe whenever I hear the word gauge. Of course, I have terrible tension control, so I never ever keep gauge. You have a talent, miss gauge-swatch-lover!