Swatching with my Handspun


Begun about September 10, finished September 17 2017 (part of my Hurricane Irma fibering).

Inspired by the September Challenge in the Akerworks group on Ravelry (, I decided to spin my 1 oz of Electric Eel colorway merino on my Electric Eel 5 wheel (, chain ply it, and then swatch. I also wanted to try my Swatch Maker ( small looms which I bought to use to sample my handspun. I spun while watching a dvd, so my consistency isn’t bad, but isn’t great either (it’s handspun!). I always buy a fun colorway from Rebecca (sunshineknitter on Ravelry, dyes fiber as Long Dog Fibers) when I see her at fiber events, and loved the coincidence of buying Electric Eel fiber just before I learned about the Electric Eel 5 Kickstarter and ordered one!

fiber label for electric eel merino

The chain plying went fairly well, as I set the speed to be quite low to allow for fiddling with the singles to make the loops. I wet finished the yarn using a few drops of fiber wash, rinsed, and spun out most of the water using a salad spinner. I then hung the small skein on a plastic hanger to finish drying.

Pics show top and bottom of the one ball to see the full range of colors.  Nope, forgot to take a pic of the fiber braid  before spinning!

top of ball of 1 oz electric eel merino chain plyed

bottom of ball of 1 oz electric eel merino chainplyed

I started by knitting a sample of stockinette using a long run of gray, and switched to Old Shale when the colors showed up in the yarn. I haven’t knit with my handspun for a while, and really enjoyed it.

I used a American #6 needle (I nearly always use one size smaller than called for in patterns).

Pic of entire swatch:

knit sample of stock plus old shale

and closeup:

closeup of old shale ee merino sample

I warped the 8 dent Swatch Maker loom with more of the EE yarn, and then woven plain weave aiming for about 8 picks per inch, ending up with more like 7.5 overall. I really like the loom, and will definitely do more swatching with it and the 10 and 12 dent ones. I also have Liz Gipson’s small book introducing swatching ( The warp that is left when you cut the sample was just right for making knots to hold the ends and have a short fringe. This made an open fabric.

weaving on swatch maker loom

entire ee merino woven sample 8 dent

I copied both swatches using my printer, which copies to size. Then I wet finished both of them, again with a few drops of fiber wash and rinsing. I patted the knit swatch out and let it air dry on a hand towel out of range of cats. I fulled the woven sample by swishing it in the warm slightly soapy water for approximately 2 or 3 minutes total. I stopped when I liked the look of the fabric, rinsed it, removed water using the salad spinner again (wouldn’t do this with a large chunk of fabric), and laid it to dry on a towel. I switched out the hand towel a couple of times to help it dry faster.

fulled sample with gauge

When the knit swatch dried, it hadn’t changed size. The fulled woven sample is quite a bit smaller, as is shown where it is placed on top of the printout of the unwashed swatch. I trimmed the fringe a little for neatness and to make it easier to see the size change.

fulled woven sample compared to prewashed size

I like the feel of the fabric–it isn’t firm, but it isn’t open any more. This has reminded me I need to be more careful about labeling my handspun fiber content, as I haven’t always made a note about superwash or not. I would definitely change the sett and picks per inch if it had been superwash and wouldn’t full much, if at all.

Note to self:  need to learn more about photos, as the same camera pic posted to Ravelry looks much sharper on Ravelry.

Tags: , , , , ,

Comments are closed.