I spent the last few evenings swatching a pattern from Alice Starmore’s Celtic Collection which I wanted to use in a vest. I really like the way the simple knit and purl stitches make up the quite intricate looking ‚Aberlady‘ sweater. Alas, it drove me around the bend. I want to use Jamieson and Smith Shetland 2-ply which I find shows patterns like cables and such very nicely. Mrs Starmore used a yarn called Rowan Edina Ronay Silk/Wool which is discontinued – of course – and has about 185 meters per 50 grams, according to my research on the net. My yarn has about 130 m per 25 grams. She actually managed to get 18 stitches into 5 itty bitty centimeters with her yarn and 2.75 mm needles! How the hell did she do this, was the only question coming to mind. I did 3 swatches using 2.75, 2.5 and 2.25 mm needles and only got down to barely 16.5 to 17 stitches per 5 cm. Besides that, the pattern just didn’t show and the resulting fabric was not at all to my liking – much too dense. On the photograph (click the photo to get a larger version) you might think, well, it looks nice enough, but in reality, you cannot discern the pattern at all, I swear. I guess the yarn she used is a bit less ‚wooly’/fuzzy and she’s getting a VERY dense fabric which might help to bring out the pattern. But honestly, I did not intend to knit body armour but a soft vest to go over a shirt or blouse.
Well, I gave it up after that. Obviously gauge on Starmore designs is quite a bit of challenge for others too, so I won’t loose any sleep over it. I swatched a simple diamond pattern from Rowan’s Ultimate Book of Knits on # 2.5 mm needles and find it looks very nice. It’s simple enough for knitting in front of the TV but nonetheless keeps me interested.