I’m so excited to have joined the Solitude Swatch-Along, a month-long adventure of knitting swatches to learn more about various sheep breeds. Although I took a spinning class and technically know how to spin, I don’t own a wheel and haven’t used a drop spindle in years. I think spinners know a lot more about the various breeds and how their fibers behave, but alas, my knowledge base is rather shallow.
I’ve known Gretchen at Solitude Wool for a while now, and I have the great pleasure of working with her through my day job at Stitchcraft Marketing. When she first told me about the Swatch Along I was excited, I knew knitters were thirsty for an opportunity to learn more about sheep breeds first hand, while also supporting local farms. Gretchen said it best, so here are her words:
“Sheep generations are very short. We can easily lose the diversity of breeds in sheep (and other domesticated animals as well). The same pressures of big agriculture and industry to standardize and continually create ever cheaper goods creates waves of specialization in favor of a few breeds. This is true in food, and it is true with wool.”
The Swatch Along came with 4 mini skeins from different breeds and also 4 different types of wool, all individually wrapped and labeled. (See this Instagram post for the super cute packaging.)
Each week on Sunday you get an email that’s full of information about the breed, the farm where the fiber was sourced, how the yarn was spun, and ideas for how to knit your swatch. There’s also a coordinating Ravelry thread that’s moderated by the fiber expert Deb Robson. It’s a whole lot of information, and honestly, I’m a bit overwhelmed by the quantity info, but I’m learning so much!
So here’s my first swatch. I took the photos before blocking, because I knew it wouldn’t dry before I lost the light. Hopefully I’ll have a blocked photo at the end of the month. My observations on this yarn:
- I really enjoyed knitting with the Targhee 2. It’s got a great spring and memory that makes it really easy to knit with.
- The yarn isn’t itchy, it’s not soft like I think most people who knit commercial yarns would think, but I think this would be great for hats, since it has so much elasticity. And I think it would be comfortable to wear on your ears.
- I used US 7s and got the gauge at 5 stitches to the inch in stockinette, but I think this yarn might wear a little better at a slightly tighter gauge. I think for a hat I’d stick with the US 7s and the looser gauge on the top of the hat, and use a smaller needle for the brim (which will be the part that gets the most wear).
The stitches I used, from bottom to top: Trinity stitch, stockinette, a small honeycomb, 1×1 rib, and double moss stitch. All of these except the double moss stitch were included in the swatching directions from the Swatch-Along email.
Although sign-ups have closed for this round, I encourage you to visit the Solitude Wool website and sign up for their newsletter so you can be informed of the next Swatch-Along.
Disclaimer: I received the Solitude Swatch Along Kit for free, but there were no strings attached. (bad pun, I know!) All opinion are my own, and I have not been compensated for my review.