Shimmering dilemmas and the importance of gauge swatches

LInda Lencovic ISLINGTON - British BFL/Silk, Kettle Yarn Co., WESTMINSTER - Baby Camel/Silk

After trying the Talavera sample at Pom Pom Quarterly’s booth during the last show, I literally fell in love. The ladies nearly had to hold me down to get it off me! I’ve been wanting something in the Florence colourway for AGES now so swatched the simple lace pattern up the other night.

Talvera swatching in Florence

Talavera image © Juju Vail for Pom Pom Quarterly

This is why I love swatching so much – or one of the reasons, anyway – you can get a feel for what the garment will truly look like. I have always loved research and this is what I consider swatching to be.

You never truly know, even with years of experience, how a yarn and stitch pattern will work together. The only way to find out is to take those extra mins to swatch it up. What you learn is SO important – the needle size to use, the way the stitch pattern works, what the colour of the yarn looks like WITH that stitch, how the yarn construction holds the stitches open …or doesn’t, is the yarn too stiff, too limp, has too much of a halo or not enough, what happen when you wash AND block the swatch. All of these things and more can only be learnt once you’ve tried them out. AND in different needle sizes to see which you prefer and which works better to get you the look and handle that you want for the item.


Florence on 4.5 mm on left and 3.75 mm on right

I can’t recommend swatching enough. It is the best way to learn about yarn and the only way to make garments you are truly proud of and love to wear.

Ok. Enough rhapsodising about the joy of swatching… ;-?

Now, from my research, while I still am absolutely enamoured with the Florence colourway, I know it needs to be something else. As a delicate accessory it would be stunning, but imagining it as a full top WITH a layer underneath, I don’t feel it would give me enough contrast. Talavera needs something more bold and with less colour contrast to truly shine as a layering garment.

Talavera image © Juju Vail for Pom Pom Quarterly

Talavera image © Juju Vail for Pom Pom Quarterly

Friday’s update included two new, happy shades of Westminster baby Camel/Silk – Aspen and Ginger, which were added to the favourites also currently in shop, so plenty to pick from the shop…my current stash! 😉


NEW Aspen and Ginger at top – bottom from left: Shantung, Colebrooke, Purple Pembridge, Florence, Gold Rush, Birdwatch

Aspen is a leafy green with gentle variations of colour:


While Ginger is the amazing hue of natural red hair – which I’ve always coveted – again with gentle tonal variations!


While Aspen would be the logical choice – just LOOK at the green sample – Ginger is very tempting as well! But then thinking…maybe Gold Rush!! Wouldn’t that be fantastic? And I’ve been dyeing for something in this liquid gold as well!

Image © Helen Stewart

Image © Helen Stewart

Dilemmas, dilemmas. ;-P

Help me out…which would you pick?