Yarn Review: The Truth about Knitpicks Swish
Disclaimer: This is an informative review. It is in no way meant to disparage or endorse the product or the creater/company associated with the product. The sole intent is to share information about the practical characteristics of the product that may not be found at any other information source/website.
This is KnitpicksSwish Superwash yarn.
110% Superwash Wool
Suggested gauge: 4.5-5sts/1" on #6-9 needles
This yarn is intended to be used for machine washable knits and if you intend to use it as such there are certain characteristics that you must know and prepare for.
1. This yarn does shrink when washed.
Using a US 7 (4.5mm) needle, here is the gauge I obtained for a 4in/10cm square:
Unwashed: 18 sts/ 28 rows
Wet blocked: 18sts/ 28 rows
Washed: 18sts/32 rows
This is current as of today. I am not aware of whether Knitpicks will make changes to the yarn such that it does not shrink in future yarn lots.
2. Not all washing machines and water are created equal
This is probably the most unexpected and most important thing to know. I started a project here in North Carolina and was washing the pieces in my Hotpoint washing machine. A very basic machine with three wash cycles. It took 1 warm water cycle to obtain the proper shrinkage and gauge.
I finished some pieces and washed them in my parent's Kenmore machine in Ohio. A machine with a gazillion wash options. I attempted to use the cycle that was most similar to my machine. It took 3 warm water cycles to obtain the proper shrinkage and gauge.
This picture shows (from left to right): Unwashed, Hotpoint/NC washed, and Kenmore/OH washed pieces.
Any form of washing will make the yarn fuzz. This is a common characteristic of most superwash yarn. But notice that the piece (3rd) that required 3 washing is really fuzzy and has a slightly felted look.
Here is a closer look at the difference between the two washings.
I do believe that the regional differences in the water did have an effect on how much the yarn fuzzed and how fast it shrunk, not just the machine I used.
3. Do NOT allow yarn joins/knots in the middle of a row.
This is for those that make yarn joins in the middle of a row. Do not do it.
This yarn does have joins in the middle of the skein. When the yarn is washed and shrinks, these joins will come undone, leaving holes. Most likely you will have to undo/frog the whole piece to fix it. Once a piece is frogged, you will have to redo the whole piece, and possibly the whole garment. This is because once washed, the yarn has been shrunken, and the 32 row gauge no longer holds true when you re-knit. You will now have to knit with the 28 row gauge. This may require a pattern/needle adjustment.
The simplest way to avoid all this:
If you find one in the middle of the row, undo the row, and start the row after the knot.
I hope you find this information helpful.