Wench Connections

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September 13, 2005



Excellent science! Control of variables, measures by same hands, same treatment, VERY instructive results. I've only washed weird yarns, now I will wash all swatches.


Thank you! So, it seems like all three are good yarns, with the Elann having a much better price (I'm sure) than the Rowan.


See, I love the swatch. You learn so mcuh.

And I have to admit y'all with the denim are wearing me down. It looks gorgrous. Did it hurt your hands?

Teresa C

I love to swatch! I have, for years, passed over those yarns for the reasons you listed. I just wasn't sure. And I am a big lover of denim and all things blue. Thanks for the work, I might give in and try one of them after all. Now, to go look for that Den-m-knit.....


Wow, I can't believe how much they SHRUNK in the wash! So - do you think it's a folly to base gauge on a non-washed swatch?!?! I like all the colors, too - but especially the dark blue. Can't wait to see what you will make!


Well thank you for the swatching. I think I'm beginning to see the swatching light, much in the same way Stephanie taught me the lessons of predrafting. I might have to reconsider that denim yarn.. oh and btw, love your stash :)


Very intersting post! I have a big cone of Den-m-knit that I've been wanting to do something with for awhile.


Wow--I have never been this scientific! I note that the row gauge comes out the same for all 3 swatches? And that's where the shrinkage is. Personally I wouldn't have a problem combining them. In the finished sweater, after washing and drying, I don't think there would be a noticeable difference.

So glad you enjoy the yarn. I liked it from the first but the passion didn't develop until my first sweater started really aging. Then I started to imagine how it would look if it had cables that were aging (textured stitches get 'whiter' faster than the background stitches; like the seams and pocket edges on jeans)....and then I became the nut you know today.

I'm told by Those in the Know that Rowan changed mills maybe 10 years ago, so that 'old' Rowan denim is slightly different from 'new' Rowan denim. The dark shade is definitely stiffer when you knit it (I know a denim lover who pre-washes hers so that it is pre-shrunk, pre-faded (no blue hands), and so she knows EXACTLY what her final gauge and measurements are going to be), and did you notice it's very shiny but then loses the shine in the first wash?

Anyhoo. This makes me so happy. Can't wait to see the fisherman sweater take shape. xoxo Kay


This is GOOD obsessive in my book. I love these comparisons, and am glad to hear that you had a nice experience with all three yarns. Keep the crazy coming! xox


Wonderful! Thank you so much for your hard work! I've been thinking hard about denim and might just have to get some now.


oh, this is fabulous. But still I'm going to put you on the spot, if you have an answer: I have the Denim People book and DO want to make some things in there. The price of the Rowan, however, is daunting. Do I dare make a substitution of the Elann? What would you do?


What a great little test!! Good thing to keep in our knitting notebooks!! What a good swatcher you are!!


And I will offer a "brava!" for being so serenely meticulous in the midst of the chaos of kid-dom!


wow - that is a really comprehensive write-up, I think I'll try the rowan one now (had always put it off as I wondered how it would wash up), thanks.

Rev. Linda

I knit with the Rowan, a Miss Bea's seaside dress for my daughter. She was little so I just didn't worry about the shrinkage. We love it and I want another one but I want to adjust for size as she has grown. You're info is just what I needed with the whole shrinkage.


I always enjoy your blog but I don't think I have commented before. You did us all a great service with your consumer report on denim yarns! I bought a cone of the Elann Denim several years ago,and I am finally getting ready to put it to work.The first Rowan Denim book has some great patterns as well. Can't wait to see what you do with your three denim yarns.


What a neat experiment!! Personally, I really like the dark blue Rowan Denium.....very pretty!


What a great post!! Thank you for doing this (and I don't think you're obsessive at ALL! I wish I would have done something like this with a lot of projects that ended up unfinished and in a pile because I didn't know how much I hated the way the yarn worked up until I was halfway up the back - which I would of course, finish, hoping it would get better, somehow.

And I want to know the answer to Norma's question... would you say the elann is a good sub for the Rowan Denim?


Thank you for sharing your "obsessiveness" - it's one sure way to good knitting. You've inspired me to take the time and do the same.

This post is truly good writing - again thanks for doing it and sharing!


Great research. It's alway better when somone else does it so well!


I just wanted you to know that you're quickly becoming one of my favorite bloggers.. after seeing your (hehe.) Yarn Porn, I couldn't help myself to see the rest of your blog and what you're all about.

Anyway.. Just thought I'd drop a compliment or two your way : ) Loved this post.. but I also loved the rest I read too.. lol.


Nancy, you inspire me.
First, I love your stash photos, but more, you inspired me to swatch right.
I sat in LYS this afternoon and made a right and proper swatch - not the half-done thing I've been doing, to determine if the yarn I fell in love with would work for a sweater I don't need to start. It did, and I bought it - and now I'm going to start it!


Great post! About a month or so ago, I searched the internet in vain for something like this! I am knitting a Rowan pattern with Elann yarn, but have been stuck wondering about the different shrinkage percentages. Thanks for your tests!


Thank you for the analysis. I used your information when making a dress for my niece and it turned out lovely. Since then I have sent people to this site for your wonderful comparision. Thanks again!

Sandy Way

Hi! I have been trying to reseach a sweater I was given over 15 years ago, and found your website. I love the wispy knitted items you've created!
Anyway, I worked as a Resident Director for a prep school here in San Antonio for 12 years, and it was then that I was given this sweater by one of the girls.
I am a mother of two girls...both have a genetic form of ricketts. Our oldest is in college and our younger Sarah has had to have multiple difficult osteotomies...therefore I sell on Ebay so that I can be with her and not have to work outside of the home.
THE QUESTION: (didn't think I'd get there!)
This absolutely wonderful sweater has a tag in it that reads: "Den-M-Nit, Indigo Cotton, Trademark, Indigo Dyed cotton, machine wash separately, this garment is fully shrunk and tumble drying is recommended to maintain this"
I've decided to sell it on Ebay...we've had one day of winter last year, and even our 'severe winters' can be summed up in numbers of days, not really a season! I just use scarves, and don't need sweaters this heavy.
I can email photos...it is not like any I have seen, and its texture and embellishments are entirely unique.
I do not know how to price it...I find sites like yours that describe the yarn, same name brand...but not tagged, retail products made with the yarn.
Does anyone know how to find out its value?
I can email photos!
Thank you!
Sandy Way

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