Swatching: Rift Marl-Along

My Swatches Before Blocking

As I mentioned in the introductory post announcing the KAL, after Courtney and I picked Rift and were discussing color choices, I swatched Mojave singled and then doubled the yarn with two colors and fell in love!

The specifications for Rift are as follows:
Yarn A sport/dk weight cotton/wool or linen blend
Gauge 16 sts and 20 rows over 4” in blocked stockinette stitch
Needles US 8 (5 mm)

The pattern calls for a sport/dk weight yarn knit on larger than recommended needles to achieve a gauge of 16 stitches over 4”. (For reference, Mojave is sport weight and the label recommends knitting on US 4-6 (3.5-4 mm) for a gauge of 22-24 stitches over 4".) This is common when knitting lace, as the resultant fabric is light, open, airy and has a lot of drape. As you can see from Rift, it can be used to great effect in stockinette stitch as well!
My Swatches After Blocking

But why singled? And why doubled? I first knit a swatch with one end of Mojave in smoke gray on the recommended needles, US 8. When knitting from other people’s patterns, I tend start with the recommended needle, and then make adjustments from there if necessary. After knitting, I liked the swatch, but the stitches were very open and I had a hunch that I would prefer something a little denser. To be totally honest, I initially only marled the yarns because the other wound ball I grabbed was the plum brown and didn’t want to get off the couch and go up to my studio to wind another ball of the smoke gray. For probably the only time in my life, laziness paid off because I ended up loving the result!

My Gauge After I swatched, my singled unblocked gauge was 17.33 stitches and 21.33 rows over 4”. This is tighter than recommended, but I figured it would change slightly with blocking - and I was right! After blocking, the gauge was 16.5 stitches and 22 rows over 4”. Still a little too tight, so the next step would have been to swatch on a US 9 (5.5 mm).

The singled swatched changed more after blocking, but this did not surprise me - the fibers had more room to bloom and adjust (although cellulose fibers tend to not bloom as much as protein fibers), and looser knits are generally a little less “stable”. I didn’t, though, immediately fall in love with the fabric the way I did with the doubled marled swatch. This was for two reasons: one, I tend to prefer fabric knit “to gauge”, and also, I just really, really, really like marls! (All that to say, my Ranunculus is knit loosely and I do really love that sweater!)

My unblocked gauge doubled was 16 stitches and 21 rows over 4”, and my blocked gauge was 16 stitches and 22 rows - perfect stitch gauge, but slightly too dense row gauge. Since I was set on the marl, and got stitch gauge on 8s, I did not go ahead with singled on 9s.

Yardage Lisa asked us on Instagram about yardage. Since we’re both holding the Mojave doubled - and that’s how were running the KAL - you need to double the amount of yardage you would normally need. This is because you’re using two ends to make one. (Another way to think about this is if each strand was one ply, and holding them together created a 2-ply yarn.)

Modifications? As I obtained stitch gauge, but am a little dense on row gauge, I will need to be aware of the number of rounds to knit before dividing for the armholes. This is no big deal, though, as I always count rows instead of measuring inches anyway!

Are you excited for the KAL? We are! As a friendly reminder, we put kits together here, but if you’re looking for Mojave to make your own Rift, give one of the shops on the (ever-expanding) list below a call to see if they have a local pickup or shipping option! Alternatively, you can see the full list of LYS selling online here. Local businesses support healthy communities.

614 Knit Studio, Ohio A Good Yarn Sarasota, Florida Apricot Yarn, California Around The Table Yarns, Ohio Fancy Tiger Crafts, Colorado Fancywork Yarn Shop, Oregon Fibre Space, Virginia Hidden River Yarns, Pennsylvania Knit New Haven, Connecticut Knit.1 Chicago, Illinois Northfield Yarn, Minnesota Old Village Yarn Shop, Michigan Starlight Knitting Society, Oregon Tangled Yarn, UK Wild Hand, Pennsylvania

KAL Details: Courtney and I will host an IG live Cast On Party on Friday, May 22nd at 7 pm EST. Make sure you join us for some ridiculous fun!