The yarn I have chosen for my first wool-free sweater success story is Kollage Riveting. The fiber content is 100% recycled blue jeans (95% cotton- 5% other). Love the eco-friendly aspect of this yarn.
I'm excited about this brand of denim yarn because it comes in a variety of colors (I chose Forest Denim color 7909) and the color does not bleed on my hands as I knit.
The tag tells me that the gauge on this yarn is 26 stitches/32 rows to 4" on 3.5mm needles (US #4), and the pattern I've chosen tells me to achieve this gauge in seed stitch rib pattern
I've never been a terribly precise person. I tend to eyeball the location of a nail when hanging a picture. Mostly this works out and sometimes you get 2 holes in the wall and I can live with that.
But when it comes to knitting sweaters I have learned (to my peril) that taking the pains to do a little measuring beforehand is not an option, but a necessity. Which is why I started swatching. Gauge may not matter much in a scarf or afghan, but if your gauge is off on a sweater you are going to be in for big trouble.
So, I cast on 52 stitches on 3.5mm needles and I knit in pattern for 64 rows and hallelujah, I got a perfect 8" x 8 " square. Oh yeah, I'm good to go, right? WRONG.
Denim yarn shrinks (ALWAYS) and even though the pattern is written to compensate for the shrinkage, I need to test my own swatch and see how much it's going to shrink for me.
The Care Instructions for washing this yarn recommend washing in COLD water and then drying the garment in the dryer. I tossed my swatch in with a load of darks and when it came out I measured it again.
It shrunk in length by about 1" and is the same 8" width it was when I started.
The "expected" shrinkage for this yarn is in length only and was estimated to be about 12% so I'm pretty dead on.
I had not expected a lot of surprises with this particular swatch because I've worked with Denim yarn before and I know that it does shrink the promised amount. But it was still important to do the swatch "just to be sure".
So, go ahead, knit your swatch (in pattern) and adjust your needle size as necessary to get gauge. Then wash it, dry it (per ball band directions) and get to know the fabric you'll be using for your sweater.