BFL Silk Fine

Swatching the Little Basic Cardi Pattern

The epic class Fundamentals to Finishing by Holli Yeoh, available for our School of SweetGeorgia students, includes the Little Basic Cardi knitting pattern in three different yarn weights. The samples are knit in SweetGeorgia’s Superwash Worsted, BFL Silk DK, and BFL Silk Fine.

In 2014, I met Holli and Felicia. I was part of Holli and SweetGeorgia’s sample-knitting volunteer team for Tempest, a beautiful West Coast-inspired knitwear book. Holli gave the sample team a half-day-long Finishing class. After 5 years of knitting obsessively every day, I remember being in awe at the level-of-detail Holli would delve into. Not only did the class help me finally finish the Procella fingerless mitts and slouchy hat pattern, but many of the knitting tips she shared with us changed my approach to knitting; From paying attention to the best cast on for the project to knitting gauge swatches to wet-blocking my finished shawls so they look their best.

Eight years later, we are releasing Holli’s Knitting Masterclass in the School of SweetGeorgia. We rightly named the class Fundamentals to Finishing because it covers cast ons, tension, joining yarn, and selvedge stitches. In every lesson, Holli delves deeply into the fundamentals, analyzing many details and nuances. Even with over 12 years of knitting every day, the learning never ends.

Naturally, I had to immediately swatch the pattern for my own Little Basic Cardi. I decided to start off with a swatch in BFL Silk DK in a happy yellow from my stash. Being a non-superwash yarn, I enjoyed the soft woolly feeling of it. I am enamoured with the shine, strength, and softness of this yarn. 

BFL Silk DK Rowing out Swatch Cornejo
BFL Silk DK Stockinette Stitch Swatches (shown on the wrong side):
Left swatch with US 2.5/ 3.0mm for the knit rows and US2/ 2.75mm for the purl rows to minimize rowing out.
Right swatch with US 3/ 3.25 mm, the rowing out is more noticeable.

Finding the Right Yarn

Since I tend to knit loosely, I chose Chiaogoo bamboo needles, as the grip of the needles helps me achieve a tighter gauge. Between the lovely yellow and the stitch definition, I was almost sold on using BFL Silk DK for my sweater… even though I wear my sport weight and fingering weight knits more.

I decided to swatch with the new-to-me BFL Silk Fine, which has the same lustre and softness as the BFL Silk DK. The DK has thicker singles than the Fine, but the fibre content and 3-ply worsted spin are the same, as well.

I swatched both yarns with US 3/ 3.25 mm bamboo needles. The BFL Silk DK had too few stitches per inch vs the pattern’s gauge and it also had a lot of rowing out and unevenness, even after blocking. Following Holli’s recommendation, I switched my Chiaogoo interchangeable needles to US 2.5/ 3mm for my knit rows and US 2/ 2.75 mm for my purl rows and swatched again. This change improved my tension, minimized rowing out, and achieved the pattern gauge for the DK pattern of 22 stitches and 30 rows. I also swatched again with the BFL Silk Fine using this needle combination, but the previous needle selection of US 3/ 3.25 mm gave the correct Fingering pattern gauge of 25 stitches and 35 rows.

BFL Silk Fine Swatch Cornejo
BFL Silk Fine Stockinette Stitch Swatch with US 3/ 3.25 mm wood needles. The three knots on the yarn tail help me remember what needles sizes I used for the swatch.

Colour Decisions

After swatching with the Fine yarn, I found my sweater yarn. At a gauge of 25 stitches and 35 rows, the fabric is perfect for the 9-month-sweater in temperate Vancouver weather. I started with the idea of a sweater in Ginger, but a peek at work-in-progress from Felicia changed my mind to Pineapple. It’s the happiest shade of yellow. Now, I am looking forward to knitting my very own Little Basic Cardi soon.

As a School of SweetGeorgia member, you have access to the three patterns and workbook (coming soon) inside Holli’s in-depth class, Fundamentals to Finishing. Won’t you join me?

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