I have two skeins of spindle spun camel hair yarn, from Earth Friendly Yarns. Both skeins are 100 grams, and roughly worsted weight – no yardage is given. While normally I would not swatch a yarn except for a specific project, given the exotic fiber and hand spun character of this yarn, I think that some serious pre-project swatching is in order.
I am working on the theory that spindle spun fair trade yarn from Mongolia might not be as washed as the yarns I am used too, and that this might affect the softness etc of the yarn and swatch. There was a lot of little bits of stuff in the yarn as I knit the swatch – straw, grass, etc, and it had a very slick greasy feel to it that lingered on my fingers. So instead of just damp blocking this, I went ahead and washed it as if I were washing fleece , and I washed it twice. The first time with hot water and wool wash, and the second time with hot water and a drop of dish soap.
The first wash did pour off very yellow/brown, and the second was pretty clear, so when I swatch the second skein I will only do one wash. The unwashed swatch was very scratchy and rough, while after washing it has a much softer light feel — it’s still quite rough, but it has a sort of suede like feel to it, under the scratchy halo.
The final gauge is 4 sts/1 inch over the stockinette, and the swatch measures almost exactly five inches across, so I am pretty comfortable with calling it a heavy worsted weight yarn. I am hoping that the second skein will match this gauge after it is swatched and washed – the colors match well, and it would be nice to use them together.