In the stitching world, a floss toss is used to decide what fabric to use for a given project. Normally you take the required floss and place ('toss') them on several possible fabrics and the one combination you like most, is usually the one you use for stitching.
With the Great American Aran Afghan, which I plan for my next knitting project, I decide on something similar. I did spent some time last Friday in my LYS looking at options.
I knew several requirements and wishes.
A) the yarn shouldn't be too expensive. I'm going to need (if I make the afghan exactly as described by the booklet) at least 3600m of yarn. At 100 ~ 120m per 50gr ball, I'll end up buying at least 30 balls. As I plan on doing a somewhat bigger version, I will end up with even more then this.
B) the yarn should be maschine washable. As I will make the afghan in off-white, stains will be very visible.
C) I'd like to have some natural fibre in it. Wool, cotton, bamboo, whatever.
D) the gauge, needle size and yardage should be something at least close to the one given in the pattern - 19 stitches to 10cm (4inches) with 4.5mm (US7) needles, yardage 90m per 50gr
I ended up with a small basket of maybe six or seven yarns (don't you just love a yarn store that even gives you a selection like this) and ended up with three to take home with me to do some swatching.
The ones I've picked are
- Lana Grossa - Millefine: 50% Merino / 50% Acrylic, gauge is 17M x 24R, 4.5 ~ 5.5 needles size and 100m per 50gr
- Lana Grossa - Basic quick: 50% Virgin Wool / 50% Acrylic, gauge 19M x 25R, 4 ~ 4.5 needle size and 125m per 50gr
- Lana Grossa - Basic Mixer: 60% Cotton / 40% Acrylic, gauge 18m x 24R, 4,5 ~ 5 needle size and 120m per 50gr
Of the first and the last I've made a swatch (with one of the patterns from the booklet) and then washed it.
And the winner is .....
Lana Grossa Basic Mixer!!!
I seriously do love the cotton feeling of the second swatch, and it suffered not at all from washing (which I see the biggest problem with knitting with cotton), I guess due to the acrylic content. The pattern just pops better with the cotton mix and the color and feel looks to be closer to the one on the photo of the cover of the booklet.
Guess I'm going to order 30 balls tomorrow (or maybe 40 .... I do want to make a big afghan after all ....)