I've been sampling yarns this week. Not only to try out the different colour combinations, but also the different fibre construction. Now I've got a handful of little samples of both woolen and (semi) worsted spun yarns, I've made a couple of swatches of the Fair Isle pattern to see how the colours and yarns work together. The results were rather surprising.
I had expected worsted spun (bottom sample) to be the ideal construction for Fair Isle because it affords a crisp stitch definition which really shows off the design. However, whilst considerably more fuzzy, the woolen spun yarn (top sample) was softer, airier and more lightweight. Both swatches were knit with the same weight yarn and needles and finished in the same way (washed in hot water and blocked) and yet the worsted sample faired better in the finishing and didn't suffer from shrinkage as much as the woolen sample.
Now armed with these knitted and blocked samples, I think I'll stick with what I know and spin woolen for the time being. I'm excited with my semi-worsted results though, as hopefully I'll be able to have a go at spinning some sock yarn next!