Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Swatch Wall

Apologies in advance. It is dreary out and I had to use the flash. Pictures are somewhat sub-par and sometimes washed out. Now that you're so excited to read the post, I present to you...

My Swatch Wall. I got the idea from the book Last Minute Knitted Gifts. Basically, I had swatches lying around and decided to hang them on the wall. You can't tell from the craptastic picture, but It is actually kind of cool. And it is right above my desk, so I get to look at pretty yarn and knitting every time I'm in my office. Its pretty nice. So now my dirty secret is out. Sometimes I swatch. Not always, though. Swatches lie. But sometimes you need guidance. Like the following swatches:

This is cashmere. It was knit on size 6 needles. Frogging compromises fiber, and I don't want to compromise expensive yarn (even if it was wholesale) by knitting with the wrong size needles and then frogging.

This is from the LSD cardigan. The first time I started it, it was waaaayyyy too big. I was also concerned (this being superwash wool) about having the problem I had when I knit Tubey, I wanted to do a swatch with smaller needles and throw the swatch in the washer (and dryer) to see if it shrunk or grew. It did neither. So I cast on for LSD v2.0. I don't really like knitting it very much, and the yarn's not that great feeling, so progress is slow.

To make Zeebee, you have to swatch. You can't just guesstimate by the label (well, maybe YOU can, but I can't) because you knit the hat in garter stitch. You need to know both row and stitch gauge.
And, oh, what is this?

Its another Zeebee! In Noro Silk Garden. Thanks, Swatch! Quickie specs, since this is the 4th Zeebee I've knit, it doesn't need its own post. US 8 needles, 58 grams of yarn. I could have used less than one skein if I was knitting it for myself, but I wasn't. It fits the wearer nicely though!

This swatch was actually knit after I started the garment. It is from when I was knitting the Bluebell Boatneck, about which I did not blog (I don't think). The problem was that the parts of the sweater in stockinette looked fine, but where I did ribbing and garter stitch (and even reverse stockinette), it looked like the fabric was being knit on too-large needles. I was wondering if the yarn plumped up at all after washing, so I knit and washed a swatch. The swatch did plump up, so I knit on, and finished the body of the sweater. I tried it on and determined that I am not wild about the purl ridges that Stefanie Japel (the sweater designer) loves so much, unless it is on a more... delicate (?) yarn and smaller needles, like this sweater. So the sweater is waiting to be frogged and will become a top-down raglan in stockinette stitch with rolled hems/neck knit on US 7 needles (because I still think it would look better on smaller needles. Just for the hell of it, here is a picture.

This was knit for the Dollar and a Half Cardigan (I've got both fronts done now, but its not very blog-worthy. BTW, I hate decreasing for armscyes in lace. Though I think I might have it figured out, now that most of the sweater is done, HA). I was trying to figure out what size to knit, and I wanted to see if linen (or, rather, a linen/acrylic blend) grows much after blocking. It does not. So negative ease would be bad in this situation. 36" bust it is!

So there you have it, my secret is out. I am a sometimes-swatcher. And actually, I kind of like swatching. I like the little pieces of knit fabric, and I like being able to look at them and think of the sweater I have knit/am knitting/will kint (there are some swatches up there for projects I have not started yet).

Next episode, I will answer Bek's question: "What are you actually working on right now?" She asks that because she knows the baby sweater and hats were finished a couple of months ago, but I didn't want to blog about them until I'd gifted them, on the off chance that the wearer's mom would come across them (she is starting to knit, a tiny bit).

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