Monday, January 19, 2009


silky wool swatchesAfter all that babbling about the swatches for my Inspiration sweater the other day, I thought maybe I should actually show you some.
Now I just have to decide which order to put them in.
Ok, first up are the stockinette stitch swatches which started it all.
For you non-knitters out there, a "swatch" is just a little square of knitting, usually around 4 x 4 inches that you make just so you can get the feel of how the yarn will work up.
If you are following a pattern, it will tell you what your gauge should be to make your project come out like their project. Gauge being the number of stitches and rows per inch.
If you are designing a project, like I am, swatching is even more important because all your project numbers are based off your gauge, i.e., how many stitches to cast on so the sweater will fit around your body, how many rows to work before you start the armhole shaping, etc.
So in the first picture, from top to bottom, I worked the same number of stitches and rows using Us5, 6, and 7 needles.
This was an interesting experiment, which I've read about but never sat down and done. Usually when I swatch I knit a bit, measure it, judge it, then yank it out and start over. I've never saved the little buggers before. So although we hear and see all the time about how gauge will change the size of your project, it was eye opening to see it on my own yarn.
Of course, there was the time when Charlene Schurch was at the store. She had a long strip of knitting were she went from either US 0 or 1 needles all the way up to like size 15. That really allowed us to see gauge in action.
I ended up deciding the US5 was fine but a little dense, and the US7 was too floppy, but the US6 was just right.

inspiration swatches The odd thing is that I then seem to have turned around and worked the swatch for my center cable on the US7.
The center cable is the one on the right. I took these pictures outside this morning on the snow, it seemed sunny a the time, but the flash still went off.
I wasn't very happy with the cable. It was kind of floppy, complicated to work, and didn't have a lot of impact.
Of course, on of the things Beth BR told us was to work at least two pattern repeats so you can get a real feel for the cable and see if anything funky goes on in the middle. Well, I did this swatch before class, so I only did one repeat. It is out of Lavold's Viking Patterns for Knitting.
The cable on the left is from a sweater in Rebecca Magazine 32, which is the same issue my little cropped poncho is in.
I don't know if you can tell, but I started the cable on US7, realized it was icky, then dropped all the way down to US5. Which is why the cable looks softer and slightly more flared at the bottom. I think it has much more pop and body and the US5 and will probably stick with that needle size for my sweater.

Other Options
In the mean time, I found this blog and the neat cables she has designed. Using the principles in Lavold's book, she is translating images from a book of celtic knots into knitting patterns. She has one called "Intertwined hearts and happiness signs" which is quite intriguing.
I think it also echoes/compliments my side cables (the ones out of Rebecca) much better than the cable I selected originally. So I printed out her chart, but haven't swatched it yet.

Mystery Project
heart swatchs As for the other project I was babbling about the other day, I haven't decided if it should be a hat or a scarf, but I've swatched a bit.
I'm using some Cascade 220 that I have in stash just to get the basic idea down.
Here you see a standard XO cable on the right. And a "small hearts connected by rib" cable on the left from Ivanovaknit's Celtic Knit Project.
I am quite pleased with the way the hearts came out and think I will go with that one.
Of course, she has the pattern copyright, but she invites people to contact her if they want to use any of the cables in a pattern which will be sold. I think I will show the idea to Cynthia before I take that step (if Cynthia doesn't like it, I might still make one for myself and that is cool under the Creative Commons copyright she selected, so it won't be a wasted effort).

baru snow 11909 Ok, time to go fold some laundry. I leave you with an off-center picture of Baru playing in the snow.


  1. Great swatches! If knitting is anything like slip stitches, I fear I won't like it. I admire knitters!

  2. Is he eating the snow? Or is that a toy?

    You are a swatch-monster! I do notice the difference that needles make to the fabric. Usually, though, I am about six inches into the body before realizing it.... That's a swatch, right? ;)