Friday, February 22, 2013

Swatching, swatching, swatching...

I've been swatching.  A lot.  I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I don't like swatching.  At all.  It's boring and a barrier to me getting to my knitting.  It's just like finishing, but in the beginning.  Finishing is a barrier to me wearing my knitted thing.  Swatching is a barrier to me starting to knit my knitted thing.  [For those who don't know, swatching means knitting a little square with the yarn and needles for the pattern to make sure it will be the right size in the end.] I try to avoid it as much as possible, usually by convincing myself (pretty much correctly) that I knit "normally" - not to tight and not too loose, just right - so I will just use the size needles the pattern calls for and it will turn out the way I will like it.  HOWEVER....

This new pattern that I am obsessed with, Meadowlark, has given me no choice.

Isn't it cool?   I love, Love, LOVE the back. The pattern calls for using laceweight yarn, held double - two strands held together and knit as if they were one strand.  Since I don't have laceweight yarn and my LYS doesn't carry it (when I had the shop, I only had a little and it didn't sell.), I wanted to substitute something.  The pattern actually allows for this and says to use, as a substitute, a "light sport weight" yarn.  Light sportweight???   It's certainly not a common term used for yarn. You hear of sport weight, or something heavier which is DK weight, or something lighter which is fingering weight.  When I researched the projects on Ravelry, many used either sport weight or fingering weight and none of them indicated that it came out too small or too big.  They all loved how it came out.  So I thought, "Well, I could use either with good results."  But I had this nagging feeling that all of them couldn't have come out right, since sportweight and fingering weight are different gauges and then I got this icky feeling that I'd have to swatch.  So, I picked out a great fingering weight yarn and bought the two skeins needed since, despite the nagging feeling, I figured it would just be a formality to do the swatch and it would all be fine.  WRONG.
I swatched and it was way too small. (top swatch)  And it was very loosely knit which means the needles are just too big for the yarn.  So, going up a needle size to make the swatch bigger was not an option.  I'd have to try another weight.  Rather than purchasing the yarn again, I found some spare sport weight yarn - which I should have done with the fingering weight - and did another swatch.  It was still too small. (middle swatch)  I could have gone up a needle size, but that yarn - all wool - didn't seem to be right for a lightweight vest.  I then found another yarn - a wool and silk blend - informally considered light DK, and did a third swatch.  This one turned out to be perfect! (bottom swatch) So I went back to the yarn shop, returned the one skein of fingering weight that I didn't wind into a ball and got new yarn.  To be continued....

Meanwhile, I made this hat in one day:
It is the Wurm hat and I love it.  It was pretty easy - the only difficult part was folding the brim and picking up the cast on edge and incorporating it with the existing stitches to make a doubled brim (which makes your ears extra warm!).  After that, though, knit a few rounds, purl a few rounds.  Easy peasy.  

And finally, a pretty winter sunset:
The end.


  1. I. LOVE. THE. VEST. !!! I betcha it's worth the smarmy swatching LOL... ( ??? Make me one ??? :) )
    Your photo of the sunset is stunning ...beautiful colors ! Might you enlarge it ?

  2. I SO FEEL YOUR PAIN!! swatching... UGH!!! lets hope that now that its done the vest will turn out even better than you'd hoped it would! I LOVE that pattern....can't wait to see the results....
    Lv K

  3. Your vest is going to be beautiful, what color? Can't wait to see it finished. The hat is beautiful also good information on swatching...I finally finished the sampler cowl, class I took with Robin. Must show you.
    Love the sunset picture. Off to Florida for 5 days back soon to take some classes with you.