Swatching

It appears one cannot have a knitting blog without posting at least once about the joys and perils of swatching.

I am not a swatcher. BUT, I am completely ok with pulling out a ball’s worth of project on the discovery that it is going to be too big (it’s never too small).

You would think that, by now, I would have just learnt to go down a needle size, but it’s not every project! and, to be honest, if i do swatch, I almost always get gauge. SWATCHES LIE!. I think when i knit a swatch, I’m so keen to get it done that i knit furiously and therefore my tension is tighter. Also, I tend to knit on circs, and when i swatch, the stitches stay mostly on the needles and i am SURE this affects the overall tension. So instead I tend to just start knitting, wait until i’m a decent way in (1/2 – 1 ball usually) and then measure. If it’s way off, I’ll start again. If it’s slightly off, I’ll persevere, maybe try it on if i can to see how it’s going.

Then of course there’s the garment that’s perfect as one knits it, but too big once blocked. But generally i find after a wear or two they spring back, not to mention the fact that again, if i knit and wash a swatch, it’s usually fine, but doesn’t take into account the weight of the garment as a whole. Then there’s patterns and knit flat/ knit in the round considerations and i just can’t be doing with it all!! There’s always lovely friends of all shapes and sizes to gift to if worse comes to worst. Also? Knitting can be pulled out and started again. Not ideal with a cardi or jumper, but eh, life rarely gives you do-overs, so look at it in the best light (after swearing a lot)!

This is a tale of a swatch though.

Yes, I swatched! but not so much for gauge, as for colour!

I’m planning on doing little birds by Ysolda Teague. I bought the pattern ages ago when she was donating funds to help Haiti. Since I’m in the UK and my local LYS has Jamieson and Smith shetland, I thought I’d pick out some colours and if not start it while i’m here, at least have it ready to go. I bought a few colours to play with about a year ago (whoops) and finally got around to the onerous task of swatching.

Ignoring the fact that my birdies are completely screwed up (this was more about tension and colour than getting the pattern right) I’m really happy with this.

First tension – I’m getting 14 stitches over 2″ in colour work – the required amount is 28″ over 10cm. Booyah! Also, if anything my tension is a bit tight on this, so it will be a nice change to be able to knit the size i think i am for once!

secondly, colour. I bought a couple of different colours to play with, with the intention of doing the colour scheme I did above, but if it didn’t work, to pick the two or three colours I liked. I honestly thought I would be doing the 2 different colour birdies with just the one colour ‘leaves’. I wanted a bluey green for the leaves (those who know me will not be surprised by that) so thought I’d go a nice contrasty purple for the birds. The middle colour is much more in keeping with the tone of the purple that it shows in the photo. It’s less red and the purple is not quite so blue. So the effect is a row of birdies and leave in a rich, dark colour, then a row of birdies and leaves in a slightly less saturated colour. I really like the effect in real life. In this photo it’s a more stark contrast.

Here’s another photo…

Everyone i’ve showed it to in person thinks that it looks great with the four colours. In the photos i’m not so sure it works. Which is a pity, because i really wanted your opinions on it!! So if you want to give an opinion, just take my word that the raspberry colour is not as rusty as it looks here, but a pinker, slightly less saturated colour.

when I first knit the row of teal, I wasn’t sure against the neutral background, but actually it looks great.

Oh why is this so hard!

help!

As Promised…

As I promised Sharon, this is a post about my favourite scarf.

Working a yarn store, I get to see the nummiest yarns as they came in. When RYC Baby Alpaca DK arrived I just KNEW i had to have it wrapped around my neck in some form! I could picture the scarf i wanted and spent weeks working out the ideal way to create it. This is what i came up with* in order to create the perfect striped skinny scarf

Materials: 2 balls each of RYC Baby Alpaca Southdown (A) and RYC Baby Alpaca Lincoln (B) (or any complementary DK weight yarns)

a set of double pointed 5mm needles (or circular for magic loop)

Method:

With col A cast on 36 stitches (or twice as many stitches as would give you your desired width). Join for working in the round.

knit 6 rows.

Without breaking col A, join col B.

knit 6 rows with col B, carrying col A up the centre of the tube, catching it with col B to keep it neat.

continue in this way, alternating A and B until scarf is desired length. My scarf ended up around 2.75m long and i finished with col B.

sew in ends and wash and dry (or whatever blocking method you use) so that scarf sits flat with one ‘edge’ being where you’ve changed colours.

The result?

I apologise for the wip photo, but in the 2 years i’ve had this i haven’t taken a photo of it in it’s full finished form!! I will try to get one soon to replace this one!

*I’m sure I’m not the first person to come up with this, and i won’t be the last, but i did make this up from scratch, with no reference to an existing pattern.

correction

sigh – my first correction already for the Cable Car Sock pattern

In the Toe section, R7 and R9 are the wrong way round.
you should read R7 as R9 and vice versa.
so they should be :
R7: k1, k2tog, k to 3 stitches before marker, ssk, k1, c3f dec, work centre of pattern pattern to 3 stitches before marker, c3b dec
R9: k1, k2tog, k to 3 stitches before marker, ssk, k1, k2tog, work pattern to 2 stitches before marker, ssk

The file in the previous post will be adjusted to Cable Car Sock v2 for anyone want to download it with corrections.

My Very First Pattern!

Huzzah! I have written up my very first pattern – my self-designed Cable Car Socks.

Cable Car Socks

They were created from Mountain Colours Bearfoot in the ‘Meadow’ colourway, which i purchased at Knitty City in NYC (after eyeing it off at String Theory in Illinois). I wanted a simple pattern to show of the yarn that was a bit more interesting than plain ribbing. I couldn’t find anything and so I used my initiative and the maths I learnt in school to work out a cable pattern. I could SEE it in my head, it was awesome. Used what I knew about sock construction to create these!

The dual cable runs down the front and back, with a single cable either side of the front dual cable. The back cable runs into the heel flap. I’m quite proud of that bit! Having just been to San Francisco, with their famous cable cars, the ‘tracks’ of the cables reminded me of the cable cars (also, the word is the same :)) and lo, they were named.

And so, this fine sock pattern, dutifully test knitted by the lovely Auntiejan and Shoshanah from Ravelry, is now available for you to download, completely free! Whilst I have made edits based on these lovely ladies’ feedback, there may still be changes to be made or errors to be spotted, and I hope to replace some of the images with the socks from the test knits as mine are a bit worn already!!

But for now, here it is – CABLE CAR SOCK PATTERNv2 .