Sunday, March 17, 2013

More Swatching

I realized that I knit all of Beth's swatches in the wrong lace pattern. Oh well! At least she will be able to determine which fabric she likes the best. Here is the new swatch with the correct lace pattern. I think this one will be much easier (less noticeable) to graft in the center back.
 This swatch with knit on size 5 needles, and I like it better than the earlier swatch.

Silk Mohair in Second Lace Pattern

Northfield DK
FibraNatura Oak

The Perfect Sweater Class is wonderful, except I wish I had more time to devote to it during the week. I did manage to get pretty well caught up yesterday. Swatched the FibraNatura Oak (got gauge on 3's) and the Northfield DK (didn't get gauge on 5's), both from Webs. The Northfield is merino, alpaca, and silk and knit up as a smoother fabric than the Oak (merino, silk, and linen). I like the Northfield and was glad that it didn't grow when lung with weights. I'd like to use it for another project sometime. I had purchased enough Oak for this sweater because it was on sale, and that influenced my decision. It looks like a more casual relaxed sweater fabric. I also made incomplete swatches of Everlasting DK and Cotton Fleece that I had lying around. They were both more toward the worsted end of the spectrum and would have needed more swatching to get gauge. I knew I wasn't going to order more of that yarn, so I unraveled the swatches. I did wash and hang these two. There was happily no change after hanging for at least 8 hours. 
Oak on 3's and Northfield on 5's
This weeks focus was on fit. I hooked Kenny into taking my measurements and have started to make my own croquis, or sketch of me, that I can draw on to get an idea of what might work on my body. I have to get a lot better at drawing on the iPad to make this very useful!
All of the focus on fit has helped me figure out what size to use for Kenny's Sticks and Stones pullover. It should officially go on the needles this week.

Saturday, March 9, 2013


I am getting ready to knit a shrug for my nephew's fiancee. Beth picked the pattern, Posh Wedding Shrug, and I knit 6 different swatches to send off to her. It worked in well for an assignment with Ysolda's Perfect Sweater class.
I wanted to give Beth a range of fabrics so she could choose the one that felt right to her. I sent them off this morning and am looking forward to her response. We felt that a shrug would work better than a shawl because of the detail on her dress, and a shrug is much less fussy to wear. This was a fun experiment and I feel like I am getting to know Beth in a more personal way than I would by just sending her a gift.  I want to play around more with the gauge of the fabric and weighted drape, but wanted to wait until Beth gives me her choice. Then I can focus on that yarn specifically. The swatches have 35 stitches each, with a 2 stitch garter edge on each side and 5 pattern repeats (with the exception of the mohair). I knit each swatch on size 7 (4.5 mm) or 8 (5 mm) needles. I washed all of the swatches and let them air dry. An added benefit to making so many swatches is that I memorized the pattern, only making one mistake, so now I know what to watch out for.

Lana Gatto Silk Mohair
 This is a 25% silk/ 75% mohair blend. It was knit on 7  bamboo needles. It is as light as a feather. I would like to try knitting it on smaller needles to give the fabric a bit more body as well as showing off the pattern with more stitch definition. Although with this much mohair there isn't going to be too much stitch definition. I love the feel of this swatch, but it was definitely the most difficult to work with.

The Cotton Bam Boo was my first swatch. It was knit on size 8 needles. The fabric is soft and would be comfortable next to the skin. It has serious drape and I expect it will stretch and grow. If Beth chooses this one I would swatch on smaller needles to get a more dense fabric with better stitch definition and really test it for growth. She wants the shrug to cover her back, not the dress.

 This is Cascade 220 superwash. I chose to swatch it because several shrugs had been knit with it on the Ravelry project page. It is not very exciting. It's soft, has decent stitch definition and would be comfortable, but it feels like a sweater, not a garment that would go with a wedding dress. This is the swatch where I learned about the potential mistakes I can make with this pattern. I ordered some Knit Picks Shine as a back up for this one if Beth picks it. I think the Shine will have a bit more "shine" and elegance.
This one was a complete whim.  Ripple is a cotton thick and thin yarn. The thick parts are woven, making it like a tape with thin parts. The fabric is a bit crunchy and it has zero stitch definition, but I like this one a lot. This swatch is certainly not boring. I used size 7 needles which I think are about right for this yarn. It was very strange to knit with, hard to tell if you had knit or purled at times. If Beth chooses this one I'll have to play around with drape, weighting the swatch.
Tiara is a wool and mohair blend with beads and sequins in the yarn. When I bought this one, it was the most expensive of all the yarns, I thought this would be the one. But I wasn't as impressed as I thought I would be. The beads and sequins do add drama, but the stitch definition is just okay. The biggest issue I have with it is the color. This was the "creamiest" of all the yarns and I'm afraid it would look yellow. If Beth likes the bling I would be happy to add beads to any of the other yarns, except the Ripple!

The last swatch is Sunseeker. A cotton yarn with what looks like a mylar thread going through it. You don't really notice the sparkle unless you are right on top of it. I knit the swatch on size 7 needles. It's okay, looks more sporty than I would like. Being cotton it may grow when it is worn, so I would need to do more swatching if this is Beth's pick. I think it would be cute as a shrug for a summer dress, but it doesn't have the bridal flair I was looking for.

So, what have I learned and where do I want to go next? Well, I would really like to try some silk, but I'm going to wait and see what Beth is feeling. I also have the Shine coming, I'll see what happens with that. I'll swatch it, but may not have to send it to Beth. A problem I had with this experiment is color. There are not a lot of pure white yarns. We could go with a light gray to match the ribbon in her dress as an option. I have learned that swatching can be addicting! Just knitting these six swatches makes me want to look at more possibilities, silk for example. And then adjusting the gauge will add a whole new range of options. I learned that it is much more economical to add my own bling rather than pay the extra for yarn with the bling built in. There is more but I'll save it for the next group of swatches I'm knitting for the Blank Canvas Sweater.