Saturday, March 13, 2010

Swatch Tales

First thing first...I finished eldest's sweater:

It was a great success all around. Details on Ravelry here. It turned out to be slightly larger than expected (thank-you superwash wool) so not only will she be able to wear it now, but she will also get to enjoy it the whole winter next year. It was slow going to get it finished..not because it was hard (it wasn't) but because I have been really sick with some sort of nasty virus for the last week. I actually couldn't get out of bed for a couple of days there. So much for my big Spring Break plans to clean, ha ha. We did manage to get a bit sorted out but not as much as I had hoped. Oh well.

Last night I pulled out my Felted Tweed and a bunch of needles to start this:

Behold the swatch. It is not really purple, but more of a dark purplish brown (Treacle, I think) that is really hard to capture in this crappy, overcast light. I don't like making swatches. In fact I avoid them whenever possible. But experience has taught me to be cautious when dealing with new to me yarns, especially when they contain fibers that have a nasty tendency to grow after you knit them up (alpaca I'm looking at you!). A look on Ravelry reveals that this yarn is notoriously hard to get gauge for and it grows with blocking. So I tried out the recommended needle size (3.75mm) for the project..too big. I tried 3.25..too big. I tried 2.75..seemed a bit tight but I washed it to be sure. This size was a bit too small even after washing so I will work with a 3mm and hope for the best. Washing revealed little growth width-wise but a bit of growth length-wise so now I know to knit it a bit short and let blocking bring it to the right length for me. Other things I have learned from this swatch: This yarn loses some color in the wash and blooms a lot to become quite fuzzy. It also softens a bit and is quite warm against my hand. This yarn is also too fragile for seaming so I will have to find something sturdier in a similar weight and color.

Some people wonder what to do with their little swatches after the necessary information has been gleaned. I keep them around until I'm finished the project to make sure that I don't need the yarn, then they go to the girls to become toy blankets or mats or whatever suits their particular purpose. I used to only make little teeny swatches but now I find that they are in such demand, lol that I make sure to provide them in more generous proportions.

So now it's time to cast on. I'm hoping for lots of mindless knitting which will be just right for recuperation from the nasty ick, ha ha.


  1. I hope you feel better soon! It's no fun being sick.

  2. Thanks Carolyn! I always seem to get sick at the end of winter and then I'm good for the rest of the year. I'm already starting to feel a bit better.