All I do is swatch

4 Feb

Yes, I will confess it… I have bought yarn again.  And nothing makes me happier, when I buy a new yarn, that making little swatches to see what tension it is happiest being knitted to.  This weekend I mostly swatched.  I did work a little on the comfy cardi, and it is beginning to grow sleeves now… but it is a little slow going because I want to not injure my wrists.  I am about 10 rows away from being finished with the back of the lush cardigan, and it will be done this afternoon.  I knitted on my glove, finished it, decided I would not wear it, and put it away.  Last night I did not knit at all, because my husband’s friend John was over to watch the superbowl, and I was banished from my usual knitting spot in the living room (I could have watched, but I hate watching sports… don’t get me started.)  But more than that, I was happily engaged in swatching.  Even my husband noticed and said “You made all those this weekend?”  Some of these yarns are new, some of them aren’t, but they all needed swatching so that I can happily plan projects!

Today I will talk about wool/cotton blends, one of my favorites.  Mixing the two fibers together seems to give you the better qualities of both – the lightness and stretch of wool with the coolness of cotton.  I have made a point to buy several of them lately to try out.

Yarn: O-wool Balance in Lapis

Notes: For some reason, I ordered this yarn being convinced that it was going to be purple.  When it arrived and was blue, I put it away because it was not what I wanted.  But when I saw the new IK preview I knew it would be perfect for the flutter sleeved cardi, and I was not disappointed.  It knits to 5 st/in on size 6 needles for me, with only a negligible amount of growth after blocking.  This is not a soft yarn, and I did note several bits of vegetable matter as I knitted – I think you can still see one above.  This doesn’t bother me, but I know for some it would not be good.  I love the tweedy appearance, and the swatch feels very lightweight.  It will make an excellent sub for Classic Elite Classic Silk (now if only my magazine would arrive!)

Yarn: Rowan Wool Cotton in Ship Shape.

Notes: While the O-wool balance feels very much like cotton, in Rowan wool cotton the wool is the dominant fiber.  The yarn is soft and springy, with a slight shine to the finished project.  I loved knitting with this and can’t wait to use it for a project – I have wanted to try it forever, but I think it’s kind of expensive.  I’m going to use it to knit Anais from Norah Gaughan vol 1 – I have wanted to knit that since it came out, but it seemed kind of silly for winter wear to me.  I plan to improvise some different sleeves, because I don’t care for the webs, although I love the webbing around the neckline.  I experienced significant stretch after blocking – I would need to knit on a size smaller needles (in my case US 3) and depend on it growing after blocking.

Yarn: Mirasol Cotanani in Emerald

Notes: If you don’t know about the Mirasol Project you can read about it here.  The aims of the project seem to be admirable.  And this yarn… it’s very nice.  Soft and slightly lofty, it’s the softest of the wool/cotton blends I have tried.  I do have one beef though… it claims to be DK weight, but… not so much for me.  The swatch above (small because it wasn’t working out) is slightly over 5 st/in on US 5 needles.    The ball band states a gauge of 22 stitches over 4 inches, but I think 19-20 might be more accurate.  That’s ok, because I love the yarn, but it would be frustrating if I had a specific project in mind.  As it is, I’m thinking about making the corset cover from Veronik Avery’s Knitting Classic Style.  There aren’t any finished ones on Ravelry, but I think it looks like a cute piece, both for layering or as a tank.

Yarn: Classic Elite 4 seasons in Lemon Butter

Notes: Mmm… lemon butter.  This is a good basic yarn, which again knits up at 5 st/in for me on US 6 needles.   It has an utterly matte finish, and is reasonably soft and easy to knit with.  It has a firm feeling that makes me think it would take well to textured or cabled patterns.  I’m thinking of the Hexacomb Cardigan, the 2nd project I want to make from the new IK (ahead of myself? well, yes…)  This is an unusual color for me, but I look good in pale yellow, and I want to replace this cardigan, which I made last year.  Oh sure… it looks sort of cute in the photos, but they don’t show what an uneven mess the gauge is, or how enormously bulky the seams are.  I only wear it around the house, but I love the color, so I think I will try again.

Whew… that’s enough for one day!  Coming soon… even more swatches, progress on my 2 sweaters, and a review of Everyday Crochet by Doris Chan.

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11 Responses to “All I do is swatch”

  1. AmyH February 4, 2008 at 5:13 pm #

    You’re quite a swatcher!!!! I love your color choices. I’m a teal and greens girl too.
    I too, was knitting last night, but I did watch the game as well. We’re big Giants fans and it was difficult to knit and watch that game!
    I have to get my hands on some of that O-Wool Balance. It really intrigues me.

  2. Christie February 4, 2008 at 5:32 pm #

    That is a lot of swatching you’ve done there! And the color are so pretty! Although I’m not a big swatcher it does sometimes get me excited about using the yarn!

  3. Ruth February 4, 2008 at 7:41 pm #

    I love swatch posts! I think I’m going to start a Swatch Spotlight or Swatch Saturday thing on my blog — like Random Wednesday or those other bloggy themes that people share between websites. I’ll get to work on that. . . I think for every anti-swatcher out there, there’s one of us who just loves them.

  4. kasia w. February 4, 2008 at 7:48 pm #

    I’m so not a swatcher — but know I should be. I’ll learn the hard way eventually (I haven’t knit too many items that require a specific size yet).
    I’m wondering about your swatch method/pattern. Could you include it for those of us sort of new to this? I don’t get what you do on the short sides. And also why do you swatch with this pattern? Thanks!!!

  5. Julie February 4, 2008 at 10:29 pm #

    Way to promote swatching! I was just doing a swatch myself tonight. I see that you are still loving blues/teals! That lemon butter would be gorgeous for spring/summer, especially with your red hair.

  6. Elizabeth Boyle February 4, 2008 at 10:53 pm #

    Your swatches are wonderful–thanks for sharing. I love always being able to see how these yarns work up, and all your notes are great. Thanks so much. And isn’t that Hexicomb Cardi too cute?!

  7. silencepainter February 5, 2008 at 9:29 am #

    I love the color of the rowan wool! You’re swatches are alwasy very educational

  8. Monica February 5, 2008 at 10:31 am #

    Thanks for the great review of the yarns. I really appreciate your honesty and opinions, they’re wonderful resources.

    I’ve been swatching more and more lately before starting projects. Your posts have been instrumental in helping me to see the importance of this extra step. ;)

  9. Moggle February 5, 2008 at 1:35 pm #

    Rowan wool cotton *swoons* one of my favourite yarns and a gorgeous colour! It’s lovely to knit with!
    It’s good to hear your opinion on the other yarns too.

  10. Suzanne V. (Yarnhog) February 5, 2008 at 7:18 pm #

    As much as I love your FO posts, I think I love your swatching ones even more. I never fail to find a new yarn I want to try, and your descriptions are always spot on. And you wash your swatches (so I don’t have to!). Thanks!

  11. yoel February 9, 2008 at 3:16 pm #

    I’m so impressed with your swatching, as I do the absolute least possible. I’d love to have you do all my swatching for me, but sadly that defeats the purpose.

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