No really, I have a plan

This plan? The plan I absolutely and totally have? Well this plan spends a significant amount of time in the ‘huh, odd’ stage. Then, towards the end, you do the very tiniest bits of messing about and all of a sudden you get to the ‘wow, that’s remarkably cute’ stage.⁠

Which is one of my favorite sorts of plans!⁠

But it does mean we’re going to spend a bit of time looking at things that seem…odd.  But have a little faith, I promise the cute is coming!

Swatching, interlude

Yarn and pattern matching, interlude.

Ok, so here are the five swatches it took to figure out which yarn I wanted to use. There’s still one more to come where I figure out sizing info, but these were what it took just to settle on a yarn.

One of the most common questions I get is what I do with my swatches. Usually I just rip them out. But as always the real answer is a bit more nuanced.

For swatches like these, where I am trying to match yarn and concept, but not yet trying to figure out gauge, I don’t generally block. Now, if you’re trying to figure out gauge, you ABSOLUTELY have to block. No room for argument. But if you’re just knitting a couple of rows, saying ‘nope, that’s not quite what I was looking for,’ and moving on, there’s no reason to block.

And if a swatch hasn’t been blocked, and hasn’t sat knitted up for too long, you can just rip it out and reuse the yarn whenever you want.

But if a swatch has been blocked, and even sometimes if it’s just sat in the swatch for more than a day or two, the yarn will be kinky when you rip it out. If that’s the case, you need to soak it and let it dry flat to get the kinks out (I’ve written about why you don’t want to knit with kinky yarn and what you do about it on the lots and lots and lots of times before).

So when I knit my next swatch for this hat, the one that will determine gauge, that one will get blocked. Meaning, when I rip it out, I’ll need to soak and dekink that yarn before I reuse the yarn. But these are already ripped out and wound back up onto their balls. And swatching totally doesn’t waste yarn.

Matching, take five

Yarn and pattern matching, take five!

I think we have our winner. This has the scale I want, it has the stitch definition I want. It has the color vibe I want. I think we’re golden.

Now, that doesn’t mean I’m done swatching (there’s at least one more to come where I work out some gauge questions and a few more last minute options). But it is the end of the ‘which yarn do I like best’ swatching.

You can see I started to make some of the changes I talked about last time (fitting the ribbing to the faux cable a bit better, looking at some options for what comes between the cabled bits to see what I like best). And I think I know what I want to do.

But before I cast on, I need to do one more really good swatch (meaning a swatch with the needles I want to use, in the round, with the stitch modifications I want to use) to double check sizing. Because this swatch had too many experiments and variations to be reliable for that.

But we’re almost almost almost done with swatching (probably only one more to go), and soon we’ll be on to the actual knitting.

(Once again, if you’re wondering what’s going on, swing back through the recent posts showing swatches like this to follow along.)

Matching, take four

Yarn and pattern matching, take four!

This is one of the yarns that came in over the weekend. And so far it’s very promising. The ribs are much closer to the scale I want for the hat. This is absolutely the scale of yarn I’m going for.

But, I have noticed that the rib starts out a bit winder than it looks when the faux cable business gets going, so I need to handle that. And I’m starting to feel like I want a narrower purl rib, so I need to tweak that.

Plus I want to see how the other yarn I got to experiment with works out, so there’s still more swatching to come. But we’re getting awfully close.

Once again, this is an absolutely normal, totally usual amount of swatching/yarn swapping/experimenting to happen in the process of matching a pattern idea to a yarn. This is for not weird or excessive, this is just what the start of a design process is like (at least for me).

More tomorrow!

(Cough, if you’re wondering what the heck is going on, scroll back through the other recent posts showing swatches like this for more info. This is my polite way of saying if the info is in those posts, I’m totally counting on your ability to look back and read it there!)⁠