crafts · knitting · patterns · yarn

All I do is swatch

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.