Friday, November 4, 2011

Couldn't keep from swatching any longer

I know I was supposed to be working on grading my sweater pattern today, but the yarn was just sitting there, taunting me. Couldn't resist knitting it up any longer, so I decided to jump ahead to swatching.  When I'm working on a new pattern, I swatch, and swatch, and then usually swatch some more.  I've come to discover that I learn more from swatching than just about any other aspect of the pattern development process.  Better to learn in a swatch than when sewing the shoulder seams together.  Just saying.....Ask me how I know.

Here are some of the swatches for the sweater.  I swatched the ribbing on size 9 US needles and I like the results.  Not happy that my swatch is so small (about 5" across), but I think I'll let it go for now.  All swatches lie some, but small swatches are deviously deceptive. 

I swatched the stockinette section next (note the size of this swatch in comparison...fool me once, maybe, but not twice)  with size US 10 needles.  I like it, but kinda think a little more drape might be better, so next I'm going up to a size 10.5 to see how that feels.  I also test out the decrease and increase methods on one edge of the swatch. 

After knitting - I wash, dry and block each swatch in the same manner that I will treat the finished garment.  Wish I had figured this out years's another way those swatches tell tall tales.  Gauge often changes (ALOT) after washing and blocking.

And I'm using the term "wash" loosely here - I soak in warm water with a wool wash solution, squeeze out the excess water gently by rolling in a towel.  Then the swatch is smoothed out to shape and left to dry.  I decided not to pin this swatch out, because this will be a loose fitting sweater, and I doubt seriously that I'll do any shaping to the final sweater other than lay it flat and smooth it out to dry.

Things I learned or decided during swatching that I'll need to construct the sweater:
  • Gauge and needle size I need to get that gauge
  • Cuff ribbing will be 1x1 plain, not twisted
  • The sweater instructions will be to work the top/sleeve piece flat instead of in the round.  I think this will be easier for more people.
  • The top/sleeve will be worked in two pieces so the ribbed cuffs will both start with a cast on - and the direction of knitting will be the same on both pieces (towards the neck).  And both sides of the front shoulder line will be made with decreases.  If this piece were to be knit in one piece, one sleeve would have cast on ribbing and decreases along the shoulder line, and the other sleeve would need increases on the shoulder line and the cuff would end with a bind off.  Those are just too many differences for my comfort level, so this pattern will have two nearly identical sleeve pieces knit and joined in the center - so I'll need to modify my schematic.
Back to the drafting tomorrow.

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