Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Lies, Damned Lies and Swatches

There is a saying that there are lies, damned lies and statistics....in the knitters world that can be translated into there are Lies, Damned Lies and Swatches!

Everyone who is anyone in the knitting world will tell you, swatch before starting a project.  Patterns used to say "Take time to swatch for gauge to save time..." implying that knitting and ripping takes time.  Which it does.  Time that could be spent enjoying your finished object, or planning the next one.

The thing they don't tell you is that three out of four swatches are lying dogs! (I tell new knitters to swatch four times, and take their best guess at which of the four very different, yet somehow identical swatches is telling the truth!)

Take, for example, my swatches for my ColourMart Spring Contest Shawl Design.  I knit several swatches before settling on how I wanted things to line up, then charted and re-charted a few times before picking up the needles on the Spring Equinox to start the project.  Based on the gauge in those swatches once they were washed and blocked I should be looking at a shawl that is just about the perfect dimensions for either myself or TDQ.  (We're short, but we like to have a decent size shawl to wrap up in! No nasty point to our...uhmmmm....behinds! Although maybe we need to point them out in case people think we don't have any!)



Based on where I am in my charts, and how many more rows are going into this piece added to not being able to stretch her out at all on my needles, I am pretty sure that every single one of those swatches lied to me.  They all, obviously, wanted to be petite little things and not the giants that they should have been! 

I think I may be making a stadium blanket for four!

Which is actually fine.  I like big shawls I can wrap myself up in.

Monday I was at loose ends for something to drag along with me for "on the road" and "waiting" knitting.  Usually my go to thing would be to grab some US size 1 needles and a ball of sock yarn and knit one of the kids a pair of socks, but truth be told, I have knit something on the order of 10 pairs of socks already this year between test knits and designing knits.  I needed a break from socks!  (It will be a short lived break, I have been charting like crazy!!!)

But....there is this yarn that was sent to me for Christmas by a non-knitter and the rule here is that if you don't knit and give me yarn you get it back when I have knit it into something pretty.  So rather than grab a ball of sock yarn, I grabbed some of it and some appropriate sized needles to swatch for something pretty.

I had in mind a crescent shaped scarf thing with some cables and a touch of lace.  So I cast on and started doing a little playing around with cable patterns.

The yarn said....No.

Ok, change that then, maybe a different cable?

The yarn said....No.

How's about some garter stitch with just a narrow lace edge?

The yarn said....No, but a little more quietly.

Thinking I had it pegged, I tried some garter stitch with a deeper lace edge, to which the yarn all but whimpered in dismay when it said No once again.

Yet another swatch is on the needles for that yarn.  At this rate I will use it all up swatching before it finally convinces me what it wants to be!  In the meantime, come Saturday I will again be at loose ends looking for some traveling knitting.

Maybe I will just cast on a nice pair of socks!

~M

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