Swatch This…

This week I didn’t cast off and complete anything, and I was feeling sad and unaccomlished.

Then I started compiling my projects for the post this week, and holy crap!…I got A LOT done this week, including a whole design process. Yup, I designed something.

No, it’s not knit yet, but I have plan and it’s purty darn cool, if I do say so meself. As a bonus, most of a design for something completely different magically appeared during the first design, but I’ll get into that shortly in the exciting new project category: In Contemplation.

There’s a theory out there that knitters fall into one of two camps – process knitters or product knitters. I’ve never been able to decide to which camp I belong.  Maybe what I need is a Cosmo-style “What Kind of Knitter are You?” test. Where’s one of those in-your-face facebook tests when you need it? Huh, where!?

On the one hand, I choose to knit things because I reallyreallyreally want to wear/use/gift the finished item, otherwise, why would I be knitting it? So, that makes me a product knitter, right? Not exactly, becaaaaaaause…

On the other hand, I also bliss out when I’m challenged by new techniques, so sometimes I’ll just knit a swatch or two of this or that or two-color brioche or mosaic whatever, and doing that fills me with happy and inspiration. So that makes me a process knitter, yes?

Yeah, I don’t know either. Maybe I’m a prodess knitter (Prod(uct)+(proc)ess) – I love all aspects of knitting equally and can’t/won’t play favorites.

Here was my “prodess” for this week:

In Contemplation:
Last week, I teased you with a shot of these two fingering yarns that were earmarked for a cowl design.

The almost glowiness of the multicolored yarn made me think of stained glass, so I went on the hunt for a slip stitch color pattern that would showcase the multi with a frame or outline of the tonal purple.

I also wanted to border the main body color work section with the tonal purple, so I needed to find a stitch that would echo the shape or feel of the color work section.

Here is swatch one:

The border stitch is made up of little round clusters, but as you can see, they sort of just smush together and there’s not much stitch definition in the dark, tonal purple. The color work is a complex honeycomb-type stitch done with short rows. It was okay, but poofy circles of color weren’t really turning my crank.

Now swatch two:

This time I simplified the border to a garter and slip stitch combo. Much happier with the definition and body provided by the garter stitch. The color work section is a slip stitch basket weave. Sadly, the tonal purple is all blendy blenderson into the multi, so the pattern is completely lost. Boo. I really liked the pattern, though, so now I was on a mission to find a new solid color that would contrast better with the multi.

Hence, swatch three:

Stained glass is what I was going for and what is stained glass outlined with? Black, of course! Now, I was cooking with gas. This was definitely the effect I was going for. It’s going to work, but…I have a lot of that black bamboo fingering, and I really don’t want to waste an inch of that multi and I won’t use it all in the type of cowl shape I like, soooooo…This swatch is now the beginning of cardigan pattern. Something along the lines of this:

This is only a very rough idea, because my drawing skills are weaker than a kitten with the flu. But you get the gist.

Now, after that little diversion, back to the cowl design. I like the stitches I landed on, but I decided to make two changes: yarn weight and color.

After mucking about in my stash for a while, I settled on a combo that were frogged from a failed double-knit hat (it looked good, but I was never going to wear it).

Yeah, yeah, I know you want to see the failed hat, so here it is:

Like I said, It looked pretty good, but it wasn’t going to be wearable for a number of reasons (don’t argue, it’s true). But the yarns are nice and contrasty, yes?





So, without giving too much away, here’s a preview of the future cowl:



Stay tuned!

Now, back to our previously scheduled programming…




Cast on:

With all that swatching and contemplation, you wouldn’t have thought I’d actually cast on new projects, but you’d be wrong !

In my search for the perfect small hand-crafted xmas gift, I cam across this Snowball Ornament Knitting Kit from Craftsy. Frustratingly, the clear plastic ornament doesn’t come with the kit, so I spent a small fortune buying up a box of 36 of them on Amazon, anticipating that I would knit up a zillion of these to hand out willy-nilly this xmas season. I may have jumped the gun. This is neither a quick nor easy knitting project. The lace pattern is complex and fiddly, and working with mohair is tedious. I’ve gone as far as I can with my ersatz clover-leaf magic loop technique. Now I’m waiting on some double-points I ordered, so I can finish the top half of the knitting, which is done with the ball in place. Yeah. Crazy, right?

By the way, the yarn above is not the Kidsilk Haze that comes with the kit. I had this Bergere de France mohair on hand and thought I’d give it a go. I think the kidsilk will be nicer, i.e. Lighter, finer, shinier. Hopefully the needles will show up in my mailbox and I’ll have a finished sample next week.


Now, for something REALLY quick and impressive (at least so far):

I started this knitted basket this afternoon – mere hours ago. Not bad, eh? This is Cascade Magnum super bulky wool that I got on a super sale on Craftsy a couple years ago. I’ve been using it to demo arm knitting, but when I saw this Triplet Baskets pattern, I thought it would be perfect. It’s working up duper quickly (obviously), but not without a cost…the reccommended needle size for this yarn is 10-12mm…I’m knitting with a 6.5mm. The fabric is nice and super dense for good structure, but it requires a fair bit of hand and muscle power to knit this tight. I might try the next one on an 8mm and see what happens – if only to save my strength for all the other xmas knitting. But never mind…the result is totes worth it. Bet I have a nice nested stack for you by next week – whoo hoo!

Cast off:

Not. One. Thing.


The Mason’s Hat is coming along nicely, although it has turned out to be another un-quick project – it’s all ribbed…even the cabled crown. Lotsandlotsandlots of stitches. Ribbed cables are wicked cool, though – double-sided deliciousness. And the Alison Pullover is a few inches longer, working its way towards the bust increase section. Row by row by row…

I had also planned to talk about my shopping trip to Valley Yarn (my fav LYS) yesterday, but that’s a whole other post in itself. The results of that trip will appear over the next several posts, as bags o’ yarn I left with become adorable knitted things.

How’s your gift knitting coming? Leave a comment, and let me know 🙂

See you in week!


1 thought on “Swatch This…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *