“Swatch in time, swatch in time. Never need a reason. Never need a rhyme. Pick your needles up and swatch in time!” – based on the tune Step In Time from Mary Poppins
There are things I just assume everyone has experienced. Things like: fresh cheese curds, walking in corn fields, swimming in the ocean, drinking a Moxie, and watching Mary Poppins. That was, until one of my high school voice students told me that she and her mom had JUST watched Mary Poppins for the first time! This little bubble I live in suddenly burst; and I quickly realized that some mouths have never tasted the squeekiness of fresh cheese curds, some bodies have never felt the giganticness of a towering corn field, some lips have never accidentally sipped the saltiness of the sea, some taste buds have never enjoyed the sweet nectar that is Moxie, and some individuals have never been introduced to the most famous nanny Disney ever created. And then I wondered:
If my little bubble could be so foreign to so many people, than what’s out there that I’VE never experienced?! I can only imagine…
My mind of course turned to knitting and I think about all the things I’ve never knit, all the different fibers of yarn I’ve never used, and the techniques to which I’m completely oblivious. And then I was bitten by the creative bug. I think of myself as creative; one who likes the act of making something. Always the “do-er “. But I’m sooooooooo not creative, as in the type who has idea upon idea swarming through their brain. Not the “thinker”. Until now. My knitting bubble is bursting.
I have a hankering for designing a sweater. My busy brain; however, can hardly organize the thoughts. What kind of yarn? For me or the girls? Grey? Boat neck? Cardigan? Cables or pockets?
I decided to begin with the yarn. Swatching is not my favorite thing. In fact, I don’t know anyone who truly LOVES swatching. I’m often much too excited about starting the project that taking the time to swatch is like seeing an Oreo and glass of milk locked within a glass case. But this time I’m going to revel in my swatches. I’m going to swatch as many different yarns I can; hoping to find some great fibers, great colors; and I trust, the perfect sweater. Here’s my swatch game plan:
- In stockinette stitch, knit a sample piece at least 5 inches by 5 inches. The bigger the swatch, the more accurate the gauge count.
- Continue knitting a couple more samples of the same yarn (still connected to first swatch) with both a larger and smaller needle. This should give more insight into how the needle size changes the feel and structure of the yarn. This should help design knowledge.
- Wash and dry the swatch, either by hand or in the wash. I hope to use mostly superwash; yarns that can be machine washed. Once dry, this should be a pretty accurate gauge.
- Hang the swatch with a bit of weight attached to see how the yarn will react. Will likely help me to know if the sweater will stretch/hang too much.
- Label my swatch. Safety pin a little note that includes yarn name, fiber type, needle size and laundering care.
- Stack swatches in a neat little box for easy referencing.
Can’t wait to share my swatches! Do you have a favorite yarn? Is it great for sweaters? Hats? Socks? What needle size do you use?
Let’s get our swatch on!