Swatches swatches every where, nor any patterns to knit…


This past week I spent five consecutive days knitting swatches. Yep, just swatches. No, I’m not insane and no I don’t particularly like swatching. What I dislike even more than swatching, though, is spending countless hours knitting a garment that will then sit in my closet unworn and lonely (ok, not really lonely since it would be keeping many other ill-fitting hand knits company)  So, I swatched. I thought I knew exactly what I was swatching for but, as it turns out, once I got the required gauge for the intended sweater I didn’t like the fabric. It felt flimsy and unsubstantial. I swatched again, and again and again… and finally I came up with a fabric I was really pleased with but was no longer appropriate for the sweater I thought I wanted to knit!

I had to find a new pattern but….. I have some criteria for my knitting patterns. First off, if I see a gazillion of them made up on Ravelry already I won’t make it. Not that I don’t like the popular stuff but I like to give other designers a shot so I will always start by looking at the things that have the fewest projects in Ravelry. What can I say? I like an underdog.

This blog is intended to be an ongoing KAL, (I know, I know, it’s not really a KAL if you’re just knitting by yourself but, I have lofty visions for the future)  so I try to pick things that are readily available to anyone that would like to join in the fun.

I like something that challenges me but not so much that I want to stick a knitting needle in my eye.

I like to use stash yarn when I can. In this case I’d already swatched and was really itching to use this yarn so I also had to consider the gauge, drape and body of the knitted fabric.

And I like to knit things that aren’t too old. Most knitting patterns seem to maintain their popularity for a while since it takes some time to make them but, nonetheless, the newer the better. ‘Cause I live on the cutting edge of knitting fashion, right?DSCN6466

Now the real problem starts:

I logged in to Ravelry and started searching for patterns that would work for my swatch. I looked at thousands! I bought a pattern then realized the stand-up collar would require more body than I could get out of this yarn.

I looked some more, I bought another pattern :a lovely lace wrap type sweater that was soooo beautiful and had the right gauge and ….. OMG the lace pattern combined with a cable pattern combined with the shaping….this one made me want to stick my needle into my inner ear and give my brain a good scratch before I’d even cast on!

Back to searching. I found another sweater by one of my favorite designers that I loved. I bought the pattern (that’s pattern number three, you understand) and swatched in the cable-y pattern and blocked my swatch and almost cried when it was just way too small. I tried bigger needles and did the whole thing over again and it was still too small and I hated the fabric and then….. I thought “forget this yarn I’ll use this awesome new pattern and a different yarn…..”

I swatched in the new yarn (also from my stash) and the swatch revealed I would need to use smaller needles this time. I swatched again and again it was too big. I gave up and went back to the original yarn and more searching. I searched endlessly starting with the Ravelry database, moving on to ads for patterns or knitting designers then blogs and webshops. I searched through my knitting pins on pinterest and looked at new tweets on twitter. My mind was overflowing with visions of knit wear but alas there was nothing for my poor swatch.DSCN6473

Then, on the brink of tears born of knitterly frustration I happened upon a link to “The Twist Collective”. What? I missed the latest issue of The twist collective? How did that happen. click

and there is was, not in the current issue (which is chock full of knitting goodness, BTW) but on the side under “you might also like…” there she was the perfect sweater. Perfect for my original yarn. Perfect for my original swatch, perfect for me!

I purchased pattern number four. I read through the pattern and to my bleary eyed delight I was sold. I packed up my swatches and needles and tools and went to bed and slept like a baby.

So this morning, at long last, I cast on for my first blogged-sweater. It’s now 5:15 pm and I’m still really excited to work on it, that’s a good sign.

I hope you will come back next week and see how I’m getting along. Or hey, you can KAL with me if you like!

I’m making Blair by Thayer Preece, published in The Twist Collective winter 2010. Yeah, I know, it’s not really “new” but it is perfect!

Pattern can be purchased here for $7 US.


  1. Love this post… I can totally relate. Sometimes, it seems that all I do for days is swatch while nothing works out and then suddenly the skies open up and inspiration strikes. I agree that it’s much better to swatch than to knit sweaters that don’t fit or aren’t wearable. There’s a whole ‘shelf of shame’ in my closet for sweaters that were knit without a swatch! 🙂 The pattern that you picked out is lovely. I’m looking forward to seeing what your version looks like.

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