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June 14, 2010

Swatching

Sometimes when I don't feel like paying close attention to detailed knitting and I don't have an easy project lying nearby (my gloves are lovely but certainly do require me to pay attention) I like to pick up some pretty yarn and swatch. Or I'll make a center-pull ball, which is a very zen activity once you get the hang of it. (I keep meaning to post a little picture tutorial on making a center pull ball but I need to recruit a friend to either model or take the pictures since I don't have four hands.)

Recently I picked up some Noro Kocharon from my stash and started making a center-pull ball. The good: this yarn is DELICIOUS, buttery soft and so silky. The bad: There was a knot midway through the skein attaching two completely different colors which makes me crazy. All three skeins have had a knot! It's annoying in a cheap yarn but downright irritating in an expensive yarn. There was no way to smooth out the colorways (usually if they're close enough and if there's enough wool content I'll try a felted join and it works fine.) This time I snipped out the knot and got one larger yarn ball and one smaller ball which I used for swatching:

kocharon-swatch1.jpg
(Oh, I put a full skein in the back there because I thought it was pretty.)

When I'm trying to decide which needle size works best sometimes I do a single long block of stockinette separated by ridges of garter stitch. The first block (in red) was knit on size 10.5 needles, then I did a block in size 10 and then the top block, still attached to the needles, is worked on a size 9 needle:

kocharon-swatch2.jpg

After I bind off, I'll safety pin a little note to the swatch reminding what needles I used and all that. I think I want to make a sweater out of this yarn, I love it, its so beautiful. I've been looking for a sweater that I could use with this yarn but I specifically wanted a certain style and I wanted the stripes to go vertically, not horizontally on the body, and then I found Imogen by Perl Grey. I already bought the pattern. I'm excited about making a whole sweater for myself! And I think these crazy colors will make a perfect cardigan for me. It's kind of exciting to work on your first adult sweater! If you call swatching working that is...

Posted by laurie at June 14, 2010 9:00 AM