Helllooooooo! I'm back, and it is Wednesday. That means WIPs.

Where are your swatches?
I have been away from writing here for so long that it has been hard to figure out where to pick up. I must give a shout out to a nice woman who greeted me at Stitch House Sunday. I didn't know her and was so surprised that she knew me, she told me she reads the blog and when did I think I would get back to writing again? Well, friend, I owe you for the nudge. It has pushed me into the pool and I am going to start with what I am up to today. The stuff I have not shared will follow, but in bite size entries. I know I can ramble, on and on and on.... so I will return in increments!

Swatch Like You Mean It!
A seven week online class being offered by Mel of Single Handed Knits.

This swatch started on size 8 then jumped a needle size until I liked the drape.
I don't swatch as much as I should. I don't read my swatches well and often the correct gauge is elusive. I don't save my swatches, as evidenced above, God only knows how these have survived!

My typical swatching routine goes like this. Knit a four inch square in the recommended stitch pattern. Cast off (but don't cut yarn). Measure again, count stitches (count rows but those are ALWAYS off). Get gauge? Rip out swatch, cast on and knit away!

This practice may explain why I don't really make many sweaters! I have made about ten; I finished them and wear them but they are like the rudimentary examples of my knitting. I always find fault with them and threaten to frog and begin again. Not very time effective, eh?

So how did I end up in this class? First, I met Mel at the Knitting Pipeline Maine Retreat in November and I admired her so much. I love to try and imagine how her designing brain works and I absolutely love her philosophy on life. When our mutual friend, Juniper Grace mentioned the class on her new podcast, I knew I wanted in. I knew being in class with some of the knitters I have met would be great fun and I need to get this swatching thing to work FOR me and not against me!

So, I don't want to share too much, but I do want to make you envious enough to enroll in the next session Mel offers so that you can become a swatching guru, just like me. (Fingers crossed!!)

First thing we were asked to do is to choose three yarns from stash. Then we were told to knit three swatches using the exact same needle. I chose to treat myself to the new KnitPicks teal wooden straights, size six. The yarns I used have been mellowing in stash for some time. Here's what has happened!
Swatch one
This is Bristol Gallery Yarns, Ashton. The yarn is DK weight and is a blend of 50/40/10 alpaca/merino/silk. I got a great deal on a sweaters quantity on eBay a while ago and I have not had the courage to make a sweater until I figure sizing and gauge.  My takeaways on this swatch, the yarn is so soft and supple. The stitch definition is beautiful and the garter stitch is my favorite of the three I tried.
Swatch two
This Kerry Woolen Aran weight is from Ireland, I got three large skeins  in a swap with another Raveller. The fiber is a rustic ten ply, 100 % wool. The swatch curled up quite a bit but perhaps with a good soak it would lie flat. The feel is a bit scratchy but the stitches show up nicely. I hope to someday make a guernsey style sweater with this wool.

Swatch three
This yarn is Blue Heron Rayon/Cotton Seed, worsted weight. I have three large skeins of it, given as a payment for some knitting I did for a friend. The fiber is 68% rayon and 32% cotton. It has a pronounced nub that makes unraveling a challenge.

I had used it to make Tink's Lab Coat about four years ago. I unraveled it because it just seemed too homemade looking. I want to use it and make another style sweater. I knit it in garter stitch and I think doing a stitch count will be extremely difficult. The drape is nice and the swatch is a tighter gauge than the original project.

I need to go into my next lesson and see what to do with these. I hope my discoveries will be a start on the path to more proficient and efficient knitting.

I am working on too many other WIPs, I will save sharing them until next time.
If you are at all curious what other knitters are up to, visit Tami's Amis WIP Wednesday page.


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