Friday, September 12, 2008

Swatching. No, really.

I'm not a good little knitter. I don't regularly swatch for new projects. I'll sometimes check gauge on a big project, a few rows into knitting to make sure I'm about where I need to be. I've also only made one full garment (if a shrug even counts), so I'm certainly not an expert by any means. Taking this information, and my sadness over a couple of recent projects (neither of which I've actually finish, for fear of failure), I decided to start a new and swatch like crazy for an upcoming project, Cherry. I picked out four yarns, based on a ravelry review of other people's finished objects, and what I had in my stash. I'm now making a swatch with each of the yarns to determine which I would like to use. I must admit, I was inspired to swatch by Stitchywitch. I read her blog regularly, and thoroughly enjoy it. She recently displayed some of her new swatches, and it really made me think abut the success I want to achieve with my knitting. I expect a project to just come off the needles like magic, but I don't do as much planning on the front-end as I should to get the results I'm expecting. Without further ado, here are the swatches and my thoughts:

Swatch #1: Berroco Touche

This was one of the first yarns I purchased. I originally bought a few skeins at Hill Country Weavers in Austin, and then purchased additional skeins in the same dyelot from Webs, after realizing I couldn't do much with the amount I had. I've used this once before, as the sleeves and neckline of my Two-Toned Shrug. It has excellent stitch definition, but my gauge is a bit off with the suggested needle size.

Swatch #2: Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy

I just acquired this yarn from Supercrafty, and hadn't decided on a pattern when I purchased it. I wouldn't have considered this pattern in hemp, but after seeing Blumunchie's FO, I decided it was a possibility. After starting a swatch (I didn't finish), I've ruled it out. In comparison to swatch #1, I just don't like Hempathy for this pattern. The stitch definition is not as nice as the other swatches. I'll use it for something on smaller needles.

Swatch #3: RYC Cashsoft DK

I happened to have a swatch of this (in plain stockinette) that I worked a few weeks ago for another project on the same size needles. The gauge is dead-on.

Swatch #4: Knit Picks Shine Sport

I like this one as well. The gauge is similar to the Touche.

I decided to go with the Cashsoft DK. The gauge doesn't need tweaking, which is nice, and I should just a little more yarn than I need, which is good for my yarn stash!
I'm glad I did this exercise. I learned a bit more about gauge, and I recorded my gauge for each yarn on Ravelry, so next time I'm swatching, I'll have a bit more information!

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