Saturday, January 26, 2008

Swatching, swatching, swatching

I haven't posted all week because I was knitting things that didn't inspire me at all. I am signed up for two of Jean Wong's classes at the Madrona Fiber Arts Retreat. I had to do my homework for the classes - which consisted of lots of swatches. But not the kind of swatches I like to do. The swatch for the first class, Tailored Knitting the Japanese Way, IS my kind of swatch. I usually swatch in a couple of needle sizes, and I did so here. However, I ripped out the one I didn't like. The yardage in each ball of this yarn is so small that I used up one entire ball in my swatching. So I ripped out the entire swatch and re-knit it in the gauge I liked. The yarn is Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran in a color called Casket. A lovely color but its relationship with a casket is beyond me. The ball band gauge is rather loose and the ball band recommended US size 8 (5 mm) needles. I started with a size 7 (4.5 mm) but the fabric was too stiff. My usual method is to do a swatch in one needle size, then a few rows of garter st, change sizes and continue to do another swatch. This way I can compare the two fabrics. In this case, I went up to an 8, and I liked the fabric even though it was tighter than the ball band gauge. I am getting 4.8 spi here. I got 5 spi with the size 7 which was way too stiff. I think the ball band recommended 4.5 spi. Anyway, I ripped out the swatch, did one in the size 8, washed and dried it, and here it is above.The rest of the swatches were for Fine Finishing Techniques the Japanese Way. There are 11 swatches in all for this class, mostly in various ribs but a few in stockinette. There's 10 of them in the photo above. nine are on the circular needle, and one is sitting down by itself on a st holder in the bottom left. Swatches ten (above bottom left) and eleven are in the round. Each swatch is labeled with its number and needle size (something I have started doing for all my swatches) so I can find it in class when the time comes. These are done in leftover Encore. Last, but not least, the two little circular swatches sitting by themselves on stitch holders. They look cute.

Now I am on to more fun swatching. I am working on a design out of the Lisl Fanderl stitch dictionaries. I spent quite a bit of time redoing the pattern chart in various ways before finally deciding that Interweave Knits, which does a variation of the way these charts are traditionally drawn, was right and followed their example. I tried the usual way that twisted sts are drawn in charts (like Eunny Jang's charts in her blog) and found it way too confusing for the complex pattern I was charting. Here's what I finally ended up with and I think this is readable for me. The little 'b's are twisted sts and the red lines indicate the direction they are traveling in. The '-' are purl sts and the plain squares are regular knit sts. I spent a lot of time last weekend working on charting this in various ways, another reason I didn't have a lot of knitting to share with you.

1 comment:

Ann said...

You are going to be at Madrona? Perhaps we can meet up. I was the one that gave you your original gmail invite, way back when.