The answer to the question “Do you swatch before you knit?” is, for myself, yes and no. I will sometimes swatch for a sweater for gauge. I will also swatch for a project if the yarn is new to me and I want to get an idea of it’s properties. When I am working on design ideas though, knitting up samples of stitch patterns is essential. I want to get familiar with the pattern; see how it looks and feels with the yarn and needles I may be using; and to work out the chart.
I am a firm convert to knitting stitch patterns with charts. Written directions are fine for verifying a charts when there is part that is confusing. Knitting from them (written directions) though is an exercise in frustration for me. I always chart lace, cables, etc. before knitting a stitch pattern if it is not already done by someone else.
Here are a few interesting stitch patterns I am working with at the moment. I charted both of them first and then started knitting some samples. I worked up both stitch patterns in two different yarn bases. The red samples are in my Classic Merino Superwash Sport in Garnet. The fingering weight samples are in my Classic Merino Bamboo in Sea Oat. I used US 5 needles on the sport samples and US 3 for the fingering weight ones.
I took both of these pictures before I blocked them. I wanted to have a record of the texture because I planned to block them as for a shawl. My initial idea was to design an asymmetrical triangle using both of the elements. After working up all four of the samples I am not sure if that is still the plan. I like both but they might end up being used in two separate designs. I also can’t decide between the bases. It’s early in the process so anything goes at this point.
I mean, just look at the post blocking pictures! It’s hard to choose between the slightly chunky texture of the sport weight and the light, silky drape of the fingering weight Merino Bamboo. I will be moving on to the next phase of swatching with the shaping and see how that works. At the same time I can determine whether combining these two elements will be a good idea or not. I share those results in my next post.
I’ll leave you with a few photos of my new pizza stone and the pizzas we made for New Year’s Eve.