Friday, May 8, 2009

Crossing the line to the Swatch Side of the Force...

It has recently come to my attention (okay, yesterday) that promising myself that SOMETHING will get posted every day M-F, unless I'm unavoidably ill or on vacation, the latter of which will be announced in advance), I'm... actually getting something posted here every day, Monday through Friday. I'm quite proud of myself for this. And, what the heck, it gives all y'all something to read. On to today!!

So, I was getting ready to block my swatches Tuesday night, and I noticed that, for the most part, my stockinette swatch sucked. It had kinda lumpy rows of stitches on the front:

... which meant there were gutters on the back.

Having read a lot written by people doing the Master Levels, I know that Gutters Are A No-No. (So is having holes in your seed stitch, but I seemed to be OK there.) So, I reknit. This second try resulted in fewer gutters, but man, oh, man, were my first two rows loose. Really, really, horribly, badly, loose compared to the rest of the swatch.

Yeah, this one looks like it should have gutters...
but they're really evenly spaced on the back.
If the first two rows weren't so danged loose, I'd turn it in.

So, I frogged that one, and began to reknit a THIRD time. (I figure this is practice for the Masters. Getting everything passed on the first time is rare, and since there's a limited amount of pre-research I can do that I haven't already done, I'm not expecting that I'll be one of the lucky few.) Finally, third time, I managed a swatch with very little guttering. Trying to achieve perfectly smooth stockinette while knitting flat is *not* easy for me! I'm such a knit-in-the-round-whenever-possible sort of girl.

In between all that, I also started to knit up my Extra Credit swatch. It was the "Twisted Rib" (from p. 147 of the Barbara G. Walker Treasury #2), but I changed it up a wee bit, because knitting to a pattern doesn't seem to work well for me, unless it's Gryphon's socks (and even then, I tend to wing some bits). But it looked pretty in the book, and since I'm using the identical yarn and needles I did for it and my FINAL stockinette swatch, I could give both gauges in my directions. Made me feel very professional. Of course, I started thinking of an entire sweater done in this, with the twists staggered every two rows so there would be a "swirl" effect going up and around... until I looked at the second pattern repeat of the first attempt. There was just something WRONG with the first knitted stitch of each twisty-bit. (See photos of KarenK's twilled socks, here [Ravelry link]; that's how it's supposed to look.) It should be a pretty swatch, too, but... it just wasn't working!! By the end of lunch, I'd started that three times, too!!

So, I either had to find another cable to try, or give up on the Extra Credit idea. (Hint: I'm stubborn, and don't give up easily.) Thus, I cast on one more time at home, and FINALLY it worked!!

See, it is pretty! Hopefully, the pattern I write to go with it will make sense. After that, I tried Swatch #2 a final time, this time making sure my cast on was nice and even (and tight), and making sure my stitches were nice and even (and tight), which made this swatch a good bit smaller than the others - but there are NO gutters! It's a nice, even, rectangular swatch of perfection!! (Well, as close to perfection as I can get with my knitting without going mad.) Look!



After that, everything got carefully pinned out, sprayed, and left to dry. They should be dry by tonight, so I can write up my answers, my pattern, and otherwise get everything ready for mailing early next week. (I still have a few loose ends to weave in!) But the tricky part - that's done!

Six little swatches, all 28 stitches wide and 32 rows tall.
The stitch/pattern you use REALLY makes a difference in what your gauge is gonna be!!

Thus, I grudgingly admit: Swatching is important.

1 comment:

  1. So that's what my stockinette has...gutters! Rats.

    Your six swatches are a very convincing argument for swatching! Thanks a lot for posting about your experience with this masters work, it's very educational!

    I'm pulling for you!


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