Swatching madness

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You all know I like to talk a lot about swatching. This post may make some of you twitch. But bear with me through this one, and then the future post about my Folded Pullover will maybe help to sell you a bit on extensive swatching to get the right gauge.

Amy Christoffers’ newest pattern, Stonecutters Cardigan, is super awesome, and Amy and I were going back and forth about finding the perfect yarn for it. The pattern calls for Berroco Blackstone Tweed, which is a lovely yarn, but I try to find a different yarn for most patterns for a variety of reasons. Since this pattern is heavily cabled, I decided to try out a few different yarns.

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That’s right, I swatched four times for one sweater. Four different yarns. All on size 7 needles, all using the same three cable patterns (one of them getting messed up in a bit because I momentarily forgot how to count).

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Swatching can be a Goldilocks-esque tale. This swatch, in Cascade 220, came out too small, which would have required a lot of math on my part that I wasn’t willing to do.

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This swatch, in the called for Blackstone Tweed, was also a little too light, coming in at one stitch more than the suggested gauge.

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I also used this as an opportunity to try out a new-to-me yarn, Briggs and Little Heritage, and I didn’t measure the gauge on this swatch because I felt that the yarn was just a little to rustic for my tastes, and didn’t come in colors I immediately loved. It’s a nice crunchy wool, but not what I wanted.

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Finally I tested out this pattern in Tahki Tara Tweed, and my stitch gauge was absolutely right. My row gauge was a little bit off, but Amy assures me this is not as important as the row gauge and easily compensated.

So I ordered the yarn from WEBS last week, and I’m still waiting for them to ship it, but I’m really excited to get cracking on this awesome cardigan, especially since my Folded pullover ended up a bit disastrous. More on that later.

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19 thoughts on “Swatching madness

    • Aren’t they all pretty? The Tahki and Berroco yarns were almost the exact same, I was terrified of mixing them up!

  1. 1. Stonecutters is definitely in my queue.
    2. I’m itching to start swatching for it even though I have like 10 things on the needles. I’m not blaming you. But…
    3. omg your swatches are gorgeous and I WANT TO CAST ON NOW.
    4. Tell me more about Briggs and Little? I’ve just fount it looks really yummy and tweedy. Is it itchy? I get the feeling it is from the look and what your wrote but I’m interested in hearing more.
    5. I can’t wait to see more!
    6. Sorry for the psychopathic list. It’s been a hard day. This helped.

    • 1–3 How about you hold off (if you haven’t cast on already) until I get back from vacation and we can KAL?
      4 It’s nice. A little scratchier to knit with than the others, but they’re using a softer wool and other fibers as well (Berroco has cashmere and nylon, Tara just has added nylon… I think). If you want, I can send you the rest of my ball so you can play with it yourself.
      6 I love lists.

    • It just arrived today, right before I go on vacation! I’m kind of confused, I feel like they used to ship things out much quicker than this—it was at least a week before I got the shipping notice.

  2. oh my goodness! This is craziness to the girl who never swatches for anything. All the swatches look delicious, though the Cascade is my favorite. Can’t wait to see the sweater progress!

    • The Cascade is pretty, but I really think I’ll love it in the deep blue Tara! You should check out tomorrow’s blog post, as I’ll talk about the pitfalls of not swatching. 😉

    • Yep, same color, so that if I have to scrounge for more yarn, I’ve got the swatch and the remainder of the ball around (I don’t expect to run out of yarn, I just try to plan for these things).

  3. I love the Stonecutters Cardigan too! I have some yarn I want to use for it but I haven’t gotten as far as swatching yet. The last few sweaters I have made I swatched in multiple yarns and I feel that I got a much better result.

    • I’ve never swatched in multiple yarns before—usually I have the bad habit of buying lots of yarn first and then trying to figure out what to make with it—but I think I may go this route in the future, it was really helpful to see how different they all turned out! What yarn were you thinking of using?

  4. Pingback: November: Ready or not, here I come | Threadpanda

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