Vegetables, yarn, and yarns: all of my passions all in one place.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Swatch avoidance and the third mother bear

Almost every knitting guidebook in existence tells of the importance of the swatch, that it will save heartache, that it will ensure a good fit to that future sweater, etc. etc., but I'll tell you something: I hate swatching. Just hate it. I hate it to the point that I will avoid swatching until I no longer want to make whatever it was I needed the swatch for in the first place, which, of course, means that I no longer have to swatch anymore. See how that works?

Because the blanket I'm making is also a pattern I'm developing as I go, I figured I'd avoided the need for a swatch once again. However, this was not to be. You see, after completing the first corn-inspired square of the Maize and Blue Stained Glass Blanket, I knew that it was too squat. I tried to justify the okayness of its wide rectangularity, but alas, deep within, I knew it would never be okay. Sighing, I unpicked the cast-off and completed two and a half more repeats of the pattern, resulting in a squarish rectangle that seemed much more up to snuff.

Then, I picked up stitches on the right-hand side of the rectangle, one for each row I knit up and I started on in garter stitch. Soon, it became apparent that something was very wrong. The two square was much wider that the first square was long, and the stitched spilled over on both ends of the first square. Obviously, this many stitches was too many, and I realized, with chagrin, that I would have to swatch. Then, I frogged the second square and put the first square, along with yarn and needles, in its project bag and read a book instead.

This behavior continued for many days, until I knew i had to end the procrastination. I had promised this blanket's completion and complete it, I will. With determination, I took out the yarn and needles and swatched a wide, short swatch. The height of the stitches didn't matter, as I could just cast off when I had reached the length specified in my sketched blanket blueprint, but I made sure to make the swatch much larger than the 4 inches necessary to measure gage. As it turns out, according to the swatch, I need to pick up 7/10ths of the number of stitches I originally picked up. I have since made a plan for how to best place this picked up stitches and I will begin again this weekend, having quite learned my lesson though I'm sure it's a lesson I'll learn again soon enough.

In crochet news, I have completed my third mother bear. His legs are shortish, though not as short as Stubby's legs. I had a lot more fun with this little bear's facial expression than I had with the first two and I'm fairly in love with him. I've named him Mark, in memory of my good friend Jolynn's younger brother. I want to make at least a fourth bear before I send Mark and his two siblings off to the mother bear project homebase, but with all the work left to do on the blanket, I'm not sure it will happen. I might end up sending off these three and then taking a break on the bears until my brother has his blanket in hand. We'll see.

Also, happy belated Valentine's Day.

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