I’m not a big fan of swatching. This statement should really not be a big surprise to anyone. I have gotten pretty good at winging it on patterns and haven’t had too much of a sizing issue (read as: I’ve gotten pretty lucky and have not yet come to fully regret not doing a proper swatch). But it’s pretty impossible to skip the gauge swatch when you are starting from scratch. And since I’ve started working on my own designs, my little pile of swatches has increased greatly (my prior two swatches aren’t quite so lonely anymore). I have taken to keeping my little swatches in a little tin on my knitting shelf. Every time I toss a new one in, I peek in at the old ones just to make sure they aren’t getting into too much mischief without me. I am actually kind of enjoying watching these little squares multiply.
With my own designs there really is no way for me to cheat. Without the swatch, I can’t even do the simple math to get me to my cast on number. The gauge swatch has become part of the actual process of knitting a project for me, making them much more exciting to complete. Although I have to admit that my swatch-phobia is not completely cured because still really hate waiting for them to dry. I’ve been known to sneak in a damp measurement or two, just to get the ball rolling so I know what ballpark the gauge is falling into. Don’t fret, though, I remeasure to make sure the math checks out when the swatch is dry.
This week I’ve started on a new sweater design from a swatch I’m rather enamored with. I had originally purchased this yarn for another design that crashed and burned. It was just sitting in my knitting basket looking rather sad. But I could not come up with a design that I felt was worthy of it. It’s slightly variegated, and I wanted something that would take advantage of the modest color change. Something that would show it off and not be overwhelmed by it. But my brain was just not cooperating and I was actually stressing out about it way more than should be allowed.
And once I stopped fretting about it, I came across smocking stitch, which just seemed so perfect. And it really is. And it’s fun to knit, too. I’m pretty excited about watching this design work up.