design, sweaters

Swatch Divination and the Start of a New Sweater

LacySwatchThere are lots of ways to start a new knitting project.  Most folks probably start out with a pattern and then purchase yarn and needles necessary to complete their project.  This rational approach to knitting would take away the excitement and stress of not knowing what you’re going to get at the end of all your hard work.

My approach starts with the yarn.  There’s a considerable stash of yarn squirreled away in my home from impulse buying and online sales events (thank you Black Friday!)  Today, this pretty wool/silk blend in a light worsted weight from my stash is next on the needles.  After many different swatching attempts, I’ve settled on this gently swooping lace pattern.

LacyStartThe swatch is what I use to tell me what the yarn will become.  This yarn seems to tell me a light and airy cardigan with bell-shaped flowing sleeves.  And, maybe an afterthought pocket or two if there’s enough yardage…

I’ve cast on for my measurements choosing to knit back and forth.  I did consider knitting in the round and steeking but sometimes I don’t mind purling.  This is a bottom up approach like Olwen.  The sleeves will be knit in the round and joined to the body later.

Unfortunately, I managed to break another needle.  Leaving your knitting in the middle of the sofa isn’t the smartest thing to do.  This is the fourth harmony needle that’s bitten the dust this year from my carelessness.  Perhaps it’s time to move to metal needles that can handle the abuse.

25 thoughts on “Swatch Divination and the Start of a New Sweater”

  1. Looks super! I am addicted to starting things. Nothing ever ends up as I think when I start! I think this project you’re starting will be fab!

    Try some boye needles or Susan bates. I get mine from the US. You can choose the colours to go with your knitting project too!


  2. That is really pretty! I’m looking forward to the time when I can let the yarn dictate my knitting. Right now I’m still learning how everything works together. Your blog is inspiring me to branch out a little more though.


    1. Thanks! I think the best book I ever read that helped give me the courage to try out my own ideas was “Sweater Design in Plain English” by Maggie Righetti. I started out by modifying existing patterns and then one day took the plunge and tried out my own sweater design. Not everything that I try works out but knitting up my own ideas has kept knitting fresh and interesting for me.


  3. Very pretty. I have an aversion to swatching which I am learning that I am not alone in this. I have a heck of a time getting gauge so usually I just give up, knit and hope for the best. Cant wait to see your finished sweater.


    1. I can relate! When I first started knitting, I HATED swatching. I would just use the suggested needles and yarn and just hope for the best. After so many failed sweaters, I finally broke down and started swatching. It was a revelation!!

      I won’t pretend that swatching has solved all my knitting problems, but it has helped a lot. Now I sometimes just knit up swatches to see how a yarn looks in different patterns. But, I don’t ever wash and block a swatch unless I’m really serious about using it in a finished object. I really detest waiting until that darned square is dry to begin planning and knitting!!


    1. Thanks! Although, using patterns definitely makes knitting a less stressful process. lol. Have you ever used ravelry’s search where you plug in your yarn weight and yardage and see all the patterns available? I love that thing!


      1. Yes! I’ve figured out ways to use up many a sad stash item that way. Ravelry is, of course, one of the best sites on the internet. I think I spend more time looking at that than, say, the news. 🙂


    1. Thanks! And yes, it stinks when your needles break! I’ve ordered replacements in metal but I’m without a needle until they arrive… Size 2’s are tiny! But, you really do need the wood ones. I tried using metal dpns for socks but they slide out of the stitches. So, I moved to 2 circs for socks. Never did complete a sock on 4dpns.


    1. Thanks! 🙂 I’m hoping it turns out well. I’ve got the lower body done but of course I’m second-guessing my decision to go minimalist. A side slit or some shaping could have been nice…


  4. Lovely pattern! Your swatch divination didn’t foretell the breaking of your needles, but hopefully that is no bad omen 🙂 Can’t wait to see the end result. I’m sure it’s going to look absolutely gorgeous…somehow I’m feeling the vibe.


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