Monday, March 30, 2009

Swatching for the Grey Office Cardi

Swatched last night and gave it a bath in the sink with a bit of wool wash (then washed a couple pair of socks - the blockers are full). This yarn relaxed almost a half stitch an inch in the wash. That's a VERY good thing to know. I don't always swatch for small projects (socks, hats, scarves) or for lace shawls/stoles (in a yarn/needle combo I've used before). But I do for sweaters and I wash the swatches, too.

The hand softened up a lot - from almost harsh to the nice 'crunchy soft' that I expect from merino wool yarns. Those two things tell me that there's quite a bit of spinning oil/chemicals left in the yarn. But it's not bad enough to make me consider skeining and washing the yarn before hand.

I'm getting a gauge of EXACTLY 8 stitches over 2 inches - perfect to my plan - on size 8 needle. And I like the hand of the washed swatch. It lays nice and flat, has good stitch definition. So far, so good.

I did two swatches in one here. On the right of the photo is Stocking Stitch with a garter stitch band. OK, but uninteresting. One the left is a alternating seed stitch with the 'cardigan band' ribbing from The Sweater Workshop.

There's JUST enough pattern to make a visually interesting surface. And it's based on a broken rib, so it will lay flat, and drape well. And because it alternates pattern (k1, p1 rib) and purl back, if you make the pattern rows be on the IN side, every outside row will be knit. I don't MIND purling, but I do knit faster than I purl.

rnd/row 1: K1, P1
rnd 2: K OR row 2: P
rnd/row 3: P1, K1
rnd 4: K OR row 4: P

I'm glad I went ahead and swatched the cardigan border. A six stitch border is 'standard' for the sweaters pictured in the book. I'm thinking that looks rather skimpy. I'm going to see if I can find buttons for this sweater before I cast on. I'm thinking I want some grey or black squarish buttons, very sleek and Art Deco-ish? The width of the buttons will really determine the necessary width of the button band. You knit this button band 'as you go', so it needs to be correct from the cast on.

Once I find the buttons, it's time for some MATH!

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