Wednesday, April 27, 2016
I’ll admit that I don’t love swatching for gauge…but I do love to swatch when playing with new yarn, stitch patterns, or color combinations. Especially when I get to work with really delicious yarn! This past week I have been doing some swatching with the vibrant colors of Candy Skein yarns.
I worked with two of her yarns – Sweet Fingering (50% Merino Superwash / 50% Silk) and Yummy Fingering (75% Merino Superwash / 25% Nylon). The rainbow of vibrant colors was really hard to choose from! So many amazing color combinations! I love the shine that silk gives, but I also really enjoy working with just about any merino blend! The way that merino takes dye is just brilliant!
When I am testing out new ideas, I don’t really have much of a plan in place. I hold balls of yarn up next to each other and see how I like them and sometimes I start to swatch with them and I just don’t like the way they look together, so I rip out and try a different combination. I also don’t really have an idea of what stitch patterns I want to use. Sometimes I refer to a stitch guide (my favorites are the Harmony Guides), but they are generally just used to get the creative juices flowing.
Once I have a color combination that I like, I mess around with the pattern. I use a lot of slipped stitches techniques because I don’t really love to do actual colorwork. I know that’s kind of sad to admit, but it’s the truth! Colorwork definitely has it’s place in my world of knitting, but it’s usually a tiny closet that I rarely go into!
When I’m swatching for a client, I keep track of what needles, colors, and stitch patterns I used. I have a little notebook where I write everything down and attempt to keep things organized. I make two swatches – a small one for the client (which is then stapled to an index card and labeled with swatch number and stitch pattern name) and then I make a larger one for myself. I also label the back of my own swatches so that I can easily reference a swatch when speaking to my client. I then have a large enough swatch that has been blocked and is ready to go when the order comes in. I can quickly take my gauge and begin the project.
Very few things make me happier than working with vibrant colors and really well dyed yarn. I have a feeling I’m going to get some pretty awesome orders for the summer and will get to work with Candy Skein for the next few months – which makes me VERY happy! It is going to be a vibrant summer of knitting indeed!