Swatch debates

Swatch debates

Going back to my to-knit list from January, my Bellows is done. (Photos as soon as I can get them, but for now let me tell you I haven’t taken it off since the minute I attached the buttons on Sunday afternoon, and don’t foresee taking it off until April.) The idea of knitting a Uniform cardigan out of the army-green Shibui Merino Alpaca in my stash has been rethunk, and Channel is tabled for fall — I’m thinking it’ll be my Rhinebeck sweater, so I better not put it off too long. And meanwhile, along came the idea of the vest. So I’m swatching. And debating.

Up top is the Spiral-Spun Waistcoat from last week, and my Hole & Sons Wool swatch for it. I never would have thought to knit this DK-weight yarn on 5.5mm needles, but it totally works, and I’m getting gauge for the pattern. I’m just not 100% convinced about the garter rib. I knitted that little bit of stockinette at the top of the swatch and am so tempted to keep it that simple, but I think I might hate myself. Plus there’s already a lot of stockinette on my horizon. But do I love the look of it? I like it better in the sketch I did of the sweater, where it’s as baggy as this garment would be on me, but maybe I’d like it best if the garter rib was 1×1 instead of 2×2. Might have to swatch that before I cast on.

And the change in the army-green Uniform plan is to knit it in Knightsbridge instead of the Merino Alpaca. This is to replace a pair of J.Crew cashmere cardigans I had to let go of before we left California — one grey, one blue, both worn to shreds — and I want it to be as light and thin and soft as they were, without knitting a fingering-weight sweater. This Knightsbridge swatch is perfect. I’m thinking of doing the button bands and pocket edging in garter but ribbing the waistband and cuffs, so I’m debating between the 1×1 and 2×2 ribbing. The bigger debate, though, is whether it makes sense to cast this on right now. The only spring/summer sweater in my closet is a thin grey cotton cardigan in the same style (seen here), which I’m utterly dependent on for trade shows and such but which is not especially nice-looking. It might be better to knit a near-term Uniform out of a magnificent cotton-linen blend or something. So if you have any brilliant suggestions in that realm, I’d love to hear it!

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PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: Reorganizing my to-knit list

30 thoughts on “Swatch debates

  1. I think you are right to make a summer sweater. The world is full of air conditioned buildings on full blast. I have a white linen and a dark grey linen cardigan that get a lot of wear. The uniform pattern would be perfect.
    I can’t wait to see your Bellows. I’m still plugging away on mine and worried that it will look too big on my frame.

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  2. Cast away! I just cast on a CustomFit Version of Lori Versaci’s Pour Moi in a Plucky fingering as a thin light sweater for Spring. And I am still working hard on a Worsted Boxy for Winter (nearing in on seaming and sleeves so I’m close). Go ahead and enjoy the fun of new yarn on the needles.

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  3. a thought about the vest ribbing: how about 2K x 1 garter rib? maybe it would be more supple. I understand the temptation for the stockinette though, especially in that beautiful wool! thank you for sharing your process. :)

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  4. Have you thought of the Fibre Company Savannah for one of your choices…I think it’s heavy~ish, but make of soy and linen and such. I love the rustic feel but it may be too much yarn/weight and rustic for any of your queue!

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  5. I just grabbed a sweater’s worth of Knightsbridge in Goldfirth at my LYS at 30% off (unexpected, but NECESSARY, purchase). I had planned to cast on a Uniform cardi in Shelter after I seam my EPIC Exeter cardigan knit in Shelter this weekend (so eager for some stockinette after so much cabling, plus no need for a gauge swatch since my current project is spot-on for the Uniform pattern). But, now that I have Knightsbridge, I’m so torn. It’s so soft, and after working with Shelter for 2 months, it might be a nice change. I am thinking about the Phillippa cardigan in Kelbourne Woolens’ Knightsbridge collection, but Uniform is SO GOOD. Do I knit a Knightsbridge Uniform now in anticipation of the fact that I’ll want two uniforms in my closet down the road? Too many decisions.

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    • I have bought exactly the same wool and colour and cannot decide which pattern to case on for as I also like Trillium. How is yours knitting up so far? I have nearly finished Uniform in another yarn and think I need a change of pattern.

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  6. I strand linen with different blends of lace weight. It keeps the stitches neat and helps it hold it’s shape, without making it too heavy. Some combos: Shibui linen with Cima (one of my Slanteds), Classic Elite Firefly with C.E. Silky Alpaca lace (Summer Solstice). Right now, I’m stranding a light, merino cashmere fingering with Habu bamboo (Linney Hybrid), and really loving the (DK weight) fabric it is making. I have found that the mixes look and wear better than my all-linen sweaters. The only exception is my doubled Sparrow Casco, which is holding it’s shape nicely. But it is a short, spare cardi which helps.

    Another gorgeous, light yarn is Shibui Pebble. You can double it (damn pricey) or strand it with something. Wonderful stuff. And I didn’t know about Twig. Looks like another Shibui beauty.

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  7. I would totally do a KAL with you if you did the Vest with the Hole&Sons! Your swatch is drool worthy :) I totally get your draw towards the st st, maybe you could incorporate both? Do the garter rib as a hem, and the rest in st st?

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    • Oh, I’m definitely doing it! Just trying to decide about the stitch pattern. But I’m using the pattern numbers and gauge regardless.

      Garter rib for the edging is another excellent thought, but I really like Annri’s suggestion above to cut down on the garter columns. She suggested 2×1 but I’m thinking of trying 3×1 and seeing how that looks. Planning to cast on a front piece late tonight, work the ribbing, then knit a few inches that way (for a bigger swatch, basically) and see what I think.

      Which way are you thinking of doing it, as written?

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      • I think I would take bits and pieces from the pattern that I like – the Garter rib hem, stockinette stitch body, and mayne add some st st patch pockets with the garter ridge trim at the top.
        I love the idea of being able to turn something so menswear into something just a smidge more feminine. Though, I’m going to have to wait until more Hole&Son’s is available – looks like Spring 2015 will have the next batch!

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  8. I knit my first sweater out of Lanaknits Hempwol – a 65% wool, 35% hemp fiber. I know it’s not a cotton/linen blend, but I find it’s light enough to get away with in the summer, yet still warm for the transition seasons…. The more I wear it, the more I love it too, it has great drape and has been holding up really well. Just a thought!

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