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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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.

  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.

  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. :)

  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!

  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.

    • 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.

  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.

  7. I’m excited for that vest!!! I’m listening to the Woolful with Hole and sons and seeing you knit their yarn is so inspiring!!

  8. 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?

    • 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?

      • 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!

  9. 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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