Wednesday, January 31, 2007

swatch til you're crosseyed

That's how I'm feeling right now.

It's too cold to go out if I can help it, so the last two days have been spent adding to the pile o' swatches. Funny how often something that looks good in your head, or even on paper, doesn't always work out right when translated into actual yarn. Well, there's something a little head-clearing about ripping out six inches of work. The pile would have been bigger if I hadn't done so much ripping.

The company I want to submit the design proposal to has specified yarn that is easily available from the large craft/hobby/fabric stores. So I picked acrylic yarns from three different makers. All of the labels say 22 sts + 4 inches. Not surprisingly they are all slightly different thicknesses, not to mention different textures. Well, they are all essentially smooth yarns, but one is a sort of fluffy smooth, one mid-range, and one downright slick. Which is to say that the "recommended gauge" on yarn labels is more of a broad suggestion based on a chart somewhere, than something any real person sat down and figured out with needles in hand. So there were the initial plain stockinette gauge swatches, not necessarily to try to match the labels with 100% accuracy, but to find what works for me.

Then I started playing around with motifs. The general idea here is to come up with three baby blankets with coordinating sweaters and hats, using lace/eyelet stitches. I have sketches for concepts. Swatching is one way to decide that certain concepts aren't workable. It is also a good way to get ideas to replace those unworkables. It's like making sketches before slapping paint on a full sized canvas. At least one of the sets is going to be quite different from my original scrawl.

But darn, it's a slow process.


CatBookMom said...

Pretty, pretty! If these are your first ideas, the results will be lovely! I've pretty much given up making baby quilts or lapghans, since they Go. On. Forever. But I like making baby jackets and caps; such nice quick gratification.

Knitbert said...

Your swatches are looking very pretty, I'm sure that a lovely baby project is going to emerge from all these experiments very soon!