Monday, February 16, 2009

Swatches Everywhere!

I've been smoking crack again. Or those wonderful, wonderful hand-made Valentine chocolates were laced with something. It's the only way to explain what happened this weekend.

If you recall my commitment knitting was done. The pants had already moved on to their owner, and the shawl was soaking in a bowl of soapy water (alright, the shawl was not soaking, but it is now) (and I mean it this time!). I was free to knit the phantom dream of a sweater that was haunting my waking hours. Tempest was about to be mine. It was simply a matter of picking a yarn. For the love of all that is good, all I had to do was pick a yarn, ANY YARN, and start knitting. I had already swatched this


and this.


But while they were the top contenders to become more than a ball of yarn, they were fighting to be a sweater, once swatched I wasn't feeling it. Don't get me wrong. Either would make a perfectly lovely sweater, but that magical feeling just wasn't there for me. I was looking for true love. Love at first sight sweater love.

So I swatched on.

I swatched the blue tweed with the blue/pink yarn.


Pretty, but still not it. I would know it when I saw it.

Since the blue/pink yarn was out I swatched the blue/pink with the red-ish magenta-ish yarn.


Definitely not it.

In a fit of desperation and insanity I swatched the brown with the brown/blue yarn.


A color combination I had already vetoed because the yarns were slightly different weights and I've learned my lesson knitting stripes with yarns of slightly different weights. Haven't I?


Apparently not, because this is it! This is love! I NEED this to be more than yarn, more than a swatch. I need this to be a SWEATER. The brown yarn is 100% alpaca. Knit on size 6 needles it is soooo soft and drapey, and wispy like the last fleeting memory of a dream those first few moments before you're really awake, like tendrils of fog creeping across a moor. I'm so in love I'm waxing poetic. And that slight difference in yarn weights? I swear, it is absolutely almost unnoticeable on this needle size. I am in love!

And like most instances of love at first sight, this is such a bad idea. The yarn might be too drapey for this sweater. Not to mention I'm pretty sure I do not have enough yarn in my stash to knit this sweater in the size I need. As much as I want to pretend I'm an A or B, I need size C (and if I'm being really honest a D, but I'm not. Who needs positive ease). Size C takes slightly more yarn than what I have on hand. The alpaca is alpaca I got for Christmas 2005. I'm not sure I can get more of the same. Especially three years later. While the alpaca is un-dyed so dye lot isn't a concern, it looks like they've changed their yarn spinner and I'm worried it will not be the same.

And the striped yarn?


Of Course.

So the yarn is too drapey, is two almost noticeably different weights, and there probably isn't enough. This sweater has disaster written all over it. But when have I ever let that stop me before?

I'm letting that stop me now. I'm trying to be a responsible adult. I'm refuse to waste my time knitting a sweater that is doomed to fail at the sleeves. I'm going to be a grown-up. I would just have to knit this sweater with some other yarn.

Thus thwarted, I did the only logical thing.

I pouted.

I was in love and denied.

So fine! Stupid yarn. I don't need 510 yards of you. If I can't knit the sweater I want I'll just take my needles and knit some other sweater. There are fifty billion other sweater patterns out there. I'll just knit one of those. And I had just the sweater in mind.

I sat my butt down defiantly on the couch and knit a gauge swatch my with chocolaty brown wool.


See, I can knit a brown sweater, who needs you brown alpaca *pout* *pout*. (And let's not discuss the fact that this particular sweater is mean to be knit with alpaca not wool. Oh the cruel twists and turns of fate)

In a theatrical show of grown up responsibility I measured my swatch. I can not tell you all the ways my gauge was wrong. Then I realized that size six was the European needle size, not the US needle size. So, a little deflated, I sat back down and knit a new gauge swatch, this time with the correct needles. One that I forgot to photograph. But that's alright. I measured it and I still didn't come anywhere close to getting proper gauge.

That didn't stop me from casting on for the sweater.


Yup. I knit the heck out of that sweater. You are looking at 14.25 inches of sweater knit over 223 stitches per row. I knit that puppy all the way to the armscye (you know, that fancy designer word for the armpits). It's a bottom-up raglan. So this is the point where I need to knit the sleeves so they can be attached to the sweater and the rest of the bodice can be knit on one pieces.

But I need a new set of dpns, or another set of size 10 circs to knit the sleeves.

Curses, foiled at every turn.

So there I sat. Defeated again. Sunday night and not a knittable thing on my needles. I'll admit it. I did the only logical thing I could do given the circumstances. You would have done the same thing. I cast on for the brown striped sweater.


I'm going to need a lot more crack hand-made chocolate to get through this.

So much for being a grown-up.


LilKnitter said...

Oh, gauge swatches: bane of many a knitter's existence! Kudos to you for knitting on, though! I've been totally thwarted numerous times by my swatches, or, failed to swatch at all, made a random guess at what my gauge would end up being, only to find that I was completely wrong and the thing was some bizarre size or shape.

And I've been meaning to ask you: what pattern and yarn do you use for your baby/toddler pants?

LilKnitter said...

Nevermind! I spelunked and found an earlier post with the specs. They're just so darling: I think Peanut may need a pair, or six.

Heidi said...

Just cause I love to watch you work, should I send you some homemade Oreo Truffles so you can do some more work? lol

Bezzie said...

Ha ha! I knew the brown was the ticket!

marit said...

I want to be a grown-up just like you!!!

larheel said...

For what it's worth, I have leftovers from a pair of socks of the S'mores yarn...obviously not a ton of yarn, but my feet are size 8s, so there is some, if you'd like it. I personally love the browns.

Tammy said...

I am very impressed with your swatching! How practical of you! I'm about 2 inches into a shawl that that started with casting on 375 stitches... and thinking I should've used a smaller needles size. Did I swatch? Bwahaha. Will I frog? Nevah. Oh well.