Sunday, April 10, 2011


 I loathe to swatch. I know everyone always says "swatch. You'll be glad later. blah blah blah blah blah." It honestly never sinks in with me. I loathe to swatch. I think it's a waste of my time. I can usually figure how to get gauge on my own or whether or nat a specific yarn will work with a specific pattern. I'm smart. I do maths in my head. I measure my gauge from past projects. I'll read every ravelry forum and project note. I will do anything to avoid a swatch. Which is funny. With all the time I spend prepping and reading, it would probably just be quicker to do the swatch. But I hate swatches so I won't do them.

It's similar to my resistance of memorizing certain math formulas and instead spending HOURS programming my calculator to do the math for me. In the long run, I end up memorizing the formulas and doing the problems on the test with the program and by hand, because I wanted to double and triple check myself, but I digress.

This week I swatched. I swatched for what is probably only the second time in my whole knitting experience. I actually knit a swatch. Actually, I knit two swatches for this project.

I had it in my head that I wanted to knit $5 in Paris with my Malabrigo Rios. I wanted it to be white (Natural) with red (Ravelry Red) stripes. Then I got the most horrid vision about the red bleeding during the first wash of my new sweater resulting in a PINK and red sweater. Not what I wanted, not even close.

So I made a swatch. I balled up all the white yarn and kept one red skein on my yarn swift. I knit off the swift because then if the red was bleeding, I could easily tie it back up and soak it in vinegar with the other hanks.

I'm glad I did my swatch. Especially since that first swatch ended up immediately turning the water pink. I still had hopes that it wouldn't bleed onto the white even with the pink water, but that didn't work out either. The white part of the swatch was  pinkish and dingy looking.
So, I'm rather glad I swatched this one time. After the pinky swatch, I re-hanked my red skein and soaked all three over night in cold water and vinegar. Actually, I think I swore before the re-hanking and had a mental debate on whether I could handle a pinkish and red sweater because I really wanted to start RIGHT NOW. Then when I was done being a delusional idiot, I went ahead with the vinegar bath. (My bathroom does smell like vinegar now, but that doesn't bother me. I love vinegar.)
In the morning, I pulled the hanks out of the vinegar bath and tried to wring as much water out of them as possible. I hung my loops on hangers to dry. Looks like all the wire hangers sitting around do have a use. Those things aren't allowed in my closet.This is when I'm happy to live in the arid desert. Things dry quickly.
I should add that the major motivation for me to get up on Friday morning was to pull the hanks ou of the vinegar-water and set them up to dry. It was cold, there was no coffee .... I really lacked the WANT to remove myself from the warm bed.

It was a good sign that the white yarn I used to re-tie up one of the hanks stayed white. I was excited. I really REALLY didn't want to do this whole thing a second time. Not that it was an awful experience. But it did involve TWO swatches, and A LOT of waiting. I'm not a patient person. I was ready to start my sweater and I wanted to start it right at that very moment. I haven't knit much in over a month. I was inspired and ready to knit. It's maybe crazy, but I'm happy that I even went through this process in the first place. If I hadn't I'd have ended up with a pink sweater. I think I could rock a pink sweater, but I didn't want to have to.

The second swatch was knit almost exactly like the first one and also washed. Notice how the water is not PINK. The vinegar did it's job. I was SUPER happy. The second swatch;s white was still the original color. I can now successfully knit my sweater and not fear for the white's safety.

So I guess swatching is a good idea and does pay off in the end. I still don't think I'll become a person that swears by swatching though. I'm not going to be re-wired in a way that will make me a more patient person. I may just avoid white for sweaters in the future because then I won't have to worry about other colors bleeding into it.

My sweater is on the needles now. I'm hoping it's a quick knit. I want to finish it before I don't like the color RED anymore.


Lisa said...

I seriously HATE to swatch too but I know the evil pitfalls of not doing it all too well.....I can't wait to see this one!

Amy Darsie said...

You're not alone is your hate. I hardly ever swatch. Although, I have found that my socks are all coming out a little too big, so I think I'll just go down to a size 1, to avoid swatching.

That said, the only time I can see myself doing things the proper way is if I knit with any of the yarn that I've spun, as I'm never 100% consistant with my WPI.