Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Note to self, swatch more

OK, so I am a new knitter. You would think that I wouldn't try to establish bad habits. I would knit and frog and re-knit and re-frog correcting my mistakes. I've gotten pretty good at squares (wash clothes) and rectangles (Swiffer pads). I've even learned to decrease and change colors. I am pretty proud of myself being self-taught and all.

A few weeks ago I decided to make the "Hot Head" pattern from Stitch 'N Bitch: The Knitter's Handbook by Debbie Stoller. I don't have a big stash--pretty much just the yarn I swiped from my mom--so I did a little substitution. Instead of bulky wool, I used Lion Brand Velvet Spun. I figured, it's classified as bulky on the label, I had several skeins and I like the way it feels.

Like a good little student, I read through the instructions, re-read the section on mattress stitch since I had never done it, got out my 10.5 needles and started swatching. I swatched about 5" by 5" knowing full well all the articles and books I read and all the podcasts I listen to are filled with non-swatching nightmares. Why can't I learn from other's mistakes? Why? Because I laugh in the face of proper swatching...ha, ha, ha! It's just a hat, right and I'll make the smallest size so it can stretch if it has to. Yeah.

This is my impression of Dumb Donald from Fat Albert.

The result speaks for itself. I'm going to try to shrink in into submission by dowsing it in hot water and drying it on high. The hat is super cute so I hope it shrinks up some. OK, a bunch.

Knitting is so awesome. I love learning how to knit and attempting new projects, even if they don't turn out exactly as the picture. Last year for Christmas I asked for and receive some needle and books. I joined Ravelry earlier this year which has helped a lot. Add me to your friends list... I'm drizzle. I am not much of a forum poster as a forum stalker, but that site rocks! The portability of knitting is one of my favorite things. The repetition of stitch patterns is really soothing a great for decompressing after work.

I also listen to several knitting podcasts. My favorite is Stitch-It! Meghan's mid-western accent reminds me of home and I love that she talks about both her successful and not-quite-so-sucessful moments. Her laugh is infectious which is a sign of a great person in my eyes. Listen to her podcast if you haven't yet. You'll like it. Go do it now. I've got a hat to shrink.


1 comment:

Darlene said...

Well, I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who DOES swatch and STILL has the piece turn out sized to fit Moby Dick.

I swatched a 4"x4" section, got my gauge and started knitting a pair of fingerless gloves for my daughter. I ended up frogging them back 4 times. The I had also started a hooded scarf for her at the same time. It was SUPPOSED to be 11" x 60". HA! It's about 18" across. These were also SUPPOSED to be her Christmas gift. sigh

I'm not frogging back the scarf and the gloves I restarted with her her and just kept trying them on her. I've gotten stalled at the cast-off for the 1x1 ribbed fingers. It was just too close to Christmas for me to concentrate. So I'll finish them off this coming week. The scarf has about 40" on it, so only another 20" or so to go. Sew a seam down the middle of the scarf for the hood and I'm good to go.

I think my swatching being off has to do with cheap yarn. This stuff was about $4 for 1 pound. Yes, an entire pound of this stuff - but it's cheap acrylic. I have noticed that the Lion's brand "Vanna's Choice" yarn knitted up to swatch. Same fingerless glove pattern was used, same knitting needles were used. Then only difference was in the quality of the yarn. But I wasn't wasting $$$ on a kid to have them forgotten, lost or stolen at school.

I like your blog.