Tuesday, December 11, 2007


I love the Death by Cables sweater. I really do. Its cables and charts and textured stitches are technically challenging and satisfyingly complex. But here's the thing. I'm...sick of it. Just a little. I mean, sometimes, I just want to sit and knit, without counting and and charting and double-checking. Sometimes I want to watch tv and just glance at my knitting once in a while, comfortable in the knowledge that the plain stockinette can pretty much take care of itself. But--and this is a bit odd--I don't seem to have anything else on the needles at the moment.

So the other night, I decided it was time--past time, really--to start something new. There is no end to the projects I want to start, and no shortage of lovely yarns calling my name from the stash. It should have been a simple thing to just pick one. It wasn't. The Central Park Hoodie is on my list, but it's a cardigan, and I'm really in the mood for a pullover. No problem. There's a cute one on the WEBS website. But it has more cables, and it's a little too cropped and fitted. I'm thinking something a bit more relaxed. How about a nice stockinette sweater coat? No, I'm looking for a quick-knit. What I want is a simple, lightly-shaped, bulky-weight pullover. I could just whip one up myself...but I'm not in the mood for pattern writing. Finally, I settle on a semi-tailored, textured jacket from Drops. It's not a pullover, but it meets most of my criteria. I pull out the gorgeous, bulky, chocolate brown baby alpaca that's been marinating in the stash since last spring, when I bought it on clearance. Happily, I cast on for a swatch.

Hmmm. The label says it's a bulky weight and claims I should be getting 3.5 stitches to the inch. I am getting 4.5 stitches to the inch, and the fabric is not at all dense. In fact, it's almost...airy. I check the label again. I check my gauge. There is no way this is bulky yarn, no matter what the label says. And there is no way I'm going to get gauge. Could I hold two strands together to get gauge? I try it. I fiddle with needle sizes. Yes, that will work. But then I won't have the yardage to finish the sweater. I go online. I look for more of this yarn. It is discontinued, and there is none to be had. I do, however, have another lot of the same yarn in a lovely berry color. Maybe I could hold the two colors together?

The gauge is good. The color? Not so much.

But I have other yarns, lots of them. Maybe this will work.

Or this.

Now I'm on a roll. I'm grabbing yarns and swatching with abandon!

Maybe dark colors are the wrong way to go. Maybe green! Maybe cream! Maybe pink!

By now, it is after 11 pm and I am tired. I have concluded that none of my yarns will work for the Drops pattern. I am back at square one. But the swatching was fun. I enjoyed playing with colors and textures, and some of the results were surprising and intriguing.

The next evening, I cast on for my new project.

A long, fitted, cabled sweater coat of my own design, in grey Noro Kochoran (this is a sleeve). Exactly what I wasn't looking for. Creativity is a fickle thing.


Tammy said...

Ahhh... see this is where socks come in!

Tammy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Life's a Stitch said...

Loved your swatchfest!

sophanne said...

There is occasionally comfort in swatch knitting- more process absolutely no product.

Kim said...

Swatch-o-rama! I'm with commenter Tammy. This is the time for socks!

Fancy Pants said...

I can't wait to see your finished fitted, cabled, sweater coat! It's going to be so beautiful.

Melissa Morgan-Oakes said...

this has happened to me SO many times.

Anonymous said...

I like to always have an easy knit on the needles. I don't have one right now and it makes me a little edgy.

Angelika said...

My vote is for the tan on the 5th picture and how about the "Not your standard-issue sweatshirt, take two"? I has cables and a hoodie and works with a 3.5 gauge.