Sunday, October 15, 2006

Anecdotal Evidence

Again, I am convinced that Theresa is right about swatches. They lie like little tiny knitted rugs.

When I knit the Simple Knitted Bodice, I carefully swatched with different needle sizes. I measured. I determined that I had the right gauge. I started. I ripped once, and started over. I picked a smaller size. And, still, the gauge and sweater were too big.

I started Licorice Whip. I did not knit a swatch. I chose a yarn from the stash with a recommended gauge that matched the pattern gauge. I started the pattern and knit a few inches. It was measuring a little too big. I ripped and restarted with smaller needles.

And, so far, the fit looks perfect. Same amount of ripping and restarting, swatch or not. I'm beginning to think that sweaters are not that different than socks. The best swatch is the project, and frogging is an essential part of the process.

14 Comments:

Blogger Jenn said...

I agree! I rarely swatch, because it almost always doesn't come out "right." I'd rather rip and restart than swatch, rip and restart.
Your Licorice Whip looks great!

4:01 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I've noticed that my swatches are often not correct either. Ripping really doesn't bother me either!

4:16 PM  
Blogger jillian said...

You're gonna hate me for saying this, but I've had good luck using swatches. Hmmmm.

Yum, a wooly Licorice Whip. It looks so cozy already!

5:43 PM  
Blogger Glaistig said...

I'm in love with that pattern and have a copy in my binder. My psychic knitdar (which very rarely ever works for me) tells me it's gonna turn out stupendously perfect. Take that Gauge Gods!

7:11 PM  
Blogger Olga said...

Hallelujah! Amen to that, sister. I've been feeling like a bad knitter lately because there are a few new projects I want to try (one with the yarn you sent me!), but the thought of doing a swatch makes me want to hurl. Now there's solid evidence for NOT swatching. Thank you!

I so bad want to do a Licorice Whip, too! Damn these non-existent Austin winters!

7:29 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

I'm with you on that 100%. My little secret is that I never swatch for socks. :)

8:56 PM  
Blogger Brown Pants said...

Ooooh, love the green. I concur, swatching sux! Down with the swatch!

11:08 PM  
Blogger JennyRaye said...

I'm starting to think the same thing. A project is not truly mine until I have at least partially ripped it at least one time. I'm getting ready to knit ds a sweater, and the question is to swatch or not.

11:42 PM  
Blogger msubulldog said...

Argh! It's all so frustrating! But, yes, I guess if you're going to wind up ripping anyway, you might as well not have to knit the swatch, too. *That picture of your sweater was really good at showing how big it was, by the way. I didn't see that from a front shot.

12:06 AM  
Blogger Kate A. said...

You're so right, as always. Granted, I've never been terribly disciplined about swatches, but I also used to be bad about refusing to frog no matter how huge the problem. Of the two vices, I'd rather skip swatching. I've been frogging so much anyway lately that I'm getting used to it, and at least that way you know you're getting somewhere - you find out *definitely* what's not working and can re-start feeling fairly confident that the problem will be solved. Not so with those lying little Republican swatches...wait, did I say Republican? Sorry. I meant just "lying." :-)

6:15 PM  
Blogger Kate A. said...

Thanks for pointing me toward a really cool pattern, btw - I hadn't come across that one before.

6:16 PM  
Blogger Catherine Kerth said...

yep, i agree too... i always swatch differently than my project! frustrating, but like you said apart of the process :)

9:05 PM  
Blogger Theresa said...

Yeah, I'm pretty much converting to the "start with a sleeve" camp. Licorice Whip is looking great, btw.

2:15 AM  
Blogger Jeanne said...

I think it was Elizabeth Zimmermann who first started me on swatching on the sleeve!

1:01 PM  

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