This is mostly a knitting blog. Sometimes pictures of things I've made, sometimes not. I'm a guy who knits, I usually attend a men's stitch 'n' bitch on Monday nights, and I prefer natural fibres to artificial ones. I have a love-hate relationship with bamboo yarns: I love what they can do and how they look, I hate how they are made. I've been knitting since about 2003, though I really didn't get into it until 2005, while convelescing with a broken leg. I must have discovered something good, 'cause I'm still knitting years later.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Swatching: Because my friends will kill me if I don't

"Six inches. Really?"
"Yes, really. Now butch up and do it."

And so I ripped out my first gauge swatch that I'd made at home, which was 14 stitches across, according to directions on the pattern. It gave me a 4 inch square, but my friend Claudia was adamant that it wasn't enough to check gauge. I recast on, 26 stitches, and began to make a new swatch.

"I've got five inches of stockinette, is that good enough?"
"Six inches. Butch up and do it."
"You said that already. Man, you are a harsh task mistress."

I finished the swatch, bound it off, and measured. There were 31/2 stitches to the inch. I needed four stitches per inch.

"It's only three-and-a-half per inch."
"You haven't blocked it yet."
"Blocked it? Really? The person who taught me how to knit never mentioned blocking the swatch. And it doesn't mention it in the pattern."
"That's because it's taken for granted that you'll block it."
"Oh. That's assuming a lot."

We filled the sink with cold water, and put the swatch in. We pushed it under, and let it get good and wet.
"We'll leave it there for five or so minutes."
"That long?"
"The Yarn Harlot sometimes leaves her swatches in the water til they sink."
"Who knew?"

About fifteen minutes later (I was distracted), I pulled the swatch out of the water. I gently squeezed it, then rolled it in a towel. We pinned it to a board, six inches to the side.
"I have four stitches per inch now."
"Let it dry. It might shrink a bit when you unpin it. It might not."
"When d'you think it'll be dry?"
"Tomorrow morning. Maybe whoever is opening can measure it for you."

The store opens in about an hour. I don't know if I can wait that long.

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