I don’t swatch.
In eight years of knitting I have made a gauge swatch exactly once despite the fact that countless times it would have been prudent to do so. I blame Rachel, frankly, because she taught me almost all of my basic knitting skills and never once did swatching come into the picture. Her blog is even titled “Swatchless”, giving you a pretty good summary of her feelings on the subject. Swatching just wasn’t how things were done.
Times are a changing now though. I’m planning on knitting a vest for my grandmother for Christmas. When I was knitting sweater was for myself I never bothered with the fit too much, because the worst case scenario was that it might look badly on me (and some of those first monstrosities, did.) But now that it has to fit someone else by a deadline – not to mention the fact that the pattern calls for bulky and I’ve got super bulky lined up for it – swatching is starting to look like a good pretty idea. So here it is:
11 rows = 2 inches, exactly as the pattern says, but strangely enough 8 stitches = 2.5 inches. Interesting. Some adjustments will have to be made.
The yarn is Patons Misty in Purple Fog. My mother spotted at KnitTraders and pointed out that it would be perfect for this project. Despite my synthetic snobbery, washability is critical since hand-washing it is not possible for Gram. She also doesn’t care much for 100% wool, even if it’s not going to sit against her skin, so that left me with some sort of synthetic yarn. She does, however, adore mohair and the colour purple. I couldn’t really argue with this yarn:
48 % Acrylic, 32% Nylon, 10% Wool and 10% Mohair. I’m undecided on if I like it or not yet, but I know that she will love it, so I have seven skeins of it now.
The swatch doesn’t seem to have changed much post-washing (to the surprise of absolutely no one) so after a little math, I’m ready to cast on. Wish me luck!
The pattern name is called “Sequoia” so I’ve nicknamed the project Gram’s “Dawyck Purple Vest” after the beech tree, because they are a little more native here in Ontario than a Sequoia tree.