Sunday, December 4, 2011

weekends are for ...

Swatching and blocking!

Up until a year ago, these were the parts of knitting I just hated.  Well, not so much hated as just didn't do.  But when I started doing stranded colorwork I had to get over this, and these days swatching is one of my favorite parts of knitting.  A swatch is tiny and fast, and so full of potential can swatch before you know whether you're swatching for a cowl or a sweater or a sweater with a crazy huge cowl neck or, I dunno, a refrigerator cozy.  A swatch is a little tiny nugget of pure knitting fantasy.

What do you think this will grow up to be?  I don't know yet, but I do  know this:  The book this came from, Barbara Walker's Charted Knitting Designs, is very dangerous.  It's basically the Kama Sutra of knitting books:  It will make you suddenly want to try, right now, things that never would've occurred to you otherwise.

These days (ie, the days near Christmas), I try to be a little more reliable than I usually am about sticking with one pattern until it's finished.  (Okay, maybe two or three.  But no more, seriously.)  Swatching is a great way to relieve just a little of that monotony without getting myself totally off-track.

Blocking is satisfying for the exact opposite reasons.  It has a finality to it.  As someone who's terrible at finishing projects, I feel a massive sense of achievement every time I pin down a completed project to dry.  (Hah!  Take that, stupid procrastinating brain.)  Not to mention ... it just looks nicer.  Here's a scarf I finished a couple weeks ago; I'm not showing you the whole thing because shhh, it's a christmas present!  I knit it from the bottoms up, blocked both ends, then knit a little more in the middle, grafted the two pieces together and blocked the whole thing again.  I don't have before and after pictures, but I have in-between and after pictures:

Yes, that's right:  I love blocking so much that I blocked this scarf twice.  I wanted the two ends to be exactly the same length as each other, and the whole thing to be as close to 60'' as I could make it, so I blocked when I was most of the way done to get a better feeling for the final dimensions.  Anyhow, isn't it amazing how blocking smooths things out so nicely?

What's your favorite weekend knitting?


  1. That cable looks spectacular!

    I think my designated weekend project is whatever requires more attention/effort than what I can manage to cart around with me during the week, which is usually some sort of sock. I like to start new things on the weekends, too.

  2. Those cables would look great on a fridge cozy.

    Or anything else.

  3. I never thought of swatching as being so open, like a string sketchbook. and omg, I love that you called Barbara Walker's chart book the Kama Sutra of knitting books.