Matching an appropriate yarn to the desired project, is not always as simple as it seems. A yarn can make or break any project. And for that reason alone......Swatching in pattern and blocking the swatch becomes increasingly important.
Swatching for gauge is always recommended when knitting a garment where the fit is important.
However, projects like blankets, scarves and wraps where fit is not a huge concern, swatching is still necessary to understand how the yarn performs to any pattern design and to get the desired fabric of the project.
- if the needle is to large for the project, it may be to flimsy or thin or stitches that are just too big and don't hold up the fabric.
- if the needle is too small, the project may take on a board-y feel and not be as supple as you might have hoped.
For some, swatching seems like a real pain. I too, am alway eager to get started on a new project. BUT...sometimes a slower start makes for a faster finish...kind of like the tortoise and the hare..... I can't believe I just wrote that. Cheeky.
Be the judge, knitting an entire project, only to discover that after blocking, its .... not how you imagined it and discouraged by the finished project.....leading to one of three things....
- frogging the entire project and starting over,
- storing the project in the back of a closet to rid yourself of the recent memory or worse yet,
- just pitching the project.
Swatching seems like a much better option.
I do a lot of swacthing for both design and fabric.
- Even though I use mostly lace-weight yarns, I still have to swatch in the final chosen yarn because of how a given yarn performs can change based on the fiber content, how its dyed and how it blocks. Needle size adjustments, both smaller or larger may be needed to get the blocked fabric to your liking.
- How a yarn is dyed can effect the look of the design. If it has too much variation, the design itself can be masked or hidden.
Meridian Lace Wrap and Scarf, was knit in two lace weight yarns, Lorna's Lace Helens Lace (red sample) 1250 yards of 50% merino wool + 50% tussah silk AND Malabrigo Silkpaca (blue sample) 420 yards of 70% baby alpaca + 30% silk.
The Helen's Lace sample (pictured above) was knit with a US#4 or 3.5 mm needle.
The Silkpaca took a couple of swatches to get my desired fabric. It required a smaller needle to get the look I wanted and is knit using a US#3 or 3.25mm needle. Just a side note, the picture above is not a finished piece, just a blocked swatch. I am still working on my Silkpaca Wrap.....I am looking forward to wearing it this Fall.
Meridan Lace Wrap and Scarf pattern is available for purchase and pdf download on www.ravelry.com.