Friday, June 20, 2014

More Tips: The Hanging Swatch, Design News, and Stuff.

Today's Tip

Swatching: Hanging Gauge

You’ve all heard about the importance of doing gauge swatches, to make sure your gauge matches what the pattern calls for, and additionally, to see that you’re happy with the drape and overall look of the piece.
Now, wool and acrylic yarns have lots of bounce and springiness. But other yarns like cotton, bamboo and silk, don’t have that bounce. 
As we might be using these fibers for summer knitting, it’s important to understand that your finished garment might stretch and droop as you wear it. I’ve heard stories of a summer top becoming a summer dress by the end of the day, with armholes drooping down to the waist. Not attractive! 

A solution to this problem is to not only wash and dry your swatch, but also to allow it to hang vertically with additional weight suspended from it, just as if it were hanging from your body. Let gravity do its thing! 
You'll have a more accurate prediction of how the fabric will behave with normal use.
This is how I did it, for a cotton/bamboo blend yarn I’m currently working with.

Hanging the swatch from a hanger with clips.

I added binder clips for additional weight.   

You could add earrings for weight, if you have those hanging around – ha ha, pun intended.
Keep in mind that the top part of the sweater will stretch more than the bottom part – there’s more weight to pull it down. So rather than the hem just extending down further, the result could be that the pretty scoop neck becomes a plunging neckline. Ouch.

I left it there for a day, and re-measured the resulting gauge and, sure enough, there was a change of about 10%.  This info will be really useful when I decide how to shape the neckline and how long to make the top; I’ll be able to take the stretching into account and get a better fitting garment. 


On to my designs:
I’ve been really enjoying the design work I’ve been doing for the Three Irish Girls yarn clubs -- both because they are nice people, and, they produce gorgeous yarns in rich complex colorways. For a period of time the designs are exclusive to 3IG club members, so I can’t show them to you yet, but they will eventually be published for sale on Ravelry.  They include a poncho, a hat and mitten set, and a shawl. 

My current project is a summer top in a luscious lemon-lime. Isn't it beautiful? The ladies at my weekly knitting group loved this color.

This is the cotton-bamboo yarn for which I did the hanging swatch I talked about earlier.

I’ve also recently been published in the book called Knit Noro 1-2-3 Skeins published by Sixth&Spring Books. Photography by Rose Callahan and text copyright © 2014 by Sixth&Spring Books. Used by permission. 
It’s a great collection of garments and accessories that use either 1, 2 or 3 skeins of Noro yarn, taking full advantage of the unique long-repeat colorways that Noro is famous for. 
Photography by Rose Callahan,© 2014 by Sixth&Spring Books. Used by permission.

My design is the Intarsia Cowl.
This cowl is comprised of 2 rectangles, each bisected into two triangles that use 2 different colorways. It uses intarsia to create the design. A ribbed edge provides a neat finish. This would be a great first intarsia project since there is only one color change to worry about.

Check out this book, it's fabulous!

I will see you next time with a book review.