Although personally I support a long-standing tradition of non-swatching, in this particular case I would say — swatch. Dartmouth Yarns has its Grand Opening in a few days (schedule here) and there is a contest for a stitch pattern (you can see the rules and samples here). I didn’t plan to invent a new stitch but the idea was still brewing in my head.
Somewhere in her post, Kate, the store owner, mentioned that the stitch should reflect knitters creativity. There are many beautiful and sophisticated stitch patterns out there but I am mostly interested in using a combination of simple stitches to create meaningful and useful shapes. Also I wanted to connect the idea of knitters creativity with the diversity of projects they undertake. So, disregarding all rules of the contest (a new stitch, 6 x 6 inches swatch with the border, written pattern), I came up with my own swatch suggestions.
Exhibit A — sock yarn swatch. It’s just what you think, a tube of 60 sts on 2.25 mm needles on my ankle that shows how the yarn will behave in a sock. Maybe more experienced knitters are able to say right away if the variegated yarn will produce stripes or chunks and how the colour is changing but when I see a multicoloured skein, it’s always a guess for me.
Plus, it can be used as a tomato cozy. (Well, not really, I just couldn’t think of another way to tell you that our little garden patch produces delicious tomatoes).
Exhibit B — mini-shawl for fingering weight yarns. It seems to me that warm, simple, and yet sophisticated shawls are quite popular now, most likely due to attention from famous knitting personalities. Think Wingspan, or Colour Affection, or locally designed Bermuda.
Well, my ‘shawl’ is just an idea of a swatch (50 sts on 4 mm needles). It can be either based on a pattern or be made with a simple stitch combination that shows texture well. I wish my camera didn’t go nuts and completely distort red colours and you could see that I didn’t mean to reproduce a matador’s red cape but show the rich golden hue in this yarn.
It is a painfully simple ‘design’ because it’s my first attempt to knit a ‘shawl’. But I was happy that I got the shape from the first try so the rest of it happened sort of by itself. Somehow I think it would be cute to see little swatches like that in the store. (Don’t judge me, I have two little kids and live in the world of ‘cute’).
Exhibit C — wristband or bracelet. I am still on the topic and charted the whole alphabet, and it’s halfway knitted in black and white. For the occasion, I wanted to demonstrate how it could be used for anything from promoting a local yarn store to promoting a healthy life style. My original chart was based on a smaller gauge and included the word ‘Dartmouth’ on top. Well, I didn’t have the right yarns/needles to make it happen today, so instead I am a proud owner of yet another bracelet that has a very fine message indeed — love yarns.
The back has two hearts because the second word ‘yarns’ in between them would make this bracelet into a nice garter, and if used as a display, it would slightly decrease the number of people with whom I could share my views.
I bet you, if it was done in fingering weight yarn, nobody would have to run around me to see what it says. I might try again later.
There are two days left before you can submit your swatches for the contest should the inspiration strike. So swatch away, knitters, swatch away.