Better Swatch Out

I am always one who jumps right into something with little to no planning. It usually works out, but sometimes, it costs me a lot of time that I would have saved if I’d done it right from the beginning.

I’m currently working on a cabled throw for my son’s cardiologist. I bought 24 skeins of navy blue Ice Alara yarn, but it’s a dk weight, while the pattern, the Cambria Quilt and Cable Throw calls for chunky yarn on size 8 needles. Since I’m a tight knitter, I thought using an 8 would still work, so I cast on and started knitting without swatching first. After over 40 (very long) rows, I decided it was too loose and I didn’t like the drape. I tried size 6 needles, but that made it too small and I wasn’t sure I’d have enough yarn to get the size I want. Finally, I settled on a size 7.

Again, I cast on and started knitting. After five rows, I decided it was too short. I frogged it and cast on a third time, only to find I had it too long. I gave up and worked up a swatch so I could find out how many stitches to the inch, then calculated how many stitches I needed for the number of inches I wanted. With the fourth cast on, I finally have it right.

My first try (on the 8 needles) seemed to go so much faster. Of course, I had 72 less stitches per row, and the stitches were bigger. The 7 needles are giving me a good tight stitch, but with 340 stitches per row and 5.5 rows to the inch, I’ve only got about four inches after almost an entire week.

Sigh. I will take this as a life lesson to swatch, swatch, swatch…at least when I need a somewhat exact size. I console myself with the knowledge that this project is something to be very proud of and will make an amazing thank you gift, so it was worth all the effort to get it right.

I finally finished a shawl for my friend. I was supposed to have it done by the end of last October, but that project also suffered from start-over-itis. In the end, the shawl she received looked amazing. I used the Kuura pattern and Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable in the Tidal colorway. It is so soft and airy, and looks impressively hard even though it was ridiculously easy. Unforgettable is self-striping, which made it even more impressive.

CAM00327

CAM00326

Kuura is a  great pattern for beginner lace work. It’s easy to memorize the rows and I only needed one stitch marker before the center stitch.

I have recently stocked up on some gorgeous alpaca and alpaca/silk yarns, and I am super excited about the project after this throw is finished: the Bella Botanica shawl. I plan on ordering some glass beads from Lima Beads, but I think I’ll skip the nupps. I don’t think they add much to the overall design and will detract from the beadwork.

I’ll post pics of the throw as soon as I finish the first cable set. Right now, I’m still on the first set of 16 rows of ribbing, with four rows left before I start the cables. My worst problem is that knitting relaxes me to the point that I keep falling asleep!!

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