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Are you knitters shocked when you go through your stashes? I was. I thought I might have two or three skeins of yarn to take to the upcoming Knit Social Yarn Swap, but I found a lot more than that.

Should be fun – and I was happy to see that Alexa from Gourmet Crafter has a table and will be selling her lovely hand-dyed yarns.

As a teaser, for the really hardcore: that bag contains quince & co, Jared Flood’s own Shelter, a few Sweetgeorgia fibre club offerings (will I ever have time to spin again?), Cascade, undyed knit picks yarn, and unique hand-dyes from various North American destinations.

A few things have collided in space and time to make for perfect knitting conditions:

  1. I am cardigan-crazy. I wear them all year and, other than socks, they are usually the only article of clothing that I wear out. Yep, that’s how much I wear them. Thank goodness for elbow patches.
  2. We at Urban Yarns have been going a bit crazy waiting for the Madelinetosh shipment to arrive. And it’s here! I can hardly wait to pop in and look at the colours. Amy at Madelinetosh has such a gift with colour, and they use some of the softest, springiest base yarns I’ve ever felt.
  3. Hannah Fettig has recently republished her Gooseberry Cardigan as the Calligraphy Cardigan in, you guessed it, Madelinetosh Tosh DK. Clearly, people, the stars have aligned on this one. As usual, my eyes are bigger than my…knitting basket?

I’ve been swatching for a pattern I cooked up. But more on the project later – I want to talk about swatch gauge.

Some project gauges are given in the project stitch (maybe seed stitch or a cable), which others give it in stockinette stitch. I swatch like it’s a religion, so this has always bothered me a bit. The argument is that people might knit up pattern swatches at a different tension than a stockinette swatch; if the pattern is all over the garment, it could affect the final size. So many designers give gauge in the dominant stitch pattern.

But my instinct is to go with a stockinette gauge, and here’s why:

1. The gauge given on the ball band of the yarn is based on stockinette stitch. You need to know this if you’re going to use a different yarn than the one suggested.
2. Pattern stitches can be much/less stretchier than stockinette stitch. For example, lace or cables. My cable swatch could realistically be blocked anywhere from 3.5 to 5″. And it really depends on the amount of ease designed into a given garment. Did the designer intend the cable to be stretched a bit and fit snugly (e.g. a hat/toque)? Or was it intended to hang loosely from the body?
3. What if the pattern has multiple stitch patterns? Are knitters going to knit up a swatch in each stitch pattern? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

A search on a few Ravelry forums found a bit of discussion on this; some like pattern gauge, some like stockinette gauge. However, several people concluded that, as knitters, they would like to see gauge given in both stockinette and the pattern stitch. But…see #3 above. Really, it comes down to the fact that no one (not even me) is going to do two swatches for a project. A lot of people don’t even do one. So I’m going to go out on a limb and just give the stockinette gauge for this pattern.

When I’m not knitting swatches lately, I’m trying to find a sock pattern to knit this lovely up:

sweetgeorgia tough love sock

 

While trying to choose a DK weight yarn, I got stuck at the Mirasol wall – can you see my dilemma?

Mirasol isn’t a yarn I’ve knit with before. The colours are amazing and the silk/wool blend soft and drapey. But how to choose? So I bought one of each of my three favourite colours, and brought them home to contemplate.

 

Jared Flood of Brooklyn Tweed announced his new yarn line today – Shelter, a worsted weight tweed (of course) in beautiful colours. Is there anything this man can’t do? I love that one of his reasons for getting into the yarn biz was to support US grown and spun wool. Just listening to him describe New England heritage yarn mills makes me want to pack my suitcase for a field trip.

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