Sunday, December 29, 2013


Carpe diem, as they say. Since Adam's Rib and the Sunburst cardigans are more or less tied in your voting I decided to go to the next step before deciding finally.  (Though one commenter suggested I could "whip up" both of them, the pace of my expected progress means I really must choose one...)

I have therefore spent some of my day making a swatch, the phase of any knitting project that follows provisionally choosing a yarn and a pattern and precedes some critical decisions. For non-knitters (and some knitters) this seems to be a tedious and useless task that serves only to use up some of your precious time and materials, producing a scrap of fabric that is good for exactly nothing.

They would be wrong. Swatching is a highly educational step that tells you the answers to some or all of the following questions:

  • How do I make this stitch pattern?
  • Do the recommended needles, with my yarn, produce the gauge (the number of stitches and rows in a square of knitted fabric) that will allow me to knit a garment from this pattern that will have the right dimensions?
  • What are the characteristics of the fabric that I can make with this yarn on these needles, following the stitch pattern?
  • Do I like the results?
  • How does the fabric change, if at all, after I wash it?
The last question is of particular importance with ColourMart yarns, since they are oiled for machine knitting and can change quite a lot after washing removes the oil and the yarn "blooms".

So here is a photo of my unwashed swatch. This is the stitch pattern from the Adam's Rib cardigan plus some stockinette.  I made some mistakes in the stitch pattern, because the chart was a little unusual. However by working through it I can see what the pattern is supposed to look like, which will help me knit it correctly when (if) the time comes. 

Unwashed, the yarn feels dry and the ribbing is a little crunchy. I hope that will wash out and the swatch will become more drapey. I wouldn't want a wrap cardigan that is as stiff feeling as this swatch. 

The good news is that the unwashed stitch pattern is almost exactly the size that it should be for the Adam's Rib cardigan. 


  1. I agree with swatch knitting and interesting about how the wool changes colour when washed. I am really looking forward to seeing what the final cardigan will be as all of your contenders are lovely!

  2. I just washed up a completed colourmart project and the yarn really bloomed.
    It was a complete leap of faith to put it in hot, sudsy water, but it worked.

    I had washed the swatch in tepid water and it did not change gauge. However, it failed to bloom. After rereading the colourmart instructions, I realized my error and hoped the gauge didn't change too much if I did it the right way (in hot water). It didn't change at all. Whew!

  3. I love this design very much. My friend, Nancy, knitted this garment last winter. It looks great on her now, but its instructions were a bit confusing at a time. It also depends on the weight of the garment for the rib pattern to spread or fail to spread if knitted with yarns too light for it. Ravelry posts on this garment would be helpful. Good luck.

  4. "Blooms", is that what most people call shrinkage?
    I think you should knit the one that excites you the most.

  5. I had trouble understanding the pattern as well. It's just laziness to fail to include specific instructions. The ribs were discontinuous in my swatch, so I put it aside until I could work out a way to solve that. I'm not an inexperienced knitter btw. The lack of clarity was disappointing, but the garment looks quite nice. I think it would be more elegant on than the Sunburst cardy.