In between working on my other knitterly projects, I’m celebrating Swatchfest.
These swatches have been my latest go-to projects for social and on-the-go knitting, because they are small and simple. The only downside is that when I hear the inevitable question, “So, what are you working on?” from non-knitters, who seem quite excited to hear about what they imagine is the beginning of a really cool project, I seem to disappoint them.
“It’s a swatch.” I say. “I’m testing yarns out for a possible sweater.”
“Oh,” they reply simply, and pause, then find something else to talk about.
For me, though, swatches are great. To me, swatches mean potential, the excitement of what could be, if I want it to. Swatches help me avoid the agony of selecting the wrong yarn for a project, or having a drastic sizing issue. Is that yarn too scratchy? Will it hold cables well, even if it’s dark? How will it act when it’s been blocked? Does the color really look that good on the intended wearer? Swatching will tell.
I’m knitting up this crop of swatches to [mostly] test yarn for sweaters for my husband and younger son, although I’ve thrown in a couple of yarns that I may use for projects for me. Both husband and son have requested Arans to wear on camping trips, so I duly sent off for shade cards for Black Water Abbey and Jamieson’s yarns. I’m also considering some from Virtual Yarns, but have plenty of swatches and projects knitted up using Starmore’s terrific yarns, so no need for additional swatching there.
I ordered some small skeins of Black Water Abbey yarns, based on what I liked from the shade cards. While the first swatch I knitted was plain knitting, I’ve knitted the rest of the swatches using the saxon braid pattern so I could see how the cables worked up in it. I’ve been very pleased thus far. While the yarn initially seems scratchy, it does block up much softer, and it does hold cables very well. Here’s what I’ve got so far:
Bluestack is a lovely blue-and-brown marled color. I wish I’d knit this cabled, but it is what it is.
Blue Stone is a nice grayish-blue — sort of like the ocean on a cloudy day.
Forest is my favorite so far — it’s black and green and just lovely. It reminds me of Virtual Yarn’s Lapwing, but instead of Lapwing’s dark blue tones, Forest has black.
Grey Sea is sort of a muted teal.
Indigo is sort of a cross between a true indigo and dark lavender. The guys will probably think it’s too effeminate, but I really like it.
Pink Heather would be for a project for me. Cables show up nicely, don’t you think?
Wine is a good, dark red with black in it, as well. This one would look good on either of the guys, I think.
Wood Violet is also beautiful. It’s a greyed purple with just a bit of dark pink running through it.
I’m not quite done with Black Water Abbey swatching — I’ve got another sea-green skein, chocolate, and a brownish purple to go. After that, I’ve got a few from Jamieson’s to swatch up. Once all that’s done, I’ll let Eric select his yarn and then swatch up some cable patterns and start designing his Aran.
Meanwhile, I’ve made progress on the Rosebud Shawl, finished a Flamingo mitten, and am re-working the neckline on the Na Craga. I’ll blog about those just as soon as I can.