Friday, January 9, 2009

Experimental Swatching

So, we all know my love for swatching for gauge (said with sarcasm), but this morning I was forced to knit a swatch to test out some edge stitches and it was actually a little fun - sort of like making a sampler. I really should swatch more to practice my basic skills - I sort of skipped that part of learning to knit.

Anyhow, I'm making a project with ribbing on it and an exposed edge so I am worried about making the edge stitches look nice. It's a 2X2 ribbing that starts and ends with knit ribs (so I start one row with knit stitches and the next row with purl stitches). I started making the project with a chain stitch edge (?) - where you slip the first stitch of every row and I thought it looked kind of bad, so I made this swatch. It actually looks much better without the slipped stitches though. I was worried I would get that knotty edge that looks kind of messy, but it's not so.

Here are pics from my lovely lesson:

This is a view of the edge. On the left side is my chain stitch border and on the right is just the regular stockinette edge. (The messy bit in the middle is some garter stitch I threw in to mark where I switched between the two.) As you can see, the chain stitch looks a little better, but the regular edge doesn't look bad. (Yuck! I need a manicure!)

So, this is a view of the front of the piece. See how the chain stitch looks all gappy, but the regular edge blends in with the rib? That's because the chain stitch only has one stitch for every two rows but the rest of the ribbing has the normal amount of stitches, so it's a little wacky.

And just for fun, I bound off part in pattern and part the regular way (all knits). The left side is regular and the right side is in pattern. I never realized what a difference binding off in pattern makes until I saw them side by side here! Amazing.

So, that was my little swatching adventure. I plan to do another one with all the increases and decreases. I think that will be interesting. Of course, that will mean putting off my pretty massive list of WIP's that I've got going. Maybe I'll save it for a rainy day.

p.s. In my research on chain stitches I read somewhere that if the pattern doesn't always start and end with the same stitch, you should add one stitch to the beginning and one to the end of the rows so you can do the chain stitch edge. Also, there seems to be a debate about whether you should hold your yarn in front or in back when you slip the stitch. I don't remember what way I did it in this sample, but I would guess the back, since that sounds like the most natural way.

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