On swatching and felting

Thursday, June 14, 2007
A few days ago I finally dug out the DH's Christmas stocking from the UFO drawer, and finished the heel (long story short: I broke a needle trying to pick up stitches and have been so irritated about it that I relegated it to UFO purgatory). Last night I felted it along with two small bags, the patterns for which I will soon be posting here for sale.

Note: Always make a gauge swatch. If you're felting something, make a gauge swatch and felt it!

This may seem like a stupid comment to you, my savvy free pattern hunter. However, I decided that I, in my vast experience, didn't need to swatch. I ended up with a sock that is so misshapen I'm not even going to take a photo to post it. Put it this way: I'm thinking of slicing it down the heel and machine stitching it back together, minus about 4inches of cloth. Yes, it fit over my DD's head. OMG she was like a mini Cat in the Hat.

So does this mean it's still unfinished? Whatever, I'm just glad there's six months before Christmas!

In other news, I did actually make a gauge swatch for my ITE4 bag - using two strands of Patons Wool held together. Who knew, two strands don't felt as well as one. Glad I did that experiment before knitting 30 squares... Today in the dentist's office (I need to floss more, shock) I got 1.5 squares done. 28.5 to go!

Still haven't picked up the MK project again. I also haven't heard from Kerrie in a long time, so if someone has, would you let me know? I know she's alive because she's still active on the Hipknits blog. Between that and the ITE4 tote I should be plenty busy.

However, I'm already thinking of the next thing. You see, I'm headed off to the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy meeting in July in (drumroll) Orlando, FL. It's going to be hotter than hell - largely because I think of Hades as being a dry heat. However, I'm concerned that I'll wear as little as socially acceptable when around the Dean when I'm outside and will thus freeze when I move inside to the a/c. I'm thinking this is a perfect opportunity to make the shrug that's been rolling around in my head. You know, cuff and lower arms knit in the round with some interesting eyelet pattern (actually, I know just the one to use), switching to flat for the upper arms and back, then grafted along the back center seam. In Shine Sport, maybe? I have some Carolinaish blue (aka Hydrangea) that would be perfect (a favorite color as well as school spirity for the conference!). Maybe I'll work on it on the plane... This time I must remember to take more stuff to work on at the conference proper. At MLA I ran out of yarn!

In other news, I've recently registered this blog with Google Analytics. I tell you, it's fascinating looking at the statistics about what pages are popular, where people get here from, and where people are physically. Who knew that I'd be so popular in Portugal? And so, I close with my sum knowledge of a number of languages popular among readers of the blog:

Tschuss! (I actually do speak German)
Au Revoir!
وداعا (with the aid of Google Translator)


  • Bridget

    Hi KT,
    I have a question, but not about swatching and felting. I hope you don't mind. I've knitted http://www.modadea.com/patterns/LM0132.htm for a friend's daughter and have come to the stitching together part and am having a terrible time. It is the first time I've used such funky yarn. Do you have any tips on how to put the pieces together? I've tried using a plain coordinating yarn, but even that doesn't look good.

  • KT

    Hi Bridget,
    Yeah, the Flip yarn isn't really appropriate for seaming, since it has so many changes in thickness that cause problems with sewing. Your problem with the coordinating yarn may be that you're not pulling it tight enough - I have this problem sometimes - so the yarn can "peek through" on the right side.

    Normally for a sweater I would recommend using mattress stitch - this is also called invisible stitch - but I find that it's difficult with novelty yarns to do it such that the coordinating yarn doesn't show (probably because of the tightness issue). For this project I'd suggest using the slightly bulkier back stitch technique. You'll pin the two pieces with right sides together and then make small stitches parallel to the edge of the sides. Make sure to pull the yarn tight so that you get a good strong (and hopefully invisible) seam.

    You could also try unraveling the Flip so that you're doing the seam just with the eyelash part (not the part with the slubs). This strand will coordinate properly, but isn't as strong as "normal" (plied) yarn. It might be your best bet, though, since it'll be pretty much invisible and yet easier to sew.

    I hope this helps - let me know if I can clarify more!


  • Bridget

    Thanks KT! What I'm going to do for the shoulder seams is cast them off together on both sides and then use a circular needle for the neck. I will definitely try your mattress stitch technique for the side seams. I'll let you know how it works out once I'm done.

    Thanks again!


  • KT

    Bridget - Yes, the 3-needle bindoff is the best to use for "normal" shoulders, IMHO. Good luck with the neck and sides! - KT

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    All content in this blog, including patterns and photos, is the intellectual property of Katherine Vaughan. All rights under US Copyright Law are reserved. Teachers, please direct your students to download/print out their own copies of patterns used in class. You are, of course, welcome to use items knit from any pattern for charity or sale, with the statement "design by Katherine Vaughan" appreciated.