Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Forest Canopy swatches

So I've decided to call all my progress thus far on the Forest Canopy shawl "swatching."

Yesterday I cast on in my Koigu which is a beautiful, pale, sagey green. I blog surfed a bit and found another woman who had done a lace shawl in Koigu on US 5s and started there. It's definitely an improvement but I'm not 100% committed to the needle size. I might do a couple repeats in 7s or 6s to see how that looks.

So is there a trick to this? Do you really just have to try, try again or am I just missing something (like common sense)?

Fortunately, the pattern is easy so it won't be a tremendous sacrifice if I do start over again. I'm looking at this as knitting to enjoy knitting, not knitting to have a finished project.


Erin said...

Uh, do you want the long version or the short?

The short is that it is a process of trying until you like it.

The long is that theoretically the right needle size should have about the same diameter as two strands of the yarn held adjacent to each other.

Unless you knit tight (then go up needle sizes) or loose (then go down accordingly) or unless you know that you want a particularly loose or tight fabric (follow the above directions).

This means that once you get a feel for how you knit and how using different sized needles alters your personal gauge (ie. the above trial and error process), you won't have to swatch as much.

But you will still need to knit a swatch sometimes of course!

So, did that help?

Anonymous said...

I'm by no means an expert, but do you think maybe you want to try some fingering weight yarn and smaller needles? Are you going for the lacy look? I started making one from Victorian Lace Today with some Knit Picks lace weight yarn and size 7 needles. Ended up going to the LYS and getting some fingering weight yarn and size 6 needles. Didn't like that, switched to the lace weight and size 6, now I like it. I guess you just have to work with it to see what you like.

LizKnits said...

Hey Erin and Beth... thanks for your feedback!

I think my issue is that with both yarns (the worsted and the fingering weights), my fabric ended up being too dense so the lace just wasn't showing well.

The pattern called for a US 8 needle with a DK weight (24 stiches per, with US 6 or 7 according to the ball band) yarn. The koigu is a finer yarn (fingering, 28 stuches per on US 3 accoring to the ball band).

Given that the pattern used a needle about 1-2 sizes larger than recommended on the ball band, I thought I'd try that with the koigu (that's in part why I started with a US 5 with the koigu). Doing that still seems to have given me less lace, and more dense fabric.

Hence, the need to try and even larger needle to get more of a lace effect. I've swatched now using a US 7 and am getting a better effect.

I just find it very strange that even though I'm using fingering versus DK I'm going to end up using needles only 1 size different.

This is where I feel like I just don't get it [laugh]!