Advanced Swatching.

I wrote a post about swatching focused at people following a pattern or maybe making a simple self designed sweater.

This post is the advanced version, how a designer swatches before writing a pattern.

Here is the swatch for “cardigan 1″ for the Suffolk collection that I told you about in this post. The first attempt at a swatch for this was ripped out and I refined the cable patterns I wanted to use. I learnt from it and then moved on. The swatch pictured is not quite finished but it shows a lot of important features of a design swatch and answers many of my questions.
  1. How wide is the cable pattern?
  2. What is the drape of the fabric like? (this swatch has been made large enough to give a good idea
  3. How will the button band work?
  4. What type of button holes will I use? How big will the buttons need to be (so I can get shopping!)
  5. What is the ribbing like? How much stretch does it have?
  6. What are the cable patterns like in this yarn? How do they flow from the ribbing? How do they interact with decreases for the neckline.
  7. How do the different stitch patterns interact with one another? Does the cable pull the garter stitch?
  8. How does the neckline curve? How does that interact with the fabric? (you can see that I have decided to go with a scoop neck – Evelyn was right, the sketched neckline was a bit too “mature”!
  9. How fun was the knitting?  – if I want to take the needles and stab my eyes out while knitting the swatch chances are I won’t enjoy making a whole sweater much!
  10. What level will the pattern be aimed at? As I knit I’m constantly thinking about how I will write and grade the pattern to suit the audience. This will effect some of my design decisions.
Once the swatch is dry I will do some trial finishing (because I would always finish after blocking on the real sweater) I will pick up a neck band and finish any of the buttonholes attempts that require it.
This swatch has made me realise that I want the waist shaping to be around a faux seam, I know how that will work and I don’t need to swatch further. I will need to swatch a larger area of garter stitch to measure so I can make my calculations for writing the pattern.
I am already a little bit in love with this design, maybe it is because I am chilly in my studio, but I just want it knit and able to wear it already! Garter stitch for squishy squashy warmth, cables for interest, waist shaping for femininity. Bring it on!