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.
- How wide is the cable pattern?
- What is the drape of the fabric like? (this swatch has been made large enough to give a good idea
- How will the button band work?
- What type of button holes will I use? How big will the buttons need to be (so I can get shopping!)
- What is the ribbing like? How much stretch does it have?
- 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.
- How do the different stitch patterns interact with one another? Does the cable pull the garter stitch?
- 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”!
- 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!
- 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!