designing, The Swatch

A finished “swatch”.

Before we begin, a PSA for y’all:

If it is 82 degrees in your house, and your hands are sweaty, for the love of all that is good, DO NOT attempt to repeatedly rip out bind-offs and reknit portions of your sweater. You know what happens when you mix wool with heat, moisture, and friction, right?


I was able to cut off the partially-felted first attempt at a neckband and fix it this morning, with only minimal fuzzing of the edge where stitches were picked up, thankfully, but save yourself the tears and don’t even try it in the first place.

And now we return to our regularly scheduled programming. The Swatch has been finished:

done! [365.348]

Pattern: My own. Tentatively calling it “Garter Whimsy”, an allusion to the name of the quilt Chawne is making me.
Yarn: Cascade 220, in Sapphire Heather. Less than 4 skeins (yes, really!).
Needles: Size 8 Denise Circulars and Harmony dpns.
Time to knit: Exactly 2 weeks (May 8th-May 22nd).

I quite pleased with it, despite all of last night’s frustration with the finishing. And it totally served its purpose; I figured out what worked and what didn’t work, and which measurements I need to ask for, and now feel quite prepared to knit a sweater for C. How about some more pictures?

waist shaping

Garter stitch (and particularly garter rib) is sort of the star of this sweater, even though the bulk of it is knit in stockinette. I did waist-shaping on the outside of a column of garter rib, which worked beautifully…you get the nice look of waist-shaping along with some stretch at the sides for comfort. I realize I’m a scrawny little thing, so maybe I’m wrong in thinking this, but I suspect this would be especially nice if you’re not as scrawny as I am.

wrist detail

(I also like the look of the neckline before I added the garter ridges, as in this photo). This is the detail I used at the wrist; it’s an i-cord cast-on, followed by some garter eyelet. I adore it. C wants more garter rib at the wrist of her sweater, though, and I’m happy to oblige, since I love that, too :)

back view

The back of the sweater, where you can see a bit of the seamless set-in sleeve shaping, which was a modification of the (rather terse) directions given in EZ’s Knitting Workshop. I didn’t want to steek the v-neck (I was worried it would add bulk), so I altered the in-the-round directions to knit from one edge of the V around the back to the other. It was a bit of brain-twister, and of course, I figured out a better way to handle the very tops of the sleeve caps after I’d bound off and woven in the ends, but it’s ok…I’ll do it the better way on C’s sweater!

sitting on the porch

I’m quite pleased with this sweater! It’s not perfect, but for a sweater that was really meant to be a swatch, it’s pretty darn good. I’m utterly shocked at how little yarn it took: well under 4 skeins! I’m so tempted to pick up 4 more skeins of Cascade 220 in the Webs sale while it’s cheap so that I can knit myself another one of these, since it’s such a nice basic sweater (and we all know how much I love my nice basic sweaters, given the last post!). I’m considering putting together a pattern for this, once I’ve knit C’s. The idea would be to make it a little bit mix-and-match, with instructions for different detailing at the wrist and neck, since C’s is going to have different detailing at the wrist and neck, anyway, and I want to try out a minimalist neckline like the unfinished one I had before the Great Accidental Felting Incident of 2009, too. If you’d be interested in me taking the time to write this one up as a pattern, let me know!

21 thoughts on “A finished “swatch”.”

    1. I am SO behind on comment replies, sorry! Thanks! I think I will wear it fairly often. I’m actually already plotting knitting myself a second one, with the more minimal neckline finishing.


  1. It looks cute! Nice to know you can get a small sweater from four skeins of Cascade 220. I love the rib detail at the waist (and the shaping). It looks very flattering.

  2. It looks great! So simple, yet so flattering. I am also a fan of the garter rib. And I would love a pattern, though at the rate of my knitting, there’s no hurry.

    1. (I’m so behind on my comment replies, sorry!)

      Thanks so much! I’m definitely planning to write it up, but it will probably be awhile, given that I’ve got a lot on my plate this summer, but knitting and otherwise.


  3. Looks great, cant believe it only too 4 skeins of cascade! Fits you so well. I really like the detail in the cuffs and the rib down the sides.

  4. best swatch ever! :) It’s seriously such a great fit. And I’ve been tempted by that cheap cascade ever since that sale has been going on. It’s such a great yarn.

  5. I think that is the nicest “swatch” I have ever seen! The design of your sweater is great! Just enough little details to really cut it above the rest while still being casual enough for everyday. Your friend is going to love hers!

  6. the cuff detail is very nice–but I really like the simple neckline. I’m totally in to basic sweaters, too, and anything that will eat some of my ill-gotten WEBS booty is a win in my book (how could I resist all that Cascade 220? why do they tempt me so? why do I have . . . a lot of Cascade 220 now?)

  7. Ooh, I very much like that sweater (and I’m with you about the simple neckline — it’s beautiful and classic). The cuffs are beautiful, too! I would knit at least one of those :)

  8. I love your sweater, and would definitely be interested in knitting one if you wrote up the pattern! Your last post was also a great read.

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