The Things Knitters Do
What on earth is that in the photo, you ask? Some sort of pile of scraps organized in plastic bags? Hmmmm ...
Why, they're swatches, of course! And lots of them. Each of those bags contains quite a few swatches.
At first glance you might think that I'm an organized knitter who has carefully retained my gauge swatches over the course of many, many, many projects. Of course, if you happened to know me you would know that I am anything but an organized knitter. I am the sort of knitter who makes critical notes in the form of indecipherable scribblings and hash marks on the backs of envelopes and post-it notes. I am the sort of knitter whose needles are scattered about the house, tucked away in a dozen different places, most often with matching pairs separated from one another. I am the sort of knitter who tosses yarn labels away with reckless abandon, leaving a trail of odds and ends of unidentifiable yarn in my wake.
No, what you see in the photos are not retained and categorized gauge swatches.
Despite my casual and occasionally reckless approach to knitting, I will say that I am reasonably organized about one little hobby of mine. That is what you see in the photo. They are swatches, yes. But they are not gauge swatches, with purpose and intention. They are random stitch swatches, whipped up at various times with odds and ends of yarn.
When I see a stitch that interests me, I often get the urge to knit up a swatch. I want to see firsthand how the stitch looks. I want to feel whether it has a good bit of give or whether it's more structured. I want to know if the resulting fabric is thick and sturdy or fluid and drapy. I want to see what it looks like on the reverse.
For a long time, I satisfied my desire to swatch stitches by knitting a swatch, examining it and satisfying my curiosity, and then unraveling it. Some time ago, however, I became more organized (very unlike my usual knitterly style!) and began making note of where I found the stitch and tucking the swatch away for future reference.
And so now, on days like today, I can rummage through them searching for a stitch or two to meet my needs.
My need today is a new hat design. I recently shared with you the Hot Waffles Hat I knit for my husband. He quite liked this hat. He wore it daily for a few weeks.
And then the devil possessed my little angel, who proceeded to tear the hat to shreds when it was left sitting on the sofa.
Much as I love the Hot Waffles Hat, I've made three now and am not much in the mood for another.
And so off to the swatch pile I go.