Friday, April 17, 2015

Whoops: Battleship, or, I Knit a Tent

I did something very bad. This is something that I always warn people not to do, because the consequences are very real. I am aware of this, and I conscientiously chose to go forward anyway.

I started knitting a top without swatching, and it is way too big.  Part of the luxury of being a fast knitter is that I can go ahead with something knowing that it will blow up in my face. I knew the top was going to be way to big, so once there was enough of it knit to make it worth trying on, I moved it from the needles to waste yarn and threw it in the sink for a bit.


As I predicted, it grew. A lot. This is a 50/50 linen-cotton blend, so I knew it was going to have a lot of horizontal stretch once blocked. And it does. So this weekend, I'll rip out what I have so far and start again with smaller needles.

I'm prepared to hear everyone telling me I should have known better, and that I should have swatched, but I promise, I had very good reasons for forgoing a swatch:

1. This is just for me. No deadlines, no worries, it will get done when it gets done, and it's all mindless stockinette, mostly in the round. It's not really going to make too much of a difference to start over from this point.

2. Swatches lie. When something is really big, the weight of it will pull the fabric in ways that the swatch doesn't always predict.

3. I would have had to knit a very large swatch to account for the change in fabric over size (like, eight inches square or greater). And given the nature of this yarn, even that swatch would have lied.

4. Because of the need for such a large swatch, it only took a little more time to knit the whole upper part of this top and try it on than it would have to get a big enough swatch and to consider it carefully before moving forward.

5. So, one might argue that I was, in fact, being a responsible knitter by recognizing a swatch wouldn't give me enough information and therefore skipping it. I'm going to go with that.


12 comments:

  1. Ooh, ouch! At least you hadn't spent too much time on it. I'm not a big swatcher as I don't make a lot of garments, but am considering this a warning! Wishing you merry weekend knitting! :) x

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    1. Ha! There are a lot of reasons to swatch every time, but I knew the swatch wouldn't show me exactly how much this was going to stretch-that's well over a foot of positive ease there!

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  2. haha I love this!

    I don't swatch either (: I guess we like to live dangerously

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    1. I've gotten a lot better than I used to be- I'll swatch most of the time, and always for garments (except this once). You don't get hilarious WIP pictures like this without taking a few risks, though :)

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  3. Lol... this made me laugh when I saw it on Instagram! I don't swatch either, but tend to choose projects where gauge doesn't matter, or ones where I can stick to a formula and know it'll work (like socks!)

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    1. There's a lot to be said for knowing when you need to swatch (I know some people say you should swatch all the time, but I think there's wiggle room). I know I started swatching a lot more once I started knitting garments!

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  4. Ha!! Funny!! I always regret it when I don't swatch but you wouldn't believe how often I just charge into a knitting project!!

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    1. I completely understand-swatching's not usually very fun, and it takes away time from knitting on the fun new project!

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  5. This is exactly what happened to my Sperry sweater, it was also of tent like proportions. With the big difference being that I am NOT a speedy knitter, so I really should've known better.. Your reasons for not swatching sound perfectly valid to me! To only reason I usually have is that I am lazy and of the optimistic kind that just hopes for the best.

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    1. It's a fine line-everyone skips swatching sometimes, and we all know better, deep inside ourselves. It's heartbreaking though, when we put hours and hours into something only to have to rip it all out.

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  6. Oh, no! But what can I say? I am not a swatch knitter....and hardly ever make any.... Frogging a sweater and starting over is easier than making a swatch, for some reason ;)

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    1. Because sweater knitting is more fun than swatching! (Even if you have to knit the sweater twice!)

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