Swatch it!


At the beginning of this week I also planned to work on the Zara Cowl and I had hoped to have made more progress on the project.

Instead, the whole Seattle glove re-calclulation thing took more time than I had anticipated. Also, I promised to put out the Seattle Worsted weight pattern today, but my brains are all tangled up and that is not a good thing when you need to write and proof read a knitting pattern. 

So, I am going to push that one to the coming week. Surely you will understand...

Swatching on the Large Basket Stitch

One of the things I love most when preparing for a new design is swatching. I get to play with different yarns in multiple gauges and multiple needle sizes.


It is beautiful to see how a certain yarn and stitch pattern behave together.

Will there be harmony between the two variables or will they not play nice? Will the character of a certain fiber and the character of a certain stitch pattern, match up well? Or will they decide not to unify. 

And when you throw needle sizes in the mix, it becomes even more complex. 

Let us take a look with which yarns I have swatched so far.

Here you see how Rowan's Cocoon and Debbie Bliss' Cashmerino Chunky behave in the Large Basket Stitch:


Both yarns have a drapey character and therefore a "heavy" feel to them. Debbie Bliss' Cashmerino Chunky has a more sleek appearance opposed to the fuzzy character of Rowan's Cocoon. Both yarns are undeniably luxurious in appearance.

Next up is Madeline Tosh Chunky, knitted up with needle size US15:


This plied merino yarn is fluffy and light as can be. Since this Large Basket Stitch instructs you to make multiple cables in the same row, it tends to make a thick and stiff fabric. Working with fluffy and light yarn will help to relax this knitted fabric a bit. 

And last but not least, I swatched with Rowan Big Wool on needle sizes US#17 and US#19:


The outcome is magnificent: big huge plied stitches that are directed to the left and to the right giving the knitted fabric a woven appearance. The "blocks" are swaying so beautifully and yes, it did knit up super fast. Which I thoroughly love these days.

I started the swatch with needle size US#17 and that made the fabric a bit stiffer opposed to working with US#19. And again, with this all over cable stitch pattern, you want the knitted fabric to be a bit more relaxed.

All in all, it was fun to work with all of these different yarns. It felt like we were hanging out together and getting more acquainted to each other. I love that...

Nancy, why are you writing in such detail about the design process?

Good question... Here's my answer: 

First and foremost I want to show you how much work it entails to come up with a design. Often times, the pattern is released and you have no idea what went on in the back office. I want to be as transparent as possible and show you how I work. 

Secondly, I want to reach out to anyone who is playing with the idea to design themselves. Hopefully, my posts will encourage you to try this designing part too!

Thirdly, I am simply obsessed with yarns, tools, stitch patterns and pattern writing. I simply cannot shut up about it and all these things are percolating in my head and need to find a way out. What better than to write about it on my website?

And as always, I hope you will learn from what I do here at home in my little studio. Every mistake or victory in my creative process I want to share with you.

I am putzing around in solitary and at times I don't see or talk to people in days. You, my dear reader, keep me company in my creative process and when I see that you have knitted one of my patterns, and when I hear that you have gifted that piece to a loved one, my heart bursts at the seams.

I wish you a wonderful weekend and to my American readers: Happy Halloween!




Swatch it!

Hi. Just stopped by because I was attrached to your basket stitch .... did you notice how much it looks like entrelac???  I've have been playing with entrelac lately just to get to the point where I feel comfortable with it (somewhat like how I mastered cables) and I looked at your swatch and said WOW!  Think I will look at swatching in a new way from now on.  Thanks.

Basket Stitch vs Entrelac

Hi there, thanks for stopping by.

Yes, I noticed how it resembles entrelac. I wrote about it in this post few blogposts earlier. Both Basket and entrelac have that beautiful woven appearance. 

I do love entrelac too, I have knitted Lady Eleanor twice and am getting ready to knit a third one. People would be a bit puzzled and ask me: what is that? Is it woven? Or knitted? 

You definitely will get a lot of compliments when wearing your entrelac piece! And hopefully with the basket stitch too...

Nancy, I am liking what I

Nancy, I am liking what I see.  I like the different views you give through your yarn selections.  Just off the top of your head, how do you think the burly spun would work? Sharon

Burly Spun

Hi Sharon, 

Burly Spun is a super bulky and sturdy yarn which doesn't have a soft feel. Quite the contrary, it has a 'ropey' feel to it. Since a cowl is worn close to the neck and face, softness is what you want. 

Also, since Burly Spun has a very firm and sturdy character, it will yield an even sturdier and firmer fabric when knitted in the Large Basket stitch. 

For our Zara cowl, I would not use Burly Spun. But if I were to design a bag or a mat, I would definitely use Burly Spun and knit it up in the Large Basket stitch!


Nancy, Thanks for the

Nancy, Thanks for the feedback.  Softness is definitely important when thinking of projects that are to be worn close to the neck and face.

Hi from J.

Hi, just stopped by to say hi. Your blog is interesting! Happy Halloween!

Hi J :)

Hi back at you, J! Thanks so much for stopping by. Hope you come visit often!

Love This

Thank you for such a fun swatching post, I think the design process can be so exciting, sometimes it's hard to even want to finish when you're playing with beautiful fibers! I really enjoyed this.

So happy you enjoyed this post!

Hi there! I am so happy you enjoyed this post. And yes, playing with fibers and just the swatching process itself is very rewarding...When a design is finished and you release it, it is almost as if you part with a dear friend.

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