Swatches, swatches everywhere

Swatchin’, swatchin’, swatchin’,
Get those needles swatchin’,
While swatches are a-blockin’,

That’s been my weekend…which really, isn’t a bad weekend to have. In this case I’m not working on a new design, but on the rework of Little Miss Mopsey. I’ve got several yarns that I was interested in trying out, and I wanted to figure out the stitch pattern for the fall variation. What I wanted to do was be able to recommend a variety of yarns–some easily available and commercially produced, some indie; some staple and some luxury fibers–and I can only do that if I’ve tested them and knit up samples. And that meant swatches. Especially since while the original yarn for the body was listed as a DK yarn, I’d knit it up at a worsted gauge.

First, the current spring/summer stitch pattern:

Araucania Ruca and Cascade Venezia

The first 2 yarns I picked out were Araucania Ruca Solid for the lace collar and Cascade Venezia Worsted for the body. I’ll admit it; I’ll find any reason I can to buy Venezia Worsted, a 70/30 wool/silk blend. It feels as gorgeous as it looks. And I love the feel and sheen of the Ruca. The Ruca is a fingering weight, whereas the original collar yarn was a sport weight, so it gives it more a lacy, lightweight look. I enjoy unusual fibers, and this is 100% sugar viscose.

Cascade Heritage Sock and Sierra

Then I looked for something a little more easy care and inexpensive, and I found 2 yarns I hadn’t knit with before: Cascade Yarns Heritage and Sierra. Heritage is a fingering weight wool yarn with some nylon added, which again looks lacier and blocks nicely. Sierra is an 80/20 cotton/wool blend that’s soft but sturdy; definitely a good yarn for more everyday kids’ wear. I had two good options for the spring/summer cardigan.

Then I had to work up a stitch pattern that would give me the same Swiss Dot look but without the holes for a warmer sweater for the fall. I experimented with a couple ideas (all most likely unvented, but I wanted to figure it out for myself instead of page through a stitch dictionary), and I did my testing on a great stand-by yarn:

Cascade 220 Sport and Worsted

I paired Cascade 220 Superwash Worsted for the body with Cascade 220 Sport for the collar. It’s the same look for the collar as I had with the original sample.

3IG Glenhaven Fingering and Springvale DK

I was also able to find indie yarn that very closely matched the original yarn choices. The Three Irish Girls Glenhaven Cashmerino Fingering is a merino/cashmere/nylon blend, just like with the original, although it’s a fingering weight so the collar has a lighter look. The Three Irish Girls Springvale DK, like the original yarn, is 100% merino and a heavier weight DK.

All of my choices have worked out, and Lexie’s already laid claim to the blue/tan and pink/gray color combinations…and has started asking me where her new sweater is. That’s one vote of approval!

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