Sweater Knitting: Swatching

sweaterknitting
I only ever wrote one post in my sweater knitting series and decided it was time to bring that back and hopefully do more regularly scheduled posts about it since sweater knitting is my favorite and I still has so much more to learn. But today for this Friday I really have more of a question…
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How often do you swatch?

I will be the first to admit that I feel like swatching is such a pain, when I’m ready to go I want to get started but it’s a necessary evil. I don’t want to spend all my time knitting a sweater that ultimately doesn’t fit and I’ve had a couple of mishaps early on with ill fitting sweaters becaus I just didn’t pay enough attention to knitting a gauge swatch or two to find the right needle for the project. And creating gauge swatches also lead me to consider using different weights of yarn and needle sizes to achieve gauge but get a different fabric. A perfect example is my Colorblocked Boyfriend Cardigan.
Colorblocked boyfriend sweater
The original pattern had a gauge of 16 x 22 stitches for a 4×4 inch gauge on size 8 needles. I got the same results using dk weight yarn and size 10 needles. It created a lighter fabric with a bit more drape to it which is exactly what I wanted. So do you always make a swatch before you get started on a large project? I’m curious to hear what you all do.

FO: Four Color Fable Cardigan

Um…have I mentioned how much I love sweater knitting? I was getting a little sad thinking of how the cooler temps were going to leave soon and then I was reminded of all the cotton yarn that was coming to my local yarn shops. HOORAY! But I think my Four Color Fable Cardigan will carry me into early spring.
Four color Fable cardigan
I finished this on Saturday and wore it on Sunday and Monday. Yeah, I love this sweater. One of the big reasons why I love it so much…
Four color Fable cardigan
I added pockets! I was excited to knit a seamed sweater because I could just have a pop of color with the stripes on the front panels and not have to juggle stranded colorwork. And since I was seaming this sweater I decided I would add pockets at the side seams when I attached the sleeves and the side of the body.
Four color Fable cardigan
Since there were big stripes it was easy to line up my seaming so I stopped the side seam before the last two stripes on the body. Then I seamed it from the bottom ribbing up to the stripe. Above is a pick of the sweater seamed laying flat on a table. You can see the bump of the pocket but it’s pretty hidden.
Four color Fable cardigan
I used the same pocket style from my Agnes sweater, I picked up stitches around the pocket seam (about 50), knit one round, purled one round (so it looks nice and clean) and then knit in the round decreasing occasionally until I had a pocket deep enough to throw my hands in. I finished it off with a three needled bind-off. And there you have my pocket perfection. I still need to tack the pocket to the inside of the sweater at the ribbing but that would require me not wearing it, right?
Four color Fable cardigan
My only real issue that always seems to be an issue is that I think my shoulders are a bit broad for shawl collars. I tacked down the collar in the back but you can see my collar doesn’t really give a good fold over on the front. I also stink at button bands being perfectly straight (how do people do that?!) but neither bother me though, it’s still a warm and super soft sweater. I used the Knit Picks Mighty Stitch yarn in worsted weight again.
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And these were the final options for buttons. I asked everyone for help on the glass and wood buttons and that same day at lunch I found green wood buttons that won out. It was the best of both worlds and my button stash just earned two new sets (I love buttons, they are my favorite finishing touch).
Four color Fable cardigan
And just because I was photographing this for the blog I threw on a Yards of Happiness t shirt I made myself a while ago when I got my Silhouette cutting machine. The sparkly green lettering was a nice match to my green stripes. I love this cozy sweater so much and now I want to add pockets to everything! I’m now transitioning over to knitting some baby items for friends but I’ve got a test knit I’m going to start and hopefully finish before the month is out and then perhaps it’ll be a few shawls and some cotton weight sweaters in the future. We shall see but I just don’t see my love of sweater knitting ending even when the cold weather does.

Stitching Status: Four Color Fable

I totally wanted to share my Trail Jacket but with a sick husband and a sick dog I just haven’t had the time to take proper photos. I’m hoping to get some time over the weekend. So instead I thought I’d share the status of what I’m currently working on and hoping to finish this weekend.
Fable in progress
These are the pieces to my Four Color Fable cardigan. This is the first seamed sweater I’ve done in a while. I finished the sleeves Thursday night and they’re drying after I blocked them so I seamed the shoulders and started the shawl collar/button band while I wait for the sleeves to dry.
Fable in progress
I bought this pattern a while ago with the intentions of making a neutral color cardigan that I could wear all the time and I kept getting bored thinking about making it all one color…because I’m me and I love color. So I kept putting this project off. And then one day I saw an old episode of How I Met Your Mother and the character Lily had on a navy blue sweater coat and the front panels were large blocks of color and I said to myself that’s what Fable is going to become. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I’m not required to make a neutral. I can make whatever I want.  I actually ordered the turquoise and apple green color along with cream and orange but when it came I had a ball of the green Mighty Stitch Worsted out and decided it would be a cardigan of shades of blue and green. I’m really loving the final results. From the back it will look like it’s a solid navy blue sweater but the front will give an entirely different vibe. I’m also considering adding pockets at the side seams when I add in the sleeves. I feel like it needs pockets. My next choice is what buttons!?! I didn’t take a picture but I picked up two sets of buttons, these green glass looking buttons and these textured wood buttons. Which would you choose to put on a navy blue button band?