The Design Process: Swatching

See the first post in this series here.


Isn’t this a funny-looking little bit of fabric? I knitted it up for two purposes: to check my gauge (the number of stitches per inch, used to determine how many stitches are needed to get the correct size) and to test out the short row shaping I intend to use for the hat.

I experimented with a few different ways of picking up my wraps (that’s fancy knitter talk), and determined what I don’t want to do for the hat. Some designers might keep swatching until they’re sure what they do want to do, but I like to fly by the seat of my pants. Besides, I knew that the only way to be sure the shaping would look the way I want it to is to do it–a small square will never look like a full-sized hat no matter how much I squint.

Spoiler alert: I’ve started knitting the hat! In fact, I am past all of the short row shaping! You will get to see it in the next post.

The Design Process: Inspiration

A couple of my knitting friends have asked me what the design process looks like for me. The answer is, of course, that it’s different every time. But I’m about to start work on a new design, and so I thought I’d try blogging about it as I go.417752279_rfScxqAc_c

I spotted this beauty on Pinterest and was totally smitten. Among other things, I want that hat. It’s got some similarities to one I just knitted, Regina by Carina Spencer, but although I think Regina would be beautiful in orange and brown (and I might try knitting one that way), I couldn’t shake the idea of a different hat, one shaped with short rows.

I started browsing Etsy for ideas, and came across Huckleberry Knits. She had a plummy purple on BFL (blue-faced leicester, a type of sheep’s wool) that made me swoon, listed as a light worsted; I also saw a beautiful silvery-grey on Merino (another type of sheep), listed as worsted. I sent the dyer a note asking if she thought the two yarn weights would combine well. She wrote back advising against it, and offered to send me photos of some other yarns she hadn’t listed yet in the same color ranges. I decided on two skeins of BFL, the original Huckleberry and a much darker grey than I’d thought I wanted, Charcoal (it looks bluish here, but I think that’s just the lighting). It’s stunning yarn, and such a light worsted that it’s almost DK.


Up next, I’ll swatch and make some design notes. I’m working on other patterns at the same time, so I don’t know how often I’ll update about this one–please let me know if you’re interested!