Sunday, May 18, 2008

Summer Sampler Study: To Swatch or not to Swatch...

Today we are moving onto the next step of our Summer Sampler Study. If you are new to the party, please be sure to read all previous posts with the Summer Sampler label.

Here is where I suggest that you swatch. If you refer back to the first page of our project, I discussed yarn selection. I gave a simple calculation for figuring out the approximate size of your finished sampler, based on the size of your swatch. The first picture below is page three for your sampler pattern. Remember to look at your key carefully before starting, and pay close attention. Remember that my charts show you a "front view" of your knitting. Remember that you only repeat the shaded section of the row.
Here you see my gauge swatch, still pinned out. I soaked my swatch in water and used blocking wires so the edges would be relatively straight, but I could still block it out firmly. Under tension of blocking, my swatch was 4 inches wide and 4.5 inches long.
Once my swatch was dry and I removed the blocking tension, my swatch was about 3.75 inches wide and 4.25 inches long. If you go back to my original calculation, on page one, I will multiply 3.75 by 3.41, which equals 12.8 inches. This will be the width of my final piece WITHOUT the edging. The edging will add about 3-4 more inches total to the width. I will now multiply 4.25 by 17, which equals 72 inches, again, without the edging, which will add 3-4 inches. To wrap this up, my piece should be about 16 inches wide and 72+ inches long when I am done. I actually know that I will block the hell out of it when I am done, so it will actually be wider:) Please take all that information and use it as you will to assist you in selecting yarn and needles as you swatch...
Isn't my pin box cute? I got her at 99 Cent Wonder, on Saint Nicholas and 172nd Street...

I wanted to say a few words about putting samplers together. Originally, a sampler was a place to record all the fancy stitches you learned from your friends and family. By knitting them, you recorded the patterns for you future use. There were no printed volumes of stitch patterns, ready and waiting for you. Of course, we now have these wonderful collections of patterns just waiting for us to enjoy. Following are just a few of the stitch pattern collections I have in my library. All the books I am including today are still in print.

The 300 collection is Japanese, but fully charted, so you don't need to read any Japanese to use and enjoy it. It is full of mostly traditional lace stitch patterns.
The Mary Schiffmann book has some lovely traditional lace patterns, including edgings. It is in English.
This small book, by Hazel Carter, has many traditional Shetland lace patterns, In English.

Another Japanese stitch collection, this one has both crochet and knit patterns, including some unusual lace knitting patterns. In Japanese, but fully charted.
This 250 Japanese book is all knitting patterns and includes some of the most unusual and ornate combinations of lace and cables. A real beauty...In Japanese but fully charted.
These four books are the well known Walker stitch collections. No serious knitter is without them. In English and enough said...
This Mary Thomas book is full of great information for the lace knitter. Not only are there some traditional lace stitch patterns, but there is a great section on decreases which is worth the entire book, in English.

And finally, the Barbara Abbey book if full of traditional edgings and a great resource, in English.
These are just a small selection to get your creative juices flowing. There are many more, including some wonderful German books, an Estonian book and others.

I want to call your attention to the poll on the left side of the blog. I am asking your opinion on how I should post the Sampler patterns. To date, it seems like most people prefer to have the picture of the knit pattern along with the chart each week. If you have an opinion, please share it!

I will be back next week to cast-on for the Summer Sampler! Until then, swatch away...


  1. I'm confused. The instructions for the gauge swatch say a total of 3 repeats of the pattern (for a total of 48 rows in the swatch), yet your green swatch seems to only have 2 pattern repeats for a total of 36 rows. Seems this might affect final length calculations from the sample swatch.

  2. Dear Twistedspinner,
    You cast-on 27 stitches and repeat the pattern twice ACROSS THE ROW. You repeat the entire chart three times for a total of 48 rows. 27 stitches across and 48 rows long. If you read the driections again I think it will be clear.

    Your comment was a "no reply" which means I couldn't send this directly to you. If you leave an email address for me when you leave me a comment, you will always get a private reply!

  3. Why 3.41 on the width multiplier? Doesn't that cause you to do a partial repeat of the pattern? Also it looks like in your sampler photo you only did 2 repeats, not three like the instructions suggest, is that right? I ask because I am going to use larger needles and yarn and will need to do few repeats in the width.

  4. Deat Twistedspinner again!
    I now understand your question and you are correct. I made an error in the written instructions. It should read to repeat the pattern twice (24 rows) and with the 6 rows of garter at either end it will equal 36 rows. I went back and corrected that page and also page one, to keep my math in line. Note that I recalculated my finished size in the text of the post too. I love that you are keeping me in line!

  5. Dear Kim,
    The 3.41 is only a factor for you to calculate with and has nothing to do with pattern repeats. You don't know how many stitches we are casting on yet, but you can figure it out by using that factor and the 27 stitches for our swatch...You are correct about the repeats, and I fixed the pages to reflect that. That was a typo that got by me. I don't suggest you plan to modify this pattern by casting on fewer stitches, because we will be using 12 different patterns and most of the work in putting this together is getting the various patterns to work well together and keep the stitch count in order. This project won't lend itself to your modifiying it that way. Thanks for paying attention!

  6. I do indeed love your pin box - she IS very was also the first thing that caught my eye when I first skimmed this post, lol.

    Thanks for sharing all your work on this!


  7. I love your book suggestions. I have a lot of them but not all of them. I will look on in interest at the sampler stole but I have way too many irons in the fire to join in. Besides. I have to make time to knit Hecate!