Crazy Design Process 2

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Since I was clearly in a dramatic death spiral of indecision yesterday, I took some time to simply get back to basics: swatching!  I love swatching. It’s knitting, after all. Plus, it can be a grand experiment and who doesn’t like to experiment with yarn! It also helps me focus when I feel a bit overwhelmed with choices.

My plan was to determine needle size, check color combinations, and just generally move forward in the design process in a way that didn’t require any decision making.

I started with  US5 / 3.75mm Lykke interchangeable needles. This worked fine, so I decided I’d stay with those for the majority of the work, although I may downsize for ribbing and upsize a bit for cabling.  With the swatch lightly blocked, I got a gauge of 5 stitches per inch and 6 rows per inch.  
My swatch was 30 stitches and 30 rows for a total of 900 stitches and 10 grams (rounded up).  
Those numbers will come in handy as I start working on the specifics of my design. 
The swatching did help me focus. I easily have enough yarn for a hat and scarf. Originally, I was thinking I’d do a hat first and use some stranded colorwork, but  I really wanted to do some cable work as well.  So, I’m going to start with the scarf and do a mix of cables and intarsia 3-color cables.  The scarf will end up being about 56″ long, 8.5″ wide, and double-sided when finished.  Here are the draft charts for the cable side. 

 The color panel at left shows a partial cable panel to see the relationship.  Basically, color cables on left and gray cable panel on the right.  The back side will be all variegated stockinette.

The color cable is a simple 3x3x3 braid, all worked in stockinette on a field of reverse stockinette. The one color (gray) cable panel is a more complicated-looking ribbed cable lattice.  Together, they will be about 8.5″ wide.  I say “about” because I’ve only swatched the stockinette, not the cables.

Now, on to the math!  I’m going to be using bobbins for the 3 color cable so I need to figure out how many yards. Here’s where the swatch figures come in handy.  First, let’s figure out how many stitches per each color of the braid:

56″ x 6 rows per inch = 336 rows
336 rows x 3 stitches wide = 1008 stitches total
swatch of 900 stitches / 10 grams = 90 stitches per gram
1008 stitches / 90 per gram = 11.2 grams (call it 12 grams)
So, for each color in the cable braid (orange, green, purple), I’ll need a bobbin with 12 grams.  I think!!  I’m not sure my bobbins will hold that much, but I’ll leave that issue for tomorrow’s prep work.  
As for the gray cable panel, my crazy knit math suggests:
336 rows x 42 stitches wide = 14,112 stitches total
14,112 / 90 stitches per gram = 156.8 grams (call it 160 grams)
OMG!  I’m short a skein of gray!!  Either I need to change my pattern a bit or buy more yarn.   And, while I’m at it, I see I’ll be using up most of my variegated yarn so I’d have to buy more for a hat.  Well, that’s why I’m doing this little exercise!   Let’s see,  if I only do 2 repeats of the gray cable panel, I save 3360 stitches and 37.34 grams – nope, not enough yet.    If I decrease the length to, say, 48″ then I end up with:
48″ x 6 rows per inch = 288 rows
288 rows x 32 stitches wide (with just 2 repeats) = 9,216 stitches total
9,216 / 90 stitches per gram = 102.4 grams
Holy buckets – still not enough!  But, at least decreasing the width of this side means a corresponding decrease on the other so I will have enough variegated to do the hat as well.  I will also have tons of the orange, green, and purple left over.   I need to rethink this a bit…
OR maybe I’ll just get one more skein of gray. Plus, I’ll shorten the scarf to 48″ or so.  That will leave me enough gray left over to add some to the hat and perhaps do some fingerless gloves or something. Hmmm…  
Stay tuned for part 3 of this crazy design process!

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