Pollyanna Is a Bad, Bad Girl, er, Knitter

Hey, Anna-Liza here. I have been obsessing reflecting on all the things I just do wrong in knitting, the rules I don’t follow, and whether or not I care.

Like swatching. This is The One Big Broken Rule, that everyone knows we should do and hardly anyone does on any kind of regular basis. Really now. I can count the times I’ve seen someone swatching on half the fingers of one hand. And we all wonder, if we love to knit, why do we hate to swatch? More knitting, right? But apparently we don’t think of it that way.

I have some rules about swatching that do make some kind of sense. Like my rules about speeding … what? You don’t have them? Right. And when we break those rules, are we ever sorry. (*sigh* Just got my first speeding ticket in at least 15 years, and first one of any kind for maybe ten, except maybe for expired tags … but I digress.)

So washcloths, blankets, scarves, anything where gauge is not so important, I usually won’t swatch. I’ll see if l like the fabric in the first few inches anyway, and I’m too cheap frugal to waste yarn on keeping swatches around in little notebooks. I know you are all exactly like me in this case. None of you swatches for these things, do you? I didn’t think so. You, raising your hand in the corner — liar liar pants on fire.

Now, if it’s something really big with a really long cast-on, then I’ll swatch for a bit. But I still frog the swatch when I’ve got it the way I like it and use the yarn in the final project. Hey, good yarn can be damned expensive! Do you have any idea how much is in an average swatch? Me neither, but I’m sure it will make a few rows in my sweater.

Speaking of sweaters, or anything where the gauge is likely to make a pretty big difference, I will definitely swatch for those. Although I’m not usually too fussy about getting row gauge. So far, it’s been close enough. However, that is one of the several reasons I haven’t cast on for the Sunrise Circle Jacket yet. Yarn, check, pattern, check (I’ve had it for three years!), no satisfactory swatch yet.

I don’t swatch socks, even though gauge does make a difference. I figure the first two or three inches of leg will tell me what I need to know. Now, that did result in my first pair of socks, intended to fit me, being a little bit large. As in, Darlin’ K wears them as an extra layer over another pair when it’s really cold. Yes, his feet are a fair bit bigger than mine are, thank you for noticing! He’s a size 10; in men’s shoes, I’m a size 5. Yeppers, that gauge thing can be a bitch. One of the Yarn Goddess’s most important minions, I expect.

Then there’s the whole unholy WIPs and UFOs thing. If any of you have looked at my projects page on Ravelry, you’ll know I just can’t have only one project on the needles, and I lose interest so easily. You know, the seasons change, the kind of texture I’m in the mood for changes, I want more or less of a challenge, or maybe five minutes have gone by since I cast on.

Which might explain why, thing one, my Ravelry projects page doesn’t reflect the true state (or number) of my UFOs, and, thing two, I am desperately trying to maintain the discipline to get Eris and/or the Monkey Socks done, but I’m being severely tempted by this. And you have already read about my obsessing over these.

Hey, “Eris and the Monkey Socks” would be a great band name, don’t you think? What? I could totally be Eris!


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