Saturday, January 23, 2010

on the importance of felting a swatch

oh, sh#$t!
fez or propeller beanie?

This week I learned a painful but important knitting lesson: felt a swatch!

If you're going to felt a new yarn, or a yarn other than the pattern calls for, save yourself the agony and knit up a little swatch & felt it first. How long does it really take to knit a gauge swatch and then felt it? How many years of felting have I managed to get through so recklessly?

It's true, it will delay your project by a couple of hours. But oh! the humanity. You should see the mess I've made. $30 worth of scrumptious alpaca-cashmere-merino yarn and a week and a half of my precious, precious knitting time are down the drain. That horrible fez-like thing at the top of the page is the result of my hastiness. It was meant to be a jaunty, vintage-style cloche for my sister's birthday, which by the way is tomorrow. Did I mention the agony???

This actually happened the other night, but paralysis set in, and just this morning I got back on my feet, ordered some replacement yarn (an old standby, Merino Style - forget this experimental luxury baloney) and bought my sister a stand-in trinket until her specially-ordered cloche is ready. It feels good to move on, it really does.

So the moral of the story is: don't be lazy like me. Knit, measure and felt a gauge swatch before you start that felting project, unless you're using Cascade 220 for the hundredth time and know what you're getting yourself into. I used to be one of those reckless felters, but I've learned my lesson, oh have I ever.


  1. Does anyone ever felt a swatch? Felting is so arbitrary; it's different every time for me, even with the same stuff.

    Maybe just check it earlier, more often?

    Good luck!

  2. Luckily you have a wee pea who will eventually grow into it :)

  3. You've said it!
    The one time I didn't make one it came out in doll size!
    Best of luck on the next one!

  4. Hee hee... I like the picture! I find the same thing with normal knitting - skip the swatch and disaster ensues. Somehow I have a block about knitting swatches, but I am trying to overcome it! Swatches are essential! Oh yes.

  5. yeah, the fez look is not really working for me.
    :) glad felting is not high on my list, i like it but find it frustrating. but i am sure your finished cloche will be lovely this time around.

  6. So now you have a luxury bowl to collect your trinkets in?

  7. truth! Swatching is critical, as is frequent checking. It's amazing that even different colors of the same yarn will felt so differently (& not just the well-known issue with whites!).

    But you do have a darling felted bowl / baby cloche!

  8. You have a beautiful blog and thank you for the free patterns!