Posted in art, colorwork, craft, design, knitting, The Creative Process, The Design Process, yarn

What I Learned from the Swatch

A Design Idea and the Right Yarn

I’ve been dreaming of designing a top-down colorwork short-sleeved sweater, filling my Pinterest boards with images and colors that inspire me.  In the spring, I found all the colors I was looking for in a certain yarn line, only to discover that the yarn was spun too tightly for colorwork and that I didn’t like how it looked or felt for this design.

Finally I was introduced to the perfect yarn, Sunday Knits yarn by Carol Sunday.   I’m using her 3-ply yarn, with colors from three different fiber blends, Eden (100% Merino), Angelic (75% Merino, 25% Angora) and Nirvana (92% Merino, 8% Cashmere).  The yarn has a lovely hand, is available in over 60 colors, and is reasonably priced.  All of the fiber blends work well together.

Sand, Espresso, Pickle, Black, Lagoon, Melon, Earth, Carrot, Moss, Bronze, Rose, Mist
Sand, Espresso, Pickle, Black, Lagoon, Melon, Earth, Carrot, Moss, Bronze, Rose, Mist

A Swatch and What it Taught Me

I wanted to work a swatch to find out how the yarn behaves and to see how the colors would look together.

The first thing that I learned is that Sunday Knits yarn is my new favorite for colorwork!  Look how nicely the fabric lies, even before the fabric was soaked and blocked.


Next I learned that if I initially don’t like a color, such as the Rose colorway in the swatch above, knitting lots of it will never make me miraculously like it.  Why did I think that knitting more of that pale pinky-red would make me like it more?  (Just to clarify, there’s nothing wrong with the color, I just wasn’t happy with the way it looked with the other colors.)

Conversely, if I do like a color, such as Bronze, which is the cast-on and is immediately below the blue in the swatch above, even in little bits it makes me happy!

I also was reminded that I really don’t like white in a piece like this with lots of different colors – the contrast is too jarring.  I will be using Sand as the light background color in this pattern.

And finally, basic algebra is still useful!


I can’t wait to work more on this sweater!  I will keep you posted!

Two Special Surprises This Week

My friend Meg sent me custom-made knit equals joy ribbon.  How special was that?!?  I have some fantastic friends!


A friend at work had two extra yarn bowls (!) and she gave one to me!  It’s so pretty!

yarn bowl

I’m so thankful for the kindness of others!  I wish you all a wonderful week, and may you find or share those special moments of kindness!


In this blog, you will find not only an exploration of all that is good in our knitterly lives, but also a variety of posts tying together my passions for writing, photography, and my home state of Oregon.

20 thoughts on “What I Learned from the Swatch

  1. I love watching you think. I can see what you mean about both the white and that having more of something you are ambivalent about does not convince you to like it more. But, it does help you decide to like it less which is useful in its own way.

    Isn’t it nice to have a use for algebra. There haven’t been very many opportunities to use it lately in my life. I always enjoyed math.

  2. Thank you, Mary. I ran into that problem with white in a previous sweater and ended up having to fix it…wish I had remembered that before I started this swatch. Well, at least I know now, and that’s why I swatch!

    Me too – about enjoying math! 🙂

  3. Thank you for the yarn review! It’s just nice to read the blog of a serious knitter. You clearly have solid skills. This yarn sounds wonderful…I love merino wool.

    1. Thank you, Belinda! That means a lot to me. Merino wool is soooo wonderful! (I soaked and blocked the swatch, and the yarn relaxed even more and looks just lovely,)

  4. Your post makes me drool and pant! The yarn is beautiful, and you’re right, looks great even before blocking. I like the colors you’ve chosen; all those earthy tones, the sand, bronze, earth, moss, and that carrot for shazam are all right up my alley.
    I’m banned from knitting and spinning right now because I gave myself tennis elbow (a gift of a weaving class) so the least I can do is view other people’s knitting. Yours is superior; can’t wait to see what comes next.

    1. Oh, no! So sorry about the tennis elbow! Those are definitely some of my favorite colors. That carrot is awesome in person, and looks amazing next to the espresso! Thank you for your kind words and, as soon as I finish one more spa cloth, I am on to graphing the designs for this sweater!

        1. Me too. Yes, I really do enjoy the graphing. I’ve got some knitter’s graph paper and am going to try graphing some by hand tonight before pulling out the graphing software. 🙂

          1. Sounds great! I enjoy the graphic and the swatch knitting and the blocking… I know not everybody does. To me, they’re all part of the same project. Have a fun time!

  5. Informative post and great pictures to show your knit detail and the colors. I agree, the rose is pretty but not with the others you are working with. Loved the gift from your friend! 😉

    1. Yarn bowls do seem to be growing in popularity, so maybe you’ll come across more of them. Meg ordered the ribbon online from a company that will put any wording you want onto ribbon. I’m not sure what the company was but I’m guessing there are several out there.

      1. do you suppose you could find out about the ribbon company; I’d really like to find out what they use; have a reason – I’m also wondering about a friend of mine who’s supposed to start doing woodworking; he might be interested in making those bowls

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