These days, I am a 'process knitter'. All my ideas need to be swatched over and over before I decide what is and what isn't.
'Le Grand Plaid' is keeping me busy. I realize this project is not exactly a page turner for blogging. However, I share with you my Swatch #2 and Swatch #3.
By choosing the double-knitting technique for my stranded squares I have to live with the rectangular shape of my once square chart. I have accepted this and decided upon using 4.5mm needles which gives my piece the desired firmness. I have not blocked this yet and I am hoping to stetch it upward enough to get back some if not all of the intented shape of this 'square'.
The third swatch is the lovely textured piece called 'Point d'Astrakan'. (My pattern is indeed from France). I love texture. I get weak in the knees over seed stitch so this piece of knitting is like hot butter on a biscuit.
For this swatch, I used 5mm needles and increased my stitches by 26 just to match the new width of the partner stranded piece. In the pattern, the textured pieces are rectangular and are alternated throughout the blanket. My 'Astrakan' piece is much wider than high then the magazine photo would suggest but I decided to run with it because it takes forever to knit. Three stitches knit into one stitch every second stitch...ack! But it's pretty.
Okay, so next up, the casting off of double-knit pieces. I use two short circular needles (knitpicks) and I string up my stitches with all the knits facing me on the front circ and all the purls facing me on the back circ. Then, with a darning needle and main colour (ecru) long tail of yarn, I 'kitchener stitch' the piece closed. I don't know about you, but 'kitchener stitch' is easy yet I cannot for the life of me remember how to start so I always refer to my resource material for this step. Every time. I know.
The compendium of Finishing Techniques by Naomi McEneely is full of cool needle art tricks to make your projects unique. There is also an article about reinforced buttons like the way I finished my Sheep Vest recently.
Lots of good stuff inside including a reminder of how to do 'Kitchener Stitch'. My very good friend.
I am working on a pair of socks too. I had to frog the nearly finished first sock when we couldn't get it on my sons foot after school yesterday. That swatch was a dirty liar!