I feel so grown up, not only did I swatch for Isabelle’s bag (which shall hence forth be known as Bella) last night, I also felted my swatch. Does it say something about what sort of grown up I will be that my swatch tells me lots, but not enough? Not enough to be SURE of what I am doing.
It tells me that the fabric is just as nice, if not nicer on 6.5mm needles as 4.5. There is actually less stitch definition the bigger the needles get. So my swatch helped me choose needle size and the good news is that the 6.5’s were the needles that appealed to both my lazy and stingy streaks (bigger needles = faster, plus I don’t have the right length circ in the other sizes and I don’t have 5.5 mm DPNs either). Unfortunately I was getting worried about wasting yarn by the time I got brave enough to try the 6.5mms so it is the shortest part of the swatch and I don’t know if I should trust the results.
The swatch is 27 stitches, maybe 26. I thought I had 27 but I forgot to count them again before casting off and when I counted the bumps I kept getting 26. So it started off like this: 24 rows of 4.5mm needles was 5 inches wide and 5.5cm long. Yes, I really did measure one width in inches and length in centimeters. Don’t ask. 16 rows of 5.5mm needles was 6 inches wide and 4cm long. 11 rows of 6.5mm needles was 6.25 inches wide and 3.25cms long. Note the progressive slackness of my swatching, less and less rows as I went along….
I was scared of waking Isabelle with the washer when I was done knitting it, so I tried felting it on the stove. This did not work. AT ALL. So I got desperate and whacked it in the washer - 75 degrees Celsius on cycle #7 with the quick wash button pressed in and a nappy for company, no zippered envelope was used and I think it is just about perfect:
It is now like this:
4.5mm section 3.625″/4.5cm
5.5mm section 3.875″/3cm
6.5mm section 4.25″/2.4cm
Which my calculator tells me gives the following percentages of original size after felting:
4.5mm section 72.5%/81%
5.5mm section 64%/75%
6.5mm section 68%/73%
But I don’t think I am going by percentages anyway, I think I am best off going by stitches/rows and the post felting dimensions. So here is my pattern:
use provisional cast on to cast on 3 stitches, knit 14 inches icord. Make 3 more the same.
cast on 38 stitches
knit 16 rows garter stitch
pick up 8/38/8 stitches
knit 90 rows in the round
divide icords into pairs, twist together and choose positions for handles
cast off between handle positions leaving 4 stitches for each handle insertion
graft handles on with two stitches each of the two icords overlapping
I have no idea if any of this will work, I am aiming for a bag 6 inches wide, 7 inches tall and about 1.5 inches deep with two twisted icord handles (one front, one back). Anything approximating these dimensions will do.
I forgot to mention the best part of the swatching process. I left it out on the couch overnight for Isabelle to find. I heard her exclaiming as soon as she went into the lounge and she was saying “These colours are PRETTY” all the while jabbing the swatch with her delicious little fingers.