Wednesday, February 1, 2012

New York Part 3 - Learning to Love the Swatch

Learning about sleeve placement.
So I realize it has been a bit of a gap between blog posts with my visit to Toronto but I really wanted to blog about my last day in New York!  It was such an amazing class with Lily Chin that I just have to share!  It was a full day on learning how to adapt any sweater pattern to make it fit and adapt the sleeves and neck.  But basically I left having learned how to design a sweater.

The biggest thing I took away from this class is the importance of swatching.  I will be the first to admit that I dislike swatching immensely and when I have a new project I just want to dive right in!  But I have been converted.  I used to knit just enough so I could see if I got the right gauge.  But there is so much more it can tell you!  I'm sure this isn't news to many of you but I was impressed with how much swatching helped with getting a better idea of how the garment would fall.  Part of my homework was to do a variety of different swatches with cables, colorwork, ribbing etc. and it was very effective in illustrating how every pattern with different yarn is going to hold differently.  So doing a large swatch can help you really get a good idea of the drape, elasticity and in the end also fit.  This helps a great deal if you are substituting a different fibre than what is recommended in the pattern.  If you are substituting alpaca for wool then how the garment is going to drape will be very different!  So I am convinced now.  Bigger swatches with parts of the pattern (i.e. cables etc.) are in my future.  I think it will lead to greater knitting satisfaction in the long run.

Another great suggestion from Lily Chin - take your favourite sweater and take the measurements.  This way you have a base for what you like wearing including how much ease you actually like!  I really like my sweater to hit just below my belt.  So when she suggested doing the measurements a light bulb went on in my head!  So simple and yet I had never thought of doing that to adjust a sweater I was knitting.

A very fun and informative class.  Lily Chin was an incredibly fun and dynamic teacher.  She had us all take off our shirts to get our proper measurements.  I certainly did not expect to spend some time in just my bra while learning about knitting.  What we do to make sure our knitting fits perfectly!

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