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    The Story Of A Swatch

    First, if you’ve been following me on Twitter, you’ve already heard that my resolution this week is to not complain about the heat. We’re heading into an epic heat spell, and forecasters are predicting extreme crankiness.

    As I’ve said before, it’s not the heat – it’s the almost universal lack of air conditioning. You haven’t really lived until you’ve gone shopping at an un-air-conditioned Safeway when it’s 90 degrees out, as I did yesterday.

    We also had three thunderstorms in three days, which is hugely unusual for an area where you might usually expect three thunderstorms in a year. The last one was particularly impressive. For the record, here’s Brady’s Thunderstorm Face:

    cats love thunderstorms no really

    Sorry for the terrible image quality. Even though it was 7PM and the sun wouldn’t technically set until 9PM, it was as dark as late dusk.

    In the midst of all this weather drama, there’s little to do but sit at home and knit. I can only knit for about 15 minutes at a time until my wrist and fingers start aching. I think it’s not so much the injury as the lack of (knitting-related) conditioning after the two months off.

    I decided that I needed a quick fix. And with my new short haircut, I’ll need a good hat this winter. I pulled out two balls of Bunny Print from Tahki Stacy Charles, which I added to my cart at Webs because it was on sale. (That’s a red flag right there. Do those impulse yarn purchases ever go well?)

    bunny print swatch

    I had to knit this swatch over two knitting sessions, that’s how sad I am now. I washed it, blocked it, carefully labeled it, then realized that I didn’t have a hat-length pair of circular needles in the gauge I’d used for the swatch.

    In fact, the only hat-length circular needles I have were three sizes larger than the pair I used for the swatch. (Size 9, while the swatch was knit on size 6.) How crazy is that? I am unable to explain why I knit the swatch with needles I don’t have the right size to knit the finished item with.

    I tried casting on the required number of stitches using a set of size 6 DPNs, but that was never going to work. The stitches were so crowded, I could tell they would fall off the ends at every opportunity.

    So I cast my fate to the winds, took a stab in the dark at what the gauge would be for size 9 needles, and cast on stitches accordingly. Amazingly, I guessed at the gauge pretty well.

    origami rabbit

    Which makes it all the more sad that, by the time I had knit this much (three days later), it became eminently clear that I didn’t have enough yarn for a hat. Nor did I have any yarn that could even remotely look “I did this on purpose” if I used it for stripes.

    Sure I could double up some reasonably-similar Cascade 220, but come on. I’m going to wear this thing. We all know it would end up looking goofy as hell.

    So I ripped it back, wound it into a very small cake, kicked myself a few times, then tossed it all into the “to be donated” sack.

    Back to the beginning it is, then!

    9 comments to The Story Of A Swatch

    • Poor Brady, but his Thunderstorm Face makes me laugh.

    • Brady glows during thunderstorms? Damn, woman, you could make a million with that cat!

    • Gail

      Nonononononono. (To quote a particular Hollywood star who once bounced all over Oprah’s couch.)

      We’re doomed, I tell you, we’re doomed.

      Now I’m gonna go sit with the frog in your pond. Surely he understands my sorrow…..I’ll be knitting a sock, which the frog won’t understand, but I’m suspecting he has a bit of compassion….

    • Oh, I was so hoping for a happy ending!

    • Meg McG

      I could just let you borrow a pair of my needles. I have a couple extra, no big whoop. Email me your address!

    • Soooo….let me see if I’ve got this right: A knitting project requires (1) yarn and (2) needles, and yet you tried to knit a hat for which you had neither. I am very impressed.

    • You think winter is coming? Ha. Global warming, my girl. The 90 degree heat is here to stay.

      Well, maybe.

      No one had a/c back when I was growing up! And it used to routinely hit triple digits all summer long. Joy. (Well Safeway, maybe.)

      Hope the heat breaks soon!

    • Melsa

      And yet over here in Boston we’re just starting to get our normal summer weather after an entire month of rain. And it’s not nearly as hot or humid as it usually is. How people can see all these insane weather patterns – like the Northeast and Northwest practically switching climates – and still deny ANY truth to climate change is beyond me. Although today we’re supposed to get one of our usual summer thunderstorms; I hope it’s as impressive as yours was!

    • Erika

      Crazy, right? Today Seattle officially broke the high temp record, with 103F.

      Not the “high temperature for today” or “high temperature for the year” record. The “high temperature FOR ALL OF RECORDED HISTORY” record.

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