As a relative newcomer to knitting, I feel like I am just now understanding the importance of swatching. I've known of the importance for awhile, but I just didn't get it. I guess when all you're knitting is scarves and iPod cozies from your own made-up patterns, swatching in not crucial. I also bought a lot of acrylic yarn that I found at Hobby Lobby and Michaels (I still buy yarn thee, just a lot more selectively). When I first heard about swatching, there were two obstacles I faced. One: I worried that if I "wasted" yarn on a swatch, I would run out for the intended project. Two: I didn't have the patience to start with a swatch: I just wanted to start my project BADLY.
But now as I move on to hats, mittens, sweaters, etc. and spend more money on finer yarn, I get it. I don't worry about running out of yarn anymore. I either buy enough from the start or I tell myself it's just another reason to buy more yarn : ) And even though I am not a process a knitter (which surprises me since I enjoy the process of so many other pursuits) I am trying hard to incorporate some time and reflection into my process.
Kendall Mittens: Now that I have my intended pattern nailed down I can play with yarn choices. I made three swatches today with some Patons Soy Wool blend. I did three needle sizes: 8, 6 and 4. I think 6 is the ideal. I do like the way the yarn feels, but it's a hand wash. I had convinced myself that Kendall's mittens and hats should be machine-washable, but so far I have been dissatisfied with the yarn selections I have in my stash that are m-w. I could go to the yarn store, but I know I will just get overwhelmed and spend a lot of money and come home with a lot of yarn that is everything but what I need for the Kendall project.
Kendall Hat: I found in my stash some pink Bernat alpaca blend. I knitted a swatch on some size 8 bamboo needles that I forgot I had. They came from my only-bamboo-needle phase that followed my plastic phase that I was started on by my Aunt Nancy. I thought that I didn't like bamboo anymore, but I guess it really depends on specifics. These were Crystal Palace and very slick; I really enjoyed them. Even though I'm feeling doubtful about this 18-inch head measurement, I went ahead and cast on with the alpaca. It's really soft but also hand wash - oh well. I started off thinking I would make the umbilical cord hat since I never have, but I keep picturing how Kendall looked in the sherbert hat I made her and I decided to switch to the Kittyville hat. In Stitch and Bitch it's for adults, but with an 18-inch head, it needs only minor adjustments. So that's off and rolling.
Cashmerino Silk iPod Cozy: Kind of stalled out. I'm too lazy to bring my iPod to the couch and check the size. It's really close to being finished - suck it up!
Blue and Brown Boy Bonnet: Started the nape decrease today. Nothing major. Dreaming about combining all of my scraps of Sublime Organic Cotton into one beautiful blend of a bonnet.
Spring Booties: I hadn't worked on these in so long that I thought I had frogged this project, but then I found the one finished bootie. I really want to master the pattern because I LOVE the way the booties look, but that half-brioche stitch is really hard for me! I haven't yet cast on the second bootie, but I foresee it happening within the week.