Swatch Question

I’m kind of obsessed with the thought of 12 pair of socks in 12 months idea.  I’ve been stalking the sock pages in the pattern section of Ravelry. I’ve been fingering all my sock yarn.  I’ve gotten out almost every sock book I have.

This obsession brings me to my question. When it comes to swatching for socks, I have been experimenting with the gauge of a stockinette square vs a circular swatch. I find, for me at least, that the difference is so small as to be negligible.  I was wondering if that’s true for a lot of people, or am I just deluding myself into thinking it’s true…the measurements don’t lie, though, right?

Another sock knitting question.  When you are getting ready to knit a pair of socks do you choose the yarn first and let it lead you to the right pattern or vice versa? I tend to pick the yarn first, but am working on picking the pattern and then the yarn.  I’m curious about what others do.

AHA

I’ve had it. That “Aha” moment in spinning that everyone talks about; the one where your brain and your hands start communicating about what needs to be done without any extra effort on your part; happened to me yesterday afternoon. Of course I’m no master spinner and won’t be for a long time to come, but it’s no longer a struggle for me, nor does it require the amount of preparation it did just a week ago. The night before last I ripped off a chunk of roving to pre-draft it so I could spin it. The only way I’ve been able to spin any sort of consistent yarn to this point has been to pre-draft to the point of being even narrower than pencil roving so that there was very little drafting required during the spinning process. That wasn’t a bad way to spin; anything that makes yarn at the end is “right”, but it certainly was a very time consuming way of doing it. I watch Shannon or Em spinning at knit nights or here or wherever and for them it has always seemed to effortless and I’ve been so jealous of that ability, thinking I was never going to get there. So I had the chunk of roving in my hand and I thought “what the hell, I’ll give it a shot the “real” way, at least what I think of as the “real” way. I held the roving in my right hand, used the hook to grab some fiber (rather than using a leader) and pulled a little fiber out and started to spin. It just happened. There I was holding a fat ol’ chunk of gorgeous bright blue and pink roving and drafting it pretty well. The singles are fairly consistent. There are some fat and thin places, but not as many as I expected and it’s really renewed my passion for spindling. I’ve been so anxious to get my wheel ASAP b/c I thought it would be so much easier to deal with the drafting issue with two hands free from having to spin the spindle by hand etc.. I’m still very anxious to get it, but not to get me away from spindles now, rather to add to my knowledge. I’m going to visit my mother for three weeks in Feb. and I had told TJ that I didn’t want to go without my wheel, but now I don’t care. I’ll be perfectly content to bring my spindles and lazy kate and to keep working on the skills I’ve developed. AHA!!

I’m having another really cool spinning/knitting experience today as well. I’m knitting a swatch with my own handspun for the first time ever. There’s not enough singles here to do anything else with, not even ply, but it’s been in a ball for about a month now; I took it off the spindle and balled it quickly one day when I needed the spindle and didn’t have a free one. It’s silk and it’s really pretty and it’s REALLY slubby. When I picked up the ball yesterday, I realized that it was perfectly balanced now, no twist at all when I pulled a length out and let the tension off of it. I will post a picture when I’m done playing with it. I thought that I spun really thin, but I guess I’m not a great judge. I started swatching with my Harmony needles using a US 5 and that was way to small, right now I’m up to a size 7 and I’m still not loving it. I’m just going to keep swatching with bigger needles until I’m out of yarn or until I love the result.

Exciting stuff, huh?!?!