I started a new crocheted garment this week – the Crochet Vest from the Beautiful Bamboo pattern book.
Well, “started” is a generous description. I’ve been swatching. Can you tell?
The yarn I’m using is Bernat Cottontots in Country Taupe instead of Bernat Bamboo. No particular reason – I just liked the color.
My last garment, the Flower Cardigan (with no flowers), used a half double crochet stitch pattern worked back and forth. The back and sides of the Crochet Vest use a double crochet worked back and forth. The stitch patterns for both have a common trait that I’ve decided isn’t too flattering on me. A horizontal line is evident, though subtle, with these stitches due to the inherent nature of their structure – especially when they are not mixed up with other stitches to add interest.
Since my quest is always to crochet a garment that I’ll wear, I’ll change the stitch pattern ever so slightly to one that masks this horizontal nature a little bit. I’m going with a single crochet/double crochet repeat – instead of doing every stitch as a double crochet as called for in the pattern, I’m going to do every OTHER stitch as a single crochet and the other-every-other as double crochet.
I’m swatching like crazy because I’m still deciding if this move makes sense. Here is a swatch tip – it makes perfect sense to do multiple swatches to get gauge or to test things out like I am doing with this vest. Five swatches later, you’ve blown through quite a bit of yarn. Instead of cutting the yarn after each swatch, I start over with the next swatch further down the same skein, which creates a sort of daisy chain of swatches all connected. As I evaluate each swatch for size and stitch pattern, I decide which one is the keeper, make notes, rip the whole bunch out, and redo the swatch that is representative of the garment I’m crocheting. This swatch is cut off and will be used for blocking, laundering, etc… Rewind all that pulled yarn back onto the skein and you have preserved the yarn you’ve purchased for your garment.