Monday, August 22, 2011

What I've been doing

It's been a while since I've posted here, so I thought I'd do an update on what I've been doing.

Swatches.

Lots and lots of swatches.

Swatching away.

These are for the crochet instructor's course I'm working on. There are several parts that I have to work with. A Teacher's Handbook (not pictured), the course binder and the lessons, which you can just see under the yellow and pink swatches on the left. I've been trying to stick to the same type of yarn and range of colours, unless something is specified, to keep it cohesive looking. That's just my own thing. Plus, since I'm doing this as a Michael's instructor, I am sticking to yarns I get from Michaels.

Throughout the course book, there are a number for Teacher Samples to make up. Those are the ones you see on the right. Following the patterns and instructions in the book, a lot of them are quite small; about 4 inches square, maybe.

Then I have to do the same stitches for my lessons. These require re-calculating the gauge to make 5 inch swatches (though with some diamond shapes, the 5 inches refers to the widest row). With 5 inch swatches, I am them supposed to give the gauge for 1 inch, in stitches and rows. I've been able to switch up hook sizes for most of them to get a nice round number in that 1 inch, but for some patterns, it's just not possible. That shell stitch, for example, starts with a chain in multiples of 6 + 1. Counting the turning chain, the pattern always works up to an odd number of stitches in each row. I can figure out how to make it a 5 inch swatch easily enough, the total number of stitches in each row will never work out to be divisible by 5. That means the gauge works out to include fractions of stitches, no matter what. :-P If I were writing a pattern and needed to give the gauge, I would never break it down to 1", but use whatever number of stitches works out into a round number. If I were to look at a pattern for something I wanted to make and saw a gauge of "3.6 dc = 1 inch" I wouldn't buy the thing.

This is just partway into lesson three for the first level. After taking this shot, however, I discovered a mistake I made with the shell stitch swatch you can see in pink. I'd accidentally read the wrong line and used worsted weight instead of sport weight. I caught it when working on the next sample, which was the one that is supposed to be done in worsted weight. I've reworked it since.

I don't really like doing swatches. They are very important for gauge if you're doing something fitted. They are great for practising stitch patterns. They are not a step to skip. I still don't like doing them. My problem with them has more to do with my frugality. *L* They seem like so much wasted yarn! When doing swatches for a project, I'll make up the swatch, without cutting and finishing off the yarn. Then I'll figure out any adjustments I may need to do to get the right gauge, then undo the swatch and use the yarn in my project. I look at my pile of watches and, while I'm quite pleased with how they look, I can't help but wince. I tell myself that they will remain useful as references later, so it's not really wasted yarn. Especially the teaching aids.

Eventually, I'll believe myself. ;-)

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