As I make my way to lovely College Station Texas today, I wanted to talk a little about my own swatch, and the process from swatch to design. My process goes something like this:
- Start by spending some quality time with your swatch. After you’ve washed it, take a few minutes just holding on to it. Move it in your hands, close your eyes. Pick three words that describe the way it feels. What do those words say about the sweater your swatch wants to be?
My swatch is: Thick, soft, and a little heavy. It wants to be warm, close to the skin, and given structure. The color is warm and comfy rather than dressy or sophisticated.
- Try to translate those words into a sweater. Think about your favorite sweater that incorporates those words, or imagine one if you don’t have one. Sometimes, the answer slides into place instantly and you know exactly what to knit. Sometimes, less so – and you need to spend more time thinking.
Here, I struggled. Because the sweater that came to my mind was actually a sweatshirt. Thick and structured, but infinitely soft and comfortable. Relaxed. It took me awhile to think about a sweatshirt as something that could be special… …but I got there eventually.
I want my sweater to be the best sweatshirt that has ever existed. Something cozy, and a bit slouchy, but still flattering and stylish. Something plain. Something you throw on with everything, day after day, because it just keeps getting better against your skin. Comfort, in sweater form.
- If you find yourself struggling, imagine your swatch bigger, about two feet square. What would it feel like, on your body? What would you want to wear it with?
After imagining my swatch at scale, I added a small touch of subtle interest, and chose an average fit for the structure of a closer garment.
I cast on on the plane this week and have been happily knitting on it (bit by bit, around other projects).
I can’t devote single-minded attention to my sweatshirt, but that’s okay. It’s going to be with me for a long, long time. Because it’s going to be clothing that’s worthy, of me and my craft. I can be patient for that.
What is your swatch saying to you?