I'm making progress on my KAL with Sarah - I've now completed 5 swatches, or parts of swatches, at least. You remember my slight mathematical misunderstanding in the beginning, I'm sure - well, I did indeed complete a suitable swatch on size 11 needles in the rosy Cascade 128 Tweed.
I wanted 11 stitches in 4 inches; after washing the swatch, I got 12 stitches in that distance. No biggie, I have size 10.5 needles around the house. However, even before I washed the swatch, I could tell this swatch fabric was too loose, too limp, too almost sleazy. I didn't think size 10.5 needles would fix that. I want this pattern to be a jacket sort of thing, not a slinky form-fitting sweater.
Thinking about jacket fabric made me think of one of my most successful knitted objects, Sally Melville's Not Your Mother's Suit Coat, knit with turquoise Lopi and Artful Yarns Shakespeare held together. It made for a very firm and warm jacket, and I wear it all fall and all spring - in fact, I wore it to work today.
So, I went poking through my stash in search of yarns to pair up with the Cascade 128 Tweed, something to fill in the gaps, so to speak, in that original swatch. I came up with all sorts of possibilities, from mohair to glitz to plain wool to hand-dyed-by-me lamb's wool-and-nylon. A deep stash is a good stash.
First, I tried the Cascade with a dark blackberry Harrisville Highland weaving yarn (I think that's what it is; the cone's unlabeled). I just happen to have a giant cone of that I bought at a weaver's yard sale. The resulting swatch was OK - here are both the original swatch on top and the Cascade plus Harrisville on the bottom.
After washing, the bottom swatch measured 11.5 stitches in 4 inches. Not bad; I'm reckless enough I'd just start in on the jacket proper on size 10.5s and check the gauge after a couple of inches. But I wasn't all that fond of the blotchy effect of the darker Harrisville against the medium-value Cascade. I swatched again, this time with some slightly glitzy Cherry Tree Hill Oceania - a variegated wool boucle.
Eww. That swatch didn't last long enough to even get a decent photo. Next!
Swatch #5: the Cascade with Harrisville Orchid Line, a lovely, but discontinued I believe, mohair, silk, and wool single. After washing, 12 stitches in 4 inches. I think I like this. This is a substantial fabric, just right for a lighter jacket. Here are all three (worthwhile) swatches, with the Orchid Line combo on the bottom.
In that photo, the red of the Orchid Line stands out more than it does in real life, so you'll have to believe me that the real effect is considerably more subtle.
I did have a panicky thought, though, while I was knitting that last swatch - I think there's only 900+ yards of the Orchid Line! And this pattern needs more than that! Ack! Luckily, I was wrong; I have 1225 yards of the Orchid Line, and I need only 1040 for the DROPS jacket.
I'm casting on tonight (with size 10.5) and I've already started perusing Etsy looking for buttons.
Also, if this works, I will have used up two sweaters' worth of yarn in one FO. I may be on to something here....