Swatch Diaries: Searching for Sweater-worthy Cables

Forge + Cables = Love

Way back when our worsted-weight Forge was a twinkle in our eyes, its mandate in life was clear: we love hats, we love scarves, we love accessories of all stripes, but first and foremost, we're sweater knitters, and we wanted a yarn that would make the cabled sweaters of our dreams as eye-catching and wearable as our, well....dreams. Our early swatching experiments led us to really love the stockinette fabric Forge makes on US 7 / 4.5 mm needles, which tend to produce a gauge somewhere in the environs of 19-20 stitches per 4" [10 cm]. Similarly, at that needle size, we loved how Forge's balance of roundness and delicate halo makes for a fabric that feels cohesive and soft, but still yields cables that seemingly "pop" off of the background fabric. 

At that gauge, Forge is great for a number of cabled applications: hats, sleeves, cardigans (particularly if they're done in pieces and seamed), and you'll see a number of our pieces from our early collections that come in about this way (see, e.g., Felton, Fulton, Middagh, etc.) This makes sense: because the fabric is a little on the sturdier side, it's more durable for applications that involve more taking off and putting on, and prioritizing stitch definition over drape is okay when you're working on fabric that isn't going to need to fit gracefully over, well, curvier body parts. Cables, by definition, make fabric denser, and this is totally fine a lot of the time, but you usually want to put it in some place where it doesn't have to fit closely over something that curves.

Felton concentrates its cables on the back, bands, and sleeves, where the added sturdiness doesn't impact fit as much.

But in a quiet moment this spring, I started thinking about those kinds of garments that need a little bit more drape because of where the fabric is going to sit on your body—namely, the bodies of pullovers. I'm not shy about my desperate love for sweaters in Weld, but a densely-cabled fingering weight pullover is no small undertaking, and I'm deeply committed to designing things that are practicable to knit and to wear, and I know that for huge segments of the knitting population, sweaters are a DK-weight-and-heavier proposition. One obvious solution was to confine the cabling to a narrower portion of the sweater, allowing for plenty of stockinette fabric to either side of a panel of cables, allowing for more drape to the sides of the body (my Summit pullover is an example of this approach). But I had a light-colored, allover-cabled pullover stuck in my head for this fall, and I wondered: is there a way to make this work in Forge?

So, I started swatching, first in stockinette, and then playing with some of the cables from my fantasy pullover on US 8 / 5.00 mm needles (giving me a gauge of something like 17-18 stitches over 4" / 10 cm in stockinette), and was delighted with the results. I lost a little bit of height and dimensionality to the cables, but that's exactly what I was looking for: we're talking about cables that you'll wear right across the middle of your body, where most of us don't want a super thick, highly three-dimensional fabric. Giving the fabric a little extra room to bloom added a ton of drape and air to the fabric, and allowed the cables to flatten into a kind of overall embossed texture with the kind of ready-to-wear-inspired vibe I'm always looking for. So far, so promising.

There's a lot of daylight coming through my blocked swatch, but that's just what I was looking for.

Part of my search for drape was finding the right needle size (and I went on to swatch with US 9s as well, but that was too holey), but it was also about how I blocked my swatch. You've probably heard that you should block your swatch how you plan to block your garment, and that's absolutely true: the goal of swatching is to give you a realistic take on what your finished object is going to be like, and if you're going to wear it on your body, I certainly hope you're planning to wash and shape it at some point. But, how do you do that for sweaters? The answer is, it depends a little bit on the sweater:

  • For cabled sweaters (or anything heavily textured), I usually pin my swatch out relatively aggressively, because cables bunch a lot as you knit and I'm trying to get the fabric to be relatively flat (again, being conscious of the extent to which I do or don't want a thick fabric on my body).

  • For stockinette sweaters, I may not pin, or pin very lightly.

  • For lace (which I don't personally do very much), I'm likely to pin aggressively to open up the fabric.

Everyone's got different theories about how they like to actually wet their fabric (or steam it, I suppose)—rinseless wool wash, water only, cold water, hot water, etc., etc. We've tried a lot of options for Forge and Weld, and here's our favorite:

  • Fill a bowl with warm water and a squirt or two of Dawn dish soap (yes, regular old Dawn dish soap).

  • Soak your swatch (or your FO) in there for 20-30 minutes, then drain the water.

  • Gently squeeze (without twisting or pulling) water out of your swatch or FO, and then refill the bowl with clean water to rinse.

  • Squeeze your swatch out one more time, then dry (I like to roll mine sandwiched between two towels).

  • Pin as applicable and allow to dry. Your swatch will shrink back some after you remove the pins, so let it settle for at least a few hours before you try to make any measurements.

Here's my swatch, pre-blocking, which is super different, and would have given me a very different sense of what the sweater was going to be like.

Ultimately, swatching is all about experimentation. I like to think of it as if I was doodling with yarn instead of a pencil, getting into that same kind of flow state of playing with new textures and ideas. And remember: your first goal is not to "match gauge," but to get a fabric that you like for the kind of object you're making. And don't be afraid to try something a little unusual: you might just open up a whole new set of possibilities for the kinds of projects a yarn might grow up to be.

73 comments

  • Posted on by Franka Aurora

    In recent years, cryptocurrency has become increasingly popular, not just among tech-savvy individuals, but also mainstream investors and businesses. The allure lies in its ability to bypass traditional financial institutions, providing users with more control over their money. Additionally, the potential for high returns on investment has attracted many who seek to capitalize on the volatile nature of cryptocurrencies. With great anticipation, you’ve seen the value of a promising cryptocurrency increase after investing your hard-earned cash in it. But then an unexpected catastrophe happens. Your money disappears out of thin air if your digital wallet is compromised. Unfortunately, many cryptocurrency fans can relate to this situation all too well. In my quest to recover the lost cryptocurrency, the heroic wizard employed the magical art of digital forensics. Equipped with mystical tools and techniques, they traced the nefarious activities of the hackers. By unraveling the cryptic chain, the wizard was able to follow the money and unearth the hiding places of the stolen cryptocurrency. Upon entering the battlefield, the wizard conducted a meticulous evaluation of the cyberattack’s impact. They left no stone unturned in assessing the damage caused and determining the best course of action to reclaim what was rightfully mine. Similar to the internet’s version of a mystical genie, Daniel Meuli Web Recovery focuses on finding lost bitcoins rather than fulfilling wishes. These guys are the ones to contact if you’ve ever found yourself cursing your fate and hoping for a solution while staring at a depleted bitcoin wallet. They are now the preferred option for bitcoin recovery due to their experience and track record of accomplishments. Call. Telegram (@) Danielmeuli

  • Posted on by Shea Forleo
    LOST RECOVERY MASTERS ARE VERY CONSISTENT AND RELIABLE HACKERS, THEY SAVED MY FAMILY.

    The Lost Recovery Masters Group of Hackers saved Me from my cheating husband. My husband had a family outside our Marriage and had been spending my money on them.. I became suspicious at a point due to his late calls privately and his frequent money asking habit which he was using to fund his family. I got fed up and had to seek a Hacker to spy on his phone and to my disbelief this group proved my suspicion was correct. The Hackers got me proof of his message and calls including the address of his other family where he was spending some quality time when I was at work. if you need such services reach them through;
    Website https://lostrecoverymasters.com/
    What’sapp +44(7537)-105921
    Support team Mail Support@lostrecoverymasters.com

  • Posted on by Melony
    LOVE SPELL TESTIMONY

    Thank you so much DOCTOR ODUNGA for making my ex boyfriend come back to me. I am writing this wonderful testimony in respect of this man. He made all my wishes come true. My boyfriend and I dated for more than 3 years and although we had had so many quarrels we never thought of a break up. One day, he called me over the phone telling me how he is tired of the relationship and cannot see anywhere that we are heading to. Months passed and my boyfriend did not contact me anymore and I did not hear from him anymore and his cell phone was disconnected. I knew I needed to seek help because of the love I have for him. I contacted this great spell caster because i have never contacted anyone before and i tell you that after a week of contact, my ex boyfriend called me and asked to see me and the next morning, he wore a ring on my finger. I am very happy because I am soon going to be a married girl with the help of this great spell caster. I promised to manifest your works to everyone and please contact this man to help you

    Email: odungaspelltemple@gmail.com OR contact him on WhatsApp +2348167159012.

  • Posted on by Mary Robinson
    Good day to everyone reading my post, i’m here to appreciate a legitimate spell caster call Dr Kachi who can help you winning the lottery draw, i have never win a biggest amount in lottery unite the day i saw good reviews about DR Kachi how he has helped a lot of people in different ways both financially/martially and i have been playing Mega Million for 8years now, but things suddenly change the moment i contacted Dr Kachi and explained everything to me about the spell and I accepted. I followed his instructions and played the Mega Million with the numbers he gave me, now i am a proud lottery winner with the help of Dr Kachi spell, i win $640 Million Dollars in Mega Millions Ticket, i am making this known to everyone out there who have been trying all day to win the lottery jackpot, believe me this is the only way to win the lottery, this is the real secret we all have been searching for. I want to thank Dr Kachi for his endless help and his from the United States. you can contact via email drkachispellcast@gmail.com or through Text and Call Number: +1 (209) 893-8075 his website: https://drkachispellcaster.wixsite.com/my-site
  • Posted on by SETH SAMSON
    IT’S TIME TO GET BACK WHAT YOU WERE SCAMMED

    Too many recovery experts might get you CONFUSED which to trust with recovering your lost/stolen BTC/USDT.
    You might need a recommendation on the RECOVERY EXPERT you would want to trust with recovering what you have been scammed.
    If you are a victim of internet fraud/scam, I will want to recommend no other recovery expert than BLISS PARADOX RECOVERY, a licensed hack expert.
    Honestly speaking guys, with BLISS PARADOX RECOVERY, it’s never too late for your stolen money to be recovered.
    I was a victim of fraud TWICE, but ever since I came them, it was such an experience for me to know that it’s not just RECOVERY SERVICES they render but also trace and uncover your scammer’s details.
    I was also educated on some cybersecurity tips on how to spot a scammer right before I get scammed, all thanks to God I got so lucky.
    Action speaks louder than voice. Reach out to them for more details. Save your stolen funds NOW!!
    CONTACT THEM WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT WHEN THIS MESSAGE GETS TO YOU.

    CONTACT DETAILS BELLOW
    MAIL: BLISSPARADOXRECOVERY@AOL.COM
    WHATSAPP: +13802069712
    SIGNAL NO.: +17276159030
    TELEGRAM: @BLISSPARADOXRECOVERY
    WEBSITE: https://dev-blissparadoxrecovery.pantheonsite.io/

Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing
You have successfully subscribed!