Swatching Piper

I recently spent a little happy time with a skein of Quince and Company Piper, a 50/50 mix of superfine merino and baby alpaca that’s pure luxury in the hands.

gauge swatch

I knitted this swatch on size U.S. 3 (3.25 mm) needles. I worked the swatch in the round because I’m planning to knit a pair of fingerless mitt in the round. I knit and purl at different gauges so my gauge for stockinette stitch is different when worked back and forth in rows (alternating knit and purl rows) than worked in rounds in which every stitch is knitted every row, er, round.

I had planned to use the lace pattern that’s at the top of the swatch, but after working a single vertical repeat, I threw in the towel. This is why swatching is such a good idea. Not only does it tell you the number of stitches and row/rounds per inch, it gives you an opportunity to see if you can stand the pattern you’ve chosen. In this case, I chose a lovely  Estonian lace pattern that involves nupps (dainty bobbles). The nupps are made by increasing from 1 stitch to 5 on one row, then working those 5 stitches together on the next. This works fine when working in rows because the 5 stitches are purled together. But when working in rounds, the 5 stitches have to be knitted together. Have you ever tried knitting 5 stitches together? It’s nearly impossible at best (well, it’s impossible in my tight knitting).

As beautiful as the lace pattern looks (it’s the same motif used in my Aimee Shawl), I’m going back to the drawing board for these mitts.