I seem to be starting a new tradition: Swatch Sunday.
I finally dug out the skein of Bergère de France Berlaine to swatch for the Cabled V-Neck Sweater. This wasn't easy since the pattern didn't really tell me what to knit. All it offers is a grid that says that each swatch should be 31 stitches and 31 rows in a 4inch square using size 3.5mm needles for all cable patterns.
My question: what exactly do I put on those squares?
Back when I was considering making a yarn substitution, I posted for help on the Knitty Board. Kristina took pity on me, and helped me sort out precisely what to knit to make my swatches. Kristina, thank you thank you thank you for your help!
So, I started with the "wide cable" that runs down the middle of the sweater. Working from the center, I figured out which 31 stitches I'd need, and then I knit the first swatch. The other two cables are near each other in the pattern, and they fit on the second swatch easily.
Using the recommended needles and yarn, I think I've got the right gauge. Hopefully. I didn't have to tug or smoosh the swatches to make the 4inch square, so seems good to me.
Since I'd never seen or touched Berlaine before, you'll recall that I bought the skein to try it out. I was worried that the 100% wool yarn would be too old school, you know coarse and itchy. It is coarser than all the froo froo yarns we're spoiled with these days. Of course, it's also less expensive by about half.
Many of you suggested that the Berlaine might soften after washing. It did, but not a lot. Still, I really like the stitch definition, especially for the cables. Perhaps there's a trade off to be made here: cables that pop verses smooshy cables that flatten out. So, I checked out my two store-bought cabled sweaters and sure enough, the yarn's a bit rough.
So, I'm going to go for it, but I'm on the fence about the color. Traditional aran sweaters are cream colored, but I cannot be trusted with whites, and they wash me out anyway. I didn't even wear a white or cream wedding dress because I looked like a corpse in everything I tried on.
I definitely don't like the steely purple for me, and I'm wondering if dark colors would swallow the pattern. Then again, a charcoal could be nice, but Berlaine only comes in true black. B suggested a nice dark blue, but I have trouble pairing dark blue tops with skirts or pants. My brain only sees that color with jeans, something I don't wear too much. Berlaine also comes in a nice dark brown. That might go with a lot of my clothes.
What do you think of a light blue that's only just a step away from grey? Will that be too precious? Aaaah I can't decide!
Must Practice. Get Better.
I've decided that I need to work on my ribbing before I start this sweater. I didn't bother to take a photo of the ribbed swatch, partly because it's just rib and partly because it's particularly malformed. Trust me, my ribs are nothing short of spastic.
I could probably stand to work on my cable skills too. So expect some sort of cabled scarf from me this Fall as I attempt to clean up my technique. When I've mastered the scarf only then will I knit the Cabled V. I just can't display so many wonky stitches on the front of my body. Nope. Nope. Nope.