Thursday, May 24, 2007

S-watch Out!

Finding attractive stitch patterns to use on women's garments is fairly easy. Almost any pattern you can come up with will suit some female -- depending, of course, on their personal taste. For guys it's not so easy. Fans or shells -- not so much. Ripples -- you're skating on thin ice. Lacy openwork -- not on your life. Of course there's color work -- stripes anyone?

So, when I thought I'd like to make a crocheted pullover for the spouse I turned to the online crochet community for a little advice. I was pleased to hear from a couple of guys, and set about swatching their suggestions, plus a couple I had found myself.

My purpose here is to see if I like the patterns -- the yarn used for swatching is not what I'll be using for the garment. Hook size is the same for all swatches, and there are the same number of stitches chained -- plus or minus a stitch due to pattern requirements. Most recommendations that I've read lately suggest a larger hook than the comparable knitting needle size listed on the yarn label. This swatch yarn, Cotton Classic by Tahki, suggests a 4mm knitting needle. I used an F hook, which is also 4mm, but if I were making an actual garment from this yarn I would certainly try out a larger hook. These swatches weren't board stiff, but it would be well worth it to see if the drape improves with a looser gauge.

First up we have sc (single crochet) worked alternately in the front loop and then back loop across each row. It's a nice, nubby texture that's not too dense. I like this pattern -- it's easily worked and certainly would make a nice sweater fabric for anyone. Turning it sideways though I like it even more. In fact, it may show up in something for me later on.

Next we have another sc based pattern, this one worked on any uneven number of stitches. Chain required length -- work sc, ch 1, across row ending with sc. Repeat for each row. All sc line up on top of one another, as do the ch 1's. The contributor of this suggestion noted that this pattern has a nearly square stitch/row gauge, thus making it ideal for modular work. It has a very nice drape, even using a smaller hook.

The third pattern is a simple arrangement of (5 stitch wide) blocks of sc and dc stitches. The first 4 row shown are worked plain, but the succeeding rows show how it looks when the same block pattern is worked with rows alternating between being worked through the front loop of each stitch and then being worked through the back loop of each stitch on the next row.

And lastly we have a pattern from a Japanese stitch compendium. I really like this one -- bold pattern, but easy to work. Chain a multiple of 3, plus 2 extra.

  • Row 1 -- sc in second chain, *ch2, sc across row, ending with a sc, ch3.
  • Row 2 - *2dc in ch2 space, FPdc (front post dc) around sc, repeat from *, ending 2 dc in ch-2 space, dc in last sc, ch 1
  • repeat these 2 rows for pattern

Sadly though, I think that this is just too heavy when worked in a DK weight cotton. I will be trying it again, but with a fingering weight wool.

Now, I just have to decide which one to use -- I know which way I'm leaning, how about you?


Paula said...

Whoops - a little behind on my blog reading here! Hope it's not too late to weigh in. For the fellows, I'd prefer the first or the last swatch. The first one is calmer looking; the last one has some serious movement. Both seem to be appropriate for the male of the species. >g< Some of the others still strike me as a bit feminine. Which one are you leaning toward?

Karen said...

Hey Paula (whoops, is that a song cue?), it's never too late for an opinion. I was leaning towards swatch 2 (the sc, ch1 swatch) but after swatching in the yarn I wanted to use for the sweater I decided that it would be too heavy. Looks like now I have to go buy a lighter weight cotton blend -- oh the burden (grin)!

Paula said...

It is indeed a song cue and now it will be running through my head all day!

May I offer my sincere condolences on having to shop for and purchase more yarn? There is no doubt it is a burden, but you've shown you have the intestinal fortitude to shoulder it. Onward to the LYS! >bg< (I think the pattern will look even nicer in the smaller gauge.)