Now that I've finished a couple of charity projects, it's time to celebrate the year Two-thousand-and-MINE with a project for myself. I've had some Knit Picks Andean Silk sitting in the stash for a while just waiting to be turned into the lovely Twist and Shout that was featured in last fall's collection from Knitty.
The yarn, a blend of wool, alpaca, and silk, feels like a dream. My only beef is that the Imperial color that I selected looked rich and plummy on the website but turned out to be more muddy in real life (looks positively brown in my own photo there, but the lighting is weird). There's a woman in my knitting group who dyes fabulous sock yarns so I think I'll ask her if an overdye might improve the hue.
Now, normally I'm pretty swatch-lazy and tend to knit up a quick square to see if I'm at least within range. With this project, though, I'm dealing with a silk blend and silk has a notorious reputation for growing after washing. Swatching, including measuring the stitch count before and after, is a necessity for that reason alone. Plus, look at all that cabling. I don't fancy getting eight or twelve inches into the project and then discover that the size is way off even before washing and have to frog it all and start again. Nope, this time I must curb my usual impatient startitis and do some proper swatching. The first swatch did indeed grow, and now I've got my second one drying on the sweater rack to see if I'm closer.