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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Fun with Swatches!

As I have said on Facebook, I've been having fun all week by crocheting up test swatches to see how different things are if I make one little change in the pattern. It's SO cool to see, so I decided I'd post them even though not many of my friends geek out about crochet like I do, lol :-D

In this first one, I decided to chain and then work 7 single crochet stitches. In the second row, I added one stitch in the middle to make a total of 8 stitches. I worked the next row even, and then in the next row increased where those two stitches in the middle were. That was the pattern from then on. Work one row even then increase the middle two stitches. I like how it gave my mini skirt swatch a small but noticeable train or V :-D

This next swatch, I wanted to know what it would look like if I had TWO even rows between increase rows. It gave this test swatch a nice bell shape like a good skirt should have, with a small train, but this is more of a flair than a train, lol!

In this swatch, I wanted to know what it would look like if I increased the middle two stitches EVERY row. To me this came out looking like a maple leaf - which is cool! There is a definite train, but this would NOT look good on a skirt! Not unless you were making a wedding dress and specifically wanted a long and pointy train :-)

I got tired of crocheting 35 rows of each pattern just to get a decent look at it, so my swatches got smaller. I crocheted the chain and first row the same as the others, and then increased in the second row and again in the third. From then on, I did 3 repeats of the pattern where I worked 2 even rows in between increases. Then I switched to working only 1 even row between increases for 3 pattern repeats, and ended by doing 3 repeats of no even rows between increases. (Yep, I realize that this is probably greek to most of you, lol!) This made my tiny skirt look pretty darn good with a definite v at the bottom. I really liked the way this ended up but the swatch was tiny, so it may not look the same in full size.

In this mini skirt, I reversed the pattern of the previous swatch. I started by increasing in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th rows, then working 1 row even for three pattern repeats, then working 2 rows even for 3 pattern repeats. This gave me a wider skirt with a little flair but no real train. Again, I like this because I like the wide skirts, BUT my persistent recurring dream features a skirt with a demure but noticeable train.

Then I decided to make an EVEN SMALLER swatch... This was because I wanted to test something that would VERY quickly get out of hand, lol! I chained and then worked 7 single crochet. In the second row, I added just one stitch in the middle. From then on, in every other row - working an even row between increases - I added a stitch to every increased stitch. Which means that in the 2nd row there was 8 stitches. In the 4th row there was 8, in the 6th row there was 10, in the 8th row there was 14. I ended with 10 rows and 23 stitches! Oi! This gave me a nice wide skirt with a smoothly rounded edge which I like and had I continued would have made RUFFLES :-D (Bad ruffles that are too ruffly, lol!)

So, having patterns that I like, I decided to make a mini skirt that would fit around my hand so that I could see how the pattern worked out on a slightly larger scale and, you know, in the shape of a skirt, lol! This also has the benefit from keeping the swatch from curling up like you can see them doing in the clump above the skirt, lol! For this first skirt, I used what had been my favorite pattern so far. I started increasing every round for the first 5 rounds - after the initial chain and single crochet round. This immediately made a V :-D. Then I added an even row between increase rows for the next five pattern repeats. Note: I worked in rounds but reversed direction each new round so that I got the same effect as working rows :-) Lastly, I worked five pattern repeats of putting two even rows between each increase row. This gave me a nicely shaped train like one might find on a wedding dress. And like in the tiny version above, it made for a wider skirt too :-)

 So, deciding that starting with a base chain of about 45 was WAY more than I wanted to work with for a test swatch, I cut this one down to about 25. That's why this skirt looks skinnier than the previous one, lol! In essence, part of this IS that it is a smaller waist, and part of it IS that the pattern makes for a skinnier skirt, lol! Anyway, I did the reverse of the previous pattern and started out with 5 pattern repeats of working two even rows between increase rows, then 5 pattern repeats of working only one even row between increase rows, then I worked 5 increase rows which made the bottom of this skirt V dramatically. I am still undecided as to whether or not I like this effect...

Finally, I wanted to see if I could make something that kind looked like pleats or waves. I used the pattern above in which I increased in every increase stitch - working an even row between increase rows. I quickly realized that this would SUCK!!! if I kept it up, so I changed it after I got to the row where I went from having 8 stitches to 16 (in JUST the area where I was increasing). Then I decided to set up 4 "pleats" or ripples or waves or whatever, lol. In the next increase row - after working an even row - I only increased in 4 spots, so 16 previous stitches divided by 4 pleats means that I increased every 4 stitches. In case I have not made it clear along the way, an increase is adding a stitch by working two stitches in the same stitch. I continued along this new pattern for a few rounds - of alternating even rows with increase rows, working along the lines of the pleats - before I realized that I was just getting shapeless widening. SO I solved this by decreasing between the increases! Basically, in the stitches between the places I increased, I took out a couple of stitches. I did this by figuring out which stitch was in the middle. I stuck my hook in the stitch before it, pulled through a loop, then stuck my hook in the middle stitch and pulled through a loop. Finally, I stuck my hook through the stitch after the middle stitch and pulled through a loop, but I pulled it through ALL the loops on my hook, creating 1 stitch where there was 3. That gave my waves the definition they needed, and made this tiny little skirt so frickin' cute! I just love it!
That you for trying to make sense of my babble and have a happy day :-D

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