Sideways Swatching

I don’t always swatch for hats which means I sometimes end up ripping out the first few inches because the hat is comically too big. It’s not a big deal because I know it’s an easy fix to rip out and start over with a few less stitches. The hat I’m knitting this time though is a little different. Instead of working in the round from the bottom up, Cattywampus is worked sideways, on the bias, with short rows. Ripping out because it’s too big or too tall is not an easy task. You better believe I swatched.

A close up view of a red, white, and black knitted swatch soaking in the sink.  Sideways Swatching || withwool.com  #knitswatch #darkmatterknits

The reason for working side-to-side is that I’m making a hat that resembles the flag of Trinidad and Tobago for a friend. I’m not keen on working intarsia, especially intarsia with cotton/linen blends, and working sideways was the easiest way to pull off the diagonal stripes. I worked two sections of the short row crown shaping with all three colors. My gauge was right on the money, and I’m really hoping the swatch wasn’t lying to me.

Red, white, and black swatch dry with ends hanging out.  Sideways Swatching || withwool.com  #knitswatch #darkmatterknits

The other reason I swatched was to see if the colors would bleed. I only have enough yarn to make one hat and it would be really aggravating if the red and black dye bled on the white stripes. After 20+ minutes in a warm soak with Eucalan, the water was still clear without the faintest tint of red. The problem came when I squeezed water out of the swatch. You can just see the the barest pits of pink where the red and white yarn got squished together. Hmmm…

My hope is that if I squeeze out the water in a different way that the colors won’t bleed. Maybe that’s just wishful thinking. Do you have any tips or recommendations for soap that would stop the excess dye in its tracks?

A partially knit hat in red and white with short row crown shaping and a provisional cast on.  Sideways Swatching || withwool.com  #knitswatch #darkmatterknits

I did start the hat, and worked several repeats. I was almost done with the black stripe that I added after taking this photo. Yarns had been cut and most of the ends woven in. Then I noticed a rather aggravating issue. The short rows slope in the opposite direction of the flag’s diagonal stripes. The only fix is ripping out, reworking the pattern to slope in the opposite direction, and casting on again. Ugh. Looks like I get to restart this hat despite my best efforts.