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 ||  #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 ||  #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 ||  #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.

A Trip To The Frog Pond

 Sometimes ripping out is the only way to get the knitting project you want. |

This hat is my white whale. Okay, that might be a little bit of an over statement, but this pattern has been lingering in my “Get It Done” list for years. It’s not that I’m not excited about this pattern or that I don’t like it anymore. Both of those things are still true even 4 years after I first sketched up the initial design and agonized over the color work chart. 

So why the hold up? The hat and my notes on how to make it didn’t get back in my hands until last year. And it wasn’t until the last few months that I started getting everything together to write a pattern that someone else could knit. Detailed notes that you can find are the best. Seriously. Everything sounds good right? Well, there’s one more thing to do before I can get to the important stuff like photographs and tech editing and publishing it. 

As much as I love the color work and the colors, there is one thing that I really don’t like about this hat. It was bound to happen after 4 years after all. The crown and length of this hat is way too long. I love a good slouchy hat, but this is not a good slouchy hat. It just looks weird, and not in a fun way. So it’s time to take a pair of scissors to my stitches and rip out the crown and a few extra inches. Definitely not starting over from scratch. At this point having to rip out part of a project, even a finished project, isn’t frustrating. It’s just a step in the process of making something both that I’ll want to wear and share. Now where did I put those scissors…

Frogging Day

Ripping out knitting get a bad rap, but it's worth the aggravation. - Frogging Day |

The first half of the week was full of marathon knitting sessions. I worked up a lot of yarn but was still left with several tangle-prone balls. To save me from later headaches, I busted out the winder to rewind the yarn into tidier packages. The before and after is always super satisfying. That done, I decided to rip out a few projects I was never going to finish. First up was a striped cat that's been without a head for years. Then a pair of socks that had been waiting for me to turn the heels for at least a year. 

A video posted by April Klich (@aprilklich) on

I decided to film the sock frogging on a lark. Then I couldn't resist editing the video to make it look like it was magically knitting and frogging itself. I love living in the future.

Ripping out knitting get a bad rap, but it's worth the aggravation. - Frogging Day |

When all was said and done, I'd reclaimed 3 balls of Koigu KPPPM, two balls of mystery yarn, 2 stitch markers, and my missing 2.0 mm circular. Ripping gets a bad rap, but this just goes to show that you can get good results - and more yarn - once you're past the aggravation. 

Ripping out knitting get a bad rap, but it's worth the aggravation. - Frogging Day |

Before I put the winder away, there was one last skein to take care of. I picked up this skein of Happy Fuzzy Corrie Sock last year and have been trying to decide what to do with it. Well, its time has come and I've got big plans for this yarn. More on that soon. 

To The Frog Pond


All I wanted was my favorite knitting bag. The pretty one with the pockets, snaps, needle loops, and enough space for all the yarn. So, I dug it out and, when I opened it up, found a forgotten project, the Bilateral Cardigan. It’s my only serious attempt at knitting a sweater because the pattern seemed easy and forgiving in fit. Instead of casting on at the neck, you knit two hexagons, creatively sew them together, and end up with a short-sleeved, cropped cardi. This explains why the one piece, which is way too big, looks more like a blanket then a sweater.


It’s been 2 years, almost to the day, from when I cast on and I don’t want to wear the finished object anymore. I’m still very much in love with the yarn, Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, though. Yesterday, I happily ripped out every single yarn and wound the yarn. Then I went to Ravelry to find a pattern for a cropped, light weight cardigan. An old favorite from my queue, Amiga, jumped to the top of my list. Don’t tell anyone but I may have already started swatching.

Before, After





4 stitches. That’s the difference between a snug, well fitting sock and a baggy mess. I ignored this fact for 3 weeks or a foot, a gusset, a heel, and 4” of cuff. For a brief moment, I half-heartedly considered finishing the sock. Though, what’s the point in knitting an ill-fitting pair of socks? So, I ripped it all out.* Didn’t even bother to save the toe and stick it back on the needles. I’m over the whole thing. The yarn and the pattern are going into time out. Eventually, I’ll pull them back out. Not any time soon though.

So, no pair of socks for February. My year of socks isn’t looking so good; however, I’m going to enjoy my sock knitting sabbatical and knit something else instead. A freeing thought actually. 

*But only after a good night’s sleep. It took the sting out of the whole affair. The night before, ripping would have been aggravating and demotivating instead of necessary and right.