I do believe this is the world’s most-swatched project. The last post was #4 or 5, and I’m counting the corner as a separate swatch, even if I didn’t cast on and knit it separately (I didn’t want to break the yarn, as I intend to frog and re-knit it).

The only thing more fun than knitting fabrics on three different needle sizes* to get the right gauge is knitting three fabrics and working out the corner decreases to make an flat mitered corner in a stockinette-base fabric.

As you can see, the miter didn’t turn out to be a perfect 90 degrees, but I’m calling it close enough for garment design.

The decreases actually turned out to be easier than I expected, though I went the wrong way at first and decreased more slowly than a garter stitch mitered corner when I should have decreased faster. Turns out that decreasing every other row and alternating between 2 and 3 stitches per decrease row is just about right for the stockinette section. I decreased 2 stitches every other row for the linen stitch, and 2 stitches for every purple row in the slipped stitch section. I’m not sure how to count that one; each “row” is knit twice – once with the neon yarn, and once with the purple – and the other yarn is slipped. If this were fairisle, you’d knit both yarns at the same time and call it a single row, but that was too fiddly to be worthwhile with the crossed stitches, so I stuck to knitting one at a time and slipping the other. So if I knit each row twice, and decrease the second time that I knit it, does that count as decreasing once per row?

With all that decreasing going on, I was also noticing the yarn balls shrinking at a fairly alarming rate, so it came in handy to have a huge swatch so that I can calculate how much knitted fabric I can expect to get from these three skeins. The swatch itself is 8 x 15″ (minus a corner). That’s a total of about 104 square inches. So far, I’ve used 45 g of my base colors, and I have a total of  175 g left. That puts me at (very roughly) 512 square inches possible for the total piece. (I should actually get a little bit more than that, since I’m not accounting for the neon yarn in that calculation.) Still, 512 square inches is not a lot.

The top contender for the final design was the Poncho Cowl by Stephen Berg, which is basically knit flat as a rectangle and then seamed. I’d rather knit this pattern in the round, and I didn’t want to have a break in the neon herringbone, so I went ahead and figured out how to turn the corner while knitting (see swatch above). Then it’s just a matter of figuring out how big the rectangle needs to be. I pressed a different scarf into service, pinned it up on my dress form, and made the opening significantly shorter than shown in the pattern photo to reduce the overall length. It came out as 14 x 48″, or 672 square inches.

That’s 31% more inches than I have yarn. To actually have enough yarn, I’d need to decrease the width to about 10 inches, which would make it more like a scarf and less like a poncho/shawl.

So, we are back to the drawing board again. Both Teresa and Jan have suggested a circular cowl, and right now that’s sounding like the most practical option. A 24 inch (hem) cowl  could be about 21″ wide with the yarn I have, which would be more than enough.

I’m thinking that this one needs a little more time to percolate. Perhaps I’d better go come up with something else to swatch…

*000, 00, and zero. Because some day I will find myself really wishing I’d written it down.