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Dear Ann,

I’m famously not a swatcher, but here we are.

Longing to cast on one of Dee Hardwicke’s designs from MDK Field Guide No. 25: Botanica, I found myself in an unfamiliar state: indecision. I couldn’t decide which project to start first, between the Autumn Garden Stole and the Cottage Throw. They are both big projects, but my motto is go big and stay home—knitting.

And then, when I decided to cast on the Autumn Garden Stole, I couldn’t decide on a colorway.

The answer to this kind of indecision is to Be Like Dee—and swatch!  I plopped myself down with a pile of Atlas bits and balls, and got started.

This swatching thing is cool—what a concept.

First up:

Whisper, Wintergreen, and Clementine. Need more Clementine!

Clementine, Leek, and Whisper.

The next one didn’t get very far, but it taught me something: Pear doesn’t read well against a background of Cork.

But what a pretty blur!

One of these wee ones might be the winner.

Two arrangements of Cork, Truffle, and Cedar. The inspiration for this combination came from our Atlanta friend Judy, who practically owns the rights to this mix. I love that it’s neutral and vibrant—and cool and warm—at the same time. It will go with everything in my closet, and also stand on its own two feet, as a beautiful object thrown over the coat rack or the back of a chair.

But maybe I need to swatch a little more.



Join us here for the Great Botanica Knitalong!

Treeline Cowl

Flora Arm Warmers

Climbing Vine Mitts

Autumn Garden Stole

Blossom Stripe Shawl

Cottage Throw


  • I also don’t find swatching a needed waste of material (Fibre) and time. I’m considering reconsidering the approach if this MDK. I also like bead work in my more maiden knits and crochet, which might do the trick.

  • Oh, sing it, Kay! Your swatches could become a blanket…
    I (always) love Judy’s colors, have you thought about swapping the Truffle for Navy?

  • Please keep swatching. I don’t have a pile of Atlas and seeing your swatches is very inspiring. I was considering Pear and Cork with Navy. Now I know that won’t work.

    • Pamela: If Navy is the background, that would be fantastic…. the key is to amp up the contrast! But it would….drum roll…..take a swatch to see if the pear would stand apart from the cork…… Have fun!

  • I have also been an anti-swatcher, but I learned that the charity Warm Up America asks for 7″ by 9″ rectangles that they sew into blankets for homeless people. Now my swatches are large, but they serve a purpose. Otherwise, what do you do with all those little swatches?

    • At our house, they serve as coasters, sometimes. Usually with a tail. We are fancy enough not to want rings under our tea mugs, but not that fancy.

      • Imagining this in my home made my day 🙂

  • It is fun if you are just playing around, isn’t it? No measuring, needle changes, or gauge worries. I’m digging the Clementine, Leek and Whisper combo!

  • I definitely think the light background pops more than the dark background. I really love the first clementine swatch with whisper and wintergreen – don’t count that one out! Really – you could take whisper and wintergreen and add many different brights for the flower!

  • I’m extremely impressed with your writing abilities as smartly as with the format on your blog.
    Is that this a paid theme or did you modify it your self?
    Either way keep up the excellent quality writing, it is rare to see a nice blog like this one today..

  • An idea: back in the “day” people used to keep swatch journals. They would either glue or pin their swatches to one side (depending on size) and then write a little note about yarn type, colors used, pattern, etc. It’s a great way to keep your swatches all together and organized and be able to reference them for later if you want to go back and see/remember what you’ve done.

    You can also make a knitting journal (or fiber journal) where you take a pic of the item made, add in a clipping of the yarn used and write in notes about the project. I’m loving my knitting journal!

  • The last 2. Oh, yes. A vote for both. Do it stripes.

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