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Similitude and swatchery

March 24, 2013

I have been reading a crochet design book that waxes lyrical on swatching – not a mere necessary evil, essential for gauge purposes – but a fun, exploratory exercise to try out new ideas, get to know new yarns, to experiment and tinker with stitch patterns new and old.

I have never really viewed swatching in this light, but I must say the way this writer describes it is almost – seductive. Perhaps I will even give it a try.

It occurred to me that my little dabs of micro-fiction are like swatches, too.

And not just an exercise to warm up the creative juices ready for real writing, but fun and productive in and of themselves. I can play with a character, a plot idea, a voice, an interaction, a perspective, a tense, a narrative style that I might not otherwise have tried out, a scenario that would not otherwise have occurred to me. I’ve only committed myself to half an hour or so of the thing, so I can let loose and see if it works. Why not write a silly poem? Travel into the future and see how it all panned out? Chuck a modern clown into ancient Rome?

I could make several swatches of the the same stitch pattern in different yarns or at different gauges – or the same yarn in different patterns or with different hooks. And I can write a little series of connected pieces, each time from a different perspective or in a different voice or – you get the idea.

This thought makes me happy.

And in honour of the connection, I give you a sensation simile: the smell of merino.

Merino, freshly washed and still wet, smells like sheep. Like wet dog. Like the day we brought home orphan lambs and I cradled one little ewe-lamb in my arms and she scoured all over me. It’s evocative, it’s slightly unpleasant – like the taste of olives. And yet it promises so much, a softness like kitten-fur, colours limited only by your imagination (and the range of food-dyes at the corner shop).  It smells – it smells like yellow.


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