Hey @Brainthrill, and welcome to the forum!
These are excellent ideas for Bloom, and we have considered them before for a possible firmware update.
The ratchet nomenclature used on Bloom found its origins in its predecessor Octone, which also labeled its note repeating feature as “ratchets”. The function itself is a note repeat, as oppose to a subdivided set of notes. We apologize for the confusion on this functionality, and will keep it in mind for future revisions.
That being said, your work around for ratchets would be a possible solution. You could also use an external gate sequencer, though that would take the functionality outside of Bloom which is not ideal.
Another solution would be to set the clock multiplication up to your desired ratchet division. For example, if you want 1/16 note ratchets, set your channel div/mult rate to x4, set your per-step ratchets to 4, and leave 3 deactivated steps between each non ratcheted note. I created a graphic below illustrating the example:
By having the ratchet’s on the single note, as oppose to activating four notes in the sequence, the ratchet’s will take into account note variations when introducing Mutation or Branches. This method can be confusing since you have to account for the absolute note amount to stay in time (The Trunk sequence is 13 steps long even though the time signature is 4/4).
If you are changing the rate of the external clock, Bloom will update in time when the channel is set to x1. If you are dividing or multiplying the channel, Bloom requires 2 clock signals to determine the clock rate which it needs to divide or multiply. This can cause a 1 step latency, since Bloom cannot predict the future clock rate that will be inputted.
For swing, you would need to externally clock Bloom, and have your Div/Mult set to x1.
Hope this helps, and that you continue enjoying your Bloom!