Crofter’s Smock Test Knit

I swatched and swatched and swatched again! The first swatch, the pink-ish yarn was on target but the red, that I thought would be perfect for this project wasn’t right. This swatch was knitted flat before I discovered the instructions to knit the swatch in the round … so I got my needles back out and swatched again, this time in the round, with the red yarn. It was close “enough” and would probably have given me a little bit larger sweater when finished. But then I thought, since I can’t identify the yarn because it was gifted to me, that wouldn’t help the designer. So back to work. I dove into my stash and thought that Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted is a heavy worsted. But I didn’t get gauge. Last chance was a stashed Hayfield Aran with Wool and my gauge was spot on! Woo! Hoo!

Next day I was off to my LYS (Yardgoods Center in Waterville, Maine) to see what two (big) balls were in stock for this sweater. I’d done a bit of research into colors so I did have some idea what I wanted to do and found Celtic Grey (is it grey or gray?) I also happened to grab a couple of balls of Raggi worsted sock yarn and ordered some Lettlopi for a future Stopover Sweater and Mary Jane Mucklestone’s new Heart Mittens. They’ll both be a “reward” for finishing my test knit.

I’ve been knitting away as often as I can manage between work and my volunteer board meetings and phone calls and as of this afternoon I have passed the seven inches mark. I checked the Google doc for the test knitting group to pass information to Gudrun and I’m doing pretty well … even if some of the testers have moved on to the sleeves. A few more inches to the armpits!

Crofter’s Smock by Gudrun Johnston in Hayfield Aran With Wool

I am enjoying the mixture of textures in the body of the sweater and it’s simple enough to not have to look at the pattern. So, I’d best get back to work so I can keep the progress rolling! One stitch at a time! I’ll be back soon with a post about measuring gauge (just in case you don’t know how to do it!)

Gone knitting!

Why Swatch?

Downton Abbey KAL swatch

Downton Abbey KAL swatch

I never used to swatch. But after a few knitting disasters, I’ve decided that it’s the new “must happen” in knitting.

My last post was about the trouble I was having with the Turkish Bed Socks pattern. The first time I knit them up, with the suggested yarn and needles, they turned out too large and slip off my heel. (I have to admit to making the foot longer because my feet are not – NOT – eight inches long.) The second time I used a lighter-weight fingering yarn and smaller needles. They looked adorable but they were way (WAY!) too small. I frogged them.

Did I ever tell you about my “boyfriend” sweater? I bought this beautiful bulky tweedy black yarn and knit the sweater. I actually did swatch this one and everything was working up just right – according to the directions. Perfect. Except that I was knitting the wrong size! So, even when you do swatch, you’re not guaranteed perfect fit but it sure will get you close. Next time, measure the boyfriend before knitting an entire sweater! (I’ll be frogging the sweater this summer in Maine. The lake-side frogging will help with my dismay!)

So, back to Turkish Bed socks – version three is on the needles. I’m using the Cooked Lobster colorway handspun that I bought this summer in Maine. I had to go up a needle size to get gauge so I’m knitting on a US #4 using magic loop (I really don’t like knitting with DPNs any more!)

I knitted three swatches for these socks. One on a smaller needle, one on the pattern sized needles and then finally settling on one size up. The only way I’m going to skip the swatch step from this day forward, is if I’m knitting a felted bag! Or something where the size is irrelevant – like …

I just joined to knit in the round … wish me luck!

Gone knitting!

Pantone 612U

Several weeks ago, a Facebook creative friend put up a photograph of a bunch of Pantone frames that she wanted to do something with. People posted suggestions (as did I) about what to do with them. Lo and behold, I got a message from Kanella asking if I’d be willing to knit a swatch in the color to be framed and used as part of the art installment. Of course, I said, “yes!” So, today, I am finally getting around to starting the swatch so that I can get it sent back to Greece close to the New Year! Step 1 – what is Pantone 612U? (Thank goodness for Google!) And I just happen to love this color and have some wool in the lemongrass colorway by Patons (ha! Patons – Pantone … the names are even close!)

Frame + Googled + Yarn = Success!

Step 2 – Plan the pattern I love cables. They make me happy. So, I decided that three cables of six stitches would be about the right width of the frame. Cast on 42 stitches and it should be OK. (It’s all a guessing game when you’re swatching!) At the end of several rows of 42 stitches and the set-up for the cables, the swatch was way too wide for the frame. BUT, as cables do, when they were twisted, the cables pulled the swatch in beautifully and it will fit the frame just about perfectly!

Step 3 – Knit!

So, there you have it! The cables are going to be three stripes of wonderful in this rectangular piece of fabric. I’ve completed two twists as I write this and I think it’s going to be a very simple and yet pleasing pattern … perfect to show off the art of knitting and also to highlight the color of the yarn. The Pantone color.

I can’t wait to finish it up and fit it into the frame and then send it off to Greece!

Gone knitting!

You better Swatch out … or you’ll be crying


Here's the side view ... can you see the pretty buttons that I worried over? No?

Well, in all the years I’ve been knitting, I think I’ve knitted about two … maybe three … swatches. Yes, I know. Everybody tells you to knit a swatch to determine your gauge PRIOR to starting your garment (whatever it may be!)

I now have a better, first-hand understanding of WHY you should knit a swatch … even if it’s “just a cowl”!

from the back

Not exactly upstanding, is it!

front view

And from the front ... the leaning tower of cowl.







I’ve taken three photos … well, I didn’t but my sweet love took time away from polishing his boots in the garage to take it for me.

Photo one above shows a side view. There are two lovely buttons that you can’t see because this cowl is so darned big. Nothing like the sample photo on the pattern. Why, you ask? Because the Queen Bee is a non-swatcher. (I’m almost ashamed to claim the title.) But it’s the truth and I always tell the truth.

It’s rather funny, actually. In my day-to-day life, I am such a rule follower. I don’t cross the street when it says “don’t walk” and I make a full stop (counting to three) at stop signs. I don’t litter. BUT … I don’t swatch!

And now, I will have the pleasure of frogging my lovely Thermis cowl and then making a swatch so that it turns out the right size. I’ll blog about it again, dear reader, when it’s knitted properly!

While I may have hit a creative block, I’m thinking about knitting … and am off to the library to find some books to peruse while my creative block is still in the building. 🙂