As knitters, we often end up gifting more of our knitted goodies than keeping. As a knitwear designer most of my knitting ends up at magazines or as shop samples (which shops you say? well, you can find my yarns and patterns at a few lovely shops; Clay, Wood & Cotton, White Barn Farm, Wing & Clover, Yarn Cupboard and even more coming soon)
So? What does that have to do with the Thomas Moran painting opening this post? I love the Hudson River school of painting & love even more the parts of the Hudson Valley that still look like this, which by the way there are still quite a lot of! I decided I needed a new sweater just for me, this was partially spurred on by a question asked to all the contributors in the January issue of Knitting Today"What is your knitting New Year's resolution?", mine was to make more stuff for ME!
I started by sketching dozens (really) of ideas. I wanted something fun to knit but not completely overwhelming. Something different than the sweaters I design for magazines, a little weirder and slightly off mainstream tastes. Once I made on the sketch to the left, I knew I had it. I've had the Thomas Moran painting above saved to my desktop for ages because it reminds me of my favorite time here in the Hudson Valley.
I dug through my stash of "orphaned" Splendor, luckily I had 2 solids and a multi that worked perfectly for the sweater I had in mind! Then I made gobs of swatches, pulled out & reknit. The swatch I have posted over here to the right is gigantic, I can't emphasize enough the importance of giant swatches. You might be able to tell in the mini bobble (leafy) part of the swatch I changed the pattern mid-stream, noted. It is a one row change from knitting on the wrong side to purling but to me made all the difference, the bobbles stand out a bit more & each one has it's own color.
I then blocked it like crazy because the ribbing, stockinette stitch and bobbles all had waaaaay different gauges, I could adjust this by increasing or decreasing but I like a relaxed ribbing, it is much kinder on the *ahem* lower torso.
Blocking a swatch, crazy, you say! But, if you plan on blocking the finished piece you absolutely HAVE to also block the swatch. Since the swatch is telling you how the finished sweater will look and feel, you want to treat it just like the finished sweater.
|A close up "beauty" shot|
My swatch is 45 stitches across and 6 1/2" wide which gives me a gauge of 6.9 sts/ in. I am roughly 36" at my high hip which is where I plan on the sweater hitting me and I'm using a 3x6 rib so I need a multiple of 9. Okay here comes the mathy part:
6.9 sts/ in multiplied by 38" (I want a little room in there) is 262.2.
262.2 divided by 9 (the mutiple of my stitch pattern) is 29.1333
Since you can't cast on tenths of stitches I'll go with 29 multiples of 9 for a total cast on of 261.
Just to double check, I divide 261 by my gauge of 6.9 sts/in, which should give me a blocked circumference of 37.8" so I'll have almost my desired 2" of ease.
Now to cast on & start mt sweater. I plan on blogging my process although only in the size I'm making so if you want to follow along I'd love to see what you do!
I hope all that technical stuff hasn't put you to sleep!
Don't forget there's just over a week left to enter my contest on Facebook (details in my previous post here.) There have already been quite a few winners & I'm so happy to have all the new people as part of my facebook community.
Have I mentioned lately that I love knitters & crocheters? They really are some of the most kind people you will ever come across.