Hello there! I’ve been knitting steadily for a few days now; not overdoing it, but making steady progress. I’ve finished the back and one sleeve of the Inigo cardigan, I’m really pleased with it so far and am finding it a very therapeutic garment to knit. I don’t mind at all knitting miles of stocking stitch flat – I really enjoy the purl rows every bit as much as the knit rows. The yarn is pleasant to work with, it has quite a number of prickly inclusion which I usually stop and pick out, but I think these might soften up when the finished garment is washed.
My other knitting activity has taken the form of a number of swatches. A couple of my friends very kindly gave me the book “Knitting From The North” by Hilary Grant for Christmas and one of them, who also has this book, has made a start on the “Loki” jumper. This is a really fabulous jumper and I decided I would make a swatch because I’d like to knit it sometime this year. I want to convert it to knitting flat in separate pieces so I started a flat swatch to check my gauge. Here is how far I got:-
I really like the patterning, but I hit a problem checking my gauge which should be 26 stitches to 10cm; I was getting 29 stitches and I think you can see from the close-up that the non-colourwork portion is already quite flimsy. Now, I’m a veteran user of Shetland yarns and I know that when I wash the knitted fabric it blooms magically, the gaps in the stitches close up and you get a lovely fabric. However, the one thing I also know is that my gauge doesn’t change when the fabric is washed, and I feel going up one or two needle sizes to match the stitch gauge called for might very well give a decidedly odd result with these yarns. With this in mind, I unpicked the swatch and have put this idea on the back-burner for the time being, with the intention of revisiting it when the mood strikes me.
That decision was aided by me reading this blog post over at Fringe Association. That little summer cardi she writes about reminded me of this heavy winter cardigan by Norah Gaughan:-
This was published in the Autumn 2006 issue of Vogue Knitting (or Designer Knitting, depending on your country) and I have knitted two successful versions in the past. Reminiscing on this, I started to think about that golden yellow yarn that I keep starting projects with but never finishing. I have considered a couple of times the option of holding it with a strand of cream wool to give a marled effect and it struck me that it might work for this pattern. So I swatched:-
Love it! Below the centre-line I used 4.5mm needles which gave me a gauge of 18 stitches to 10cm and above the centre I used 4mm needles which came out bang-on the 20 stitches to 10cm that the pattern calls for. My row gauge is, as ever, completely off – I can’t understand how anyone ever manages to get both row and stitch gauge and I don’t understand how the designers knit to get the gauges they do come up with, but that’s neither here not there. I’ve been knitting a long time and I’ve got used to the vagaries of it all. (Actually, my theory is that the row gauge is distorted with aggressive blocking, but don’t quote me on that because it might be a bit inflammatory!)
The photos of this swatch are useful because they illustrate the point I was making about my colourwork swatch and how the Shetland wool blooms when washed. Comparing the big picture of the yellow swatch (pre-wash) with the one top-right (post-wash) you can see how the cream stitches in particular have puffed up and softened in appearance. The yellow yarn is a blend of acrylic and wool so the behaviour is less pronounced.
So, there we have it: good progress, bad gauge, swatchy meanderings.
I hope your week is going well and you are getting in some knitting, planning, crafting, or just plain resting.