May 22, 2014

Three Test Knits in 18 Days? Coffee please!

Bruffle is currently linked to my Ravelry project
page. Once the pattern is "live," there will be a
link there right to it!
If you are going to commit to three test knits, that are all sweaters (albeit small ones), you need to gear up. You need sustenance. You need coffee. Lots of it. Something stronger you say? Okay, then: 42 quad shot Americanos with room for the velvety cream and 2 tiny packets of cancer that we call Sweet & Low.

With that kind of fuel, you are ready to tackle anything, including your normal workweek, family laundry, feeding, bathing, butt wiping, etc. Okay, to be honest, my family was not totally fed properly over the last 18 days and they wore a few things twice....and I learned that Amy Rose is not particularly good at wiping.


those never before tested knit sweaters are all done: surveyed, photographed and delivered to their respective designers.

The final test knit over this past 3/4 of a month is called Bruffle. It is a shoulder shrug style sweater for girls that comes in sizes ranging from 6months old to 10 years old. It is super cute and quite fun to knit.

It starts out with ordinary raglan shaping, but once you separate the sleeves from the body, things
get interesting. The entire edge, front and back (with the exception of the sleeves of course) is joined in the round (some stitches need to be picked up for this) and knitted as one long, continuous eyelet ruffle. It's cool, too, because your stitch pick-ups don't have to be perfect; as long as the total is a multiple of 6, you're okay. This prevents the knitter from endlessly counting and recounting how many stitches they have "so far," as they try to pick up the exact number required in the pattern over a predetermined distance.

This totally sets you free, fellow knitter. Be free form. Have any muliple of 6 you like. Heck, get crazy and go for 142 like I did. It was totally like Thelma and Louise....without the cliff.

Speaking of setting oneself free, I apparently failed to read my last post about measuring.

Well, I did measure Amy Rose's back, as instructed to. I even did a gauge swatch, which turned out just fine ( I think after 6 years of just "diving in," I am finally joining the faithful of the gauge swatch religion and seeking its truth after can't always live by the seat of your pants, it turns out. Just most of the time.) .

But once I started knitting in my Bernat Cottontots yarn, lovely, soft, sort of drapey and sort of well, a bit bigger than the usual worsted, let's face it, my gauge went from 4 stitches/inch to 4.5 stitches/inch.

Let me tell you, that's a vast difference, non-swatching, unconverted-as-of-yet-to-the-gauge-swatch-sister-and-brotherhood knitters.

My size 12.25inch back measurement went to nearly 15 inches just like that (*snap*).

Now my former sized 2 year old sweater back measurement is more like the average 5-6 year old. This will be fine as Amy really is 5 years old and will wear the sweater longer, but her chest size is much smaller than the average, as I said in my last post.

I recall that part of the original purpose of this blog was to allow you, dear reader, to follow me into
my knitterly journey, down the winding, every expanding path that leads to no definitive end. All this so you could see my errors and foibles and pitfalls so as to avoid them yourself.

So if there are lessons to be learned here, the smaller one is duh: measure your gauge periodically as you knit, no matter how you think it "looks." Man who uses eyeball instead of level to hang pictures has many crooked frames in his house. (I wish Mr. Miyagi had said that one. He would have sounded so cool.)

But really, what I remembered over these past 18 days is that sometimes we are ready for a challenge. I remember when I was pretty new to knitting, which was only 6 years ago. I thought I was soooooooooooooooo slow. I only knew how to make those T-shaped slippers that were knitted holding double worsted yarn on US 11 needles and just sewn up the back. Should take only like two hours to complete, if that.

I would talk to myself: these are so easy and I just can't increase my speed! I am a terrible knitter. Oh, well. 

Then, I suddenly got a wild hair and took a toe-up sock knitting class from Chrissy Gardiner. It was an absolute revelation. To my disbelief, not only did I keep up with the class, I went home and just started making socks--not fast, but I did it.

To see the other test knits, just scroll down to my last few
Sometimes we need a challenge and, when we are ready for it, we can surprise even the ones who thinks they know us best, including ourselves.

So step out! Take a class, get a new book! Join a guild! Maybe you are not bad at knitting ( And anyway, I absolutely refuse to believe anyone is "bad" at it), maybe you are just stale or bored. And you are always welcome to pick up your Starbucks Americano and join us at the Free Pattern Testers Group.

And, as always, remember to take time to get your cozy on.

Overly enthusiastic, if not misguided, misdirected and sometimes just plain wrong knitting fool

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