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Inishturk Sweater Knit-Along: Choose Your Yarn & Make a Gauge Swatch!

January 21st, 2010

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It is a thrill for me to host another Knit-Along with all of you!   I am really looking forward to making this great Aran knit pullover named the Inishturk Sweater.   It didn’t take long for me to decide to make this one for myself.  It has been quite the winter so far, and still a lot of winter to go.  I’m really anxious to get started and make a new sweater — and I hope you are, too!

I have printed my pattern for the Inishturk Sweater, and you can print your copy out anytime you wish.  Now, what size to make?  Many times, my knitting students have wondered what size to make a sweater for themselves and I tell them to measure a sweater they already love to wear.  I have a favorite pullover that is one I wear again and again.  I measured across its chest and it was 21″ — so it is a 42″ bust.  Looking at the sizes of the Inishturk sweater, I’ve decided to make the medium, which is a 44″.

I’ve decided to make this great Aran knit in the Fishermen’s Wool, because I love to work cables in a natural fiber or a yarn that has some wool in it.  The cables just seem to look better in a fiber like wool.    I chose the Oatmeal color that will go with almost anything I will wear.  For my size, I will just need 3 skeins of the Fishermen’s Wool!

Fishermen’s Wool is a “Category 4” medium worsted-weight yarn.  If you don’t want to use the Fisherman’s  Wool, there are other great yarns that would be great with this pattern. Other yarns I think would be great would be Wool-Ease (a washable wool-blend), Vanna’s Choice (with its huge array of colors), or Cotton-Ease (with its cool hand and great drape) to name a few. (The latter two are good choices for those who are sensitive or allergic to wool.) Any yarn that gives a gauge of between 16-18 sts =4″ will work, but solid colors will show the cables the best.

Once you have your pattern, yarn, and know what size you would like, a swatch will be what will guarantee a sweater that fits.  Although there are different stitch patterns used in this pattern, the gauge is given for the Double Seed Stitch pattern.

Now, here is the thing about swatching with the Double-Seed Stitch — and I only know this because I remember panicking while knitting a project I made using that stitch pattern years ago —  I thought I would show you what happens when I work that stitch alone:

It can slant!  Not to worry, because when this stitch is dampened or worked within a pattern, it straightens out.  So, here is how I did my swatch.  I cast on 26 stitches and knitted for 5 or 6 rows, then I knit 3, worked the next 20 stitches in the pattern, and knitted the last 3.  I kept the garter stitch border, worked my pattern for 4″ then, knitted for another 5 or 6 rows and bound off:

Then, I dampened and dried the swatch and all I had to do is measure between the garter stitch border.

(1/26/10 – Swatch photo updated; original swatch photo was squished by the scanner.)

What size gave me the gauge?  A US 10 — glad I made this swatch as my sweater would have been much too small for me with the recommended US 8.

So, I’m ready to cast on and happy we can do it together!

How are your swatches turning out? Have you cast on  your sweater yet? Let us know!

Don’t forget to join our Ravelry or Flickr groups for discussion forums, sharing your photos, and more!

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  • Donna

    Well almost halfway done with the back. I have a few love mistakes but they’re staying as a reminder of how far I advanced when I do the front with no mistakes. Only one problem, work is getting in the way of my knitting *chuckle* Have a happy Saturday everyone.

  • KB

    I finished writing out my index cards with each odd row – each cable & panel is highlighted in a different color. I put markers on my needles to correspond with the colors on the index cards. I thought it was a lot of effort, but I am really progressing at a good pace. All that effort of the index cards and markers was worth it.
    Since I have to finish the other sweater I have going can’t work on this one as much as I want.
    All the advice and hints are great.
    Thank you everyone.

  • carol in brooklyn

    oh, boy. So last night I admitted that the varigated grey/black/white yarn I was using was really hiding the patterns in this sweater, and I pulled it all out and got a beautiful charcol grey. At least it wasn’t so far done, I was on the fourth set of sixteen rows. Sometimes you gotta be harsh.

  • kdoubrley

    Oh Carol–that is tough. But considering how disappointing it would be to knit all those cables and then be unable to see them, I think you made the right decision.

  • kdoubrley

    A Milestone!
    I have finished the back. Looks good. I’m feeling very encouraged.

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  • Www Jillseamansbeverly

    I would love one of these sweaters! My Grandmother came to Boston from Innishturk. I hope to go visit this summer 2012. How could I order one of these sweaters?

    • Zontee

      Hi Jill, sells yarn and provides patterns; we don’t sell finished garments. However, you may be able to find a knitter at a local yarn store and/or on who can custom-knit the garment for you. Generally, you will pay the cost of yarn and the hours it takes her/him to knit it for you. We do allow our patterns to be used in this way. Hope that helps!