Each month in The Weekly Stitch, our e-newsletter, we’re featuring hints and tips from our friend, knitting & crochet designer and author, Barbara Breiter. Below are excerpts from her latest two articles, useful for both knitters & crocheters. Interested in learning more? Click their titles to read them for yourself.
You have a throw pattern with a beautiful stitch pattern, but you’d like to make it wider or narrower. Or perhaps you’d like to make it into a scarf. Maybe the converse is true…you’d like to change a scarf into a throw.
It’s not as difficult as it may seem, even if you are a beginner!
There are two vital concepts that must be understood to accomplish this…
A pattern is a blueprint for a project. A well-written pattern doesn’t intentionally confuse you. If you find something confusing, keep in mind that sometimes the pattern is simply trying to convey information to help you. The term might be an industry standard, but one that you’ve never come across before.
Here are some terms and concepts, commonly used but also commonly confusing to many knitters and crocheters…
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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!
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Did you know that you can read blog posts only on the topics you are interested in? Some of you wrote that you want to read about crocheting but not knitting (or visa versa.) Maybe you want to look at the history of the “knit-alongs” or look at the off-beat news from the “yarniverse”. To read posts on just those topics, just look at the right sidebar under the word “categories.” Click on the topic you want to follow and read all about it.
Congratulations to Sarah for winning our video contest! Sarah made a hat and scarf for her step-father, Terry. Enjoy her great video below.
We love to see pictures of your projects and read your honest opinions on our yarns and patterns, both on our website and on your personal blogs. Here are just a few of the blogs that have caught our attention recently.
Goodnight Gram knitted several of our patterns (including the Crayon Caddy) and used Wool-Ease Thick & Quick.
Thanks to these bloggers for all of their great projects and kind words!