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Textured Circle Shrug Knit-Along: Final Post!

June 18th, 2009

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Hi Everyone!  It’s been fun knitting with you these past few weeks!  Time really flies!

Today’s post is my last, and will focus on the second round of increases, casting off, and sharing an FO (finished object in knit-speak)!  My FO is a little bit lopsided, since I added about 10 stitches to only one sleeve (so that I could show you how that looks), but I still think it looks awesome and will actually wear it!  (You can’t even tell that one sleeve is about an inch wider!)

Increase round 2 is performed much like increase round 1.  It just brings us back to k1 p1 ribbing. You simply work a M1P (Click here for a video for M1, but instead of knitting the bar between the stitch just knit and the next stitch on the needle, you’d purl it.) between the two knit stitches in every wide rib between the sleeve markers.

Then, for the finale, we switch to seed stitch (also called moss stitch in the UK) and work a few rounds, then cast off. I recommend casting off in stitch pattern (if you are supposed to purl, purl, then pass the cast-off loop over, and vice versa if you’re supposed to knit.) Click here for a video. This will create a more elastic cast-off edge.  I also recommend casting off with a needle size that’s 2 sizes (1 whole mm) larger than the needle you used for the rib…so…use your “body” needle to cast off.  I cast off my shrug a few rows early, your seed stitch border will be a few rows wider than mine.

When your shrug comes off the needle, the seed stich border may seem a little bit wavy.  You’ll just want to lightly steam this edge, so that it will lay flat. If you find that your edging seems too loose (this may be the case if you’ve added a large number of stitches at the under arm) your best bet is to mist the ribbing lightly with water and stretch it lengthwise. Let it dry like this, and it will be tighter and less floppy.

In my photos, I’m wearing my shrug pinned at the front to show what this looks like, since we’ve had a few questions about adding a button.  If you want to add a buttonhole to the front edge, a good point to do that is in the first few rows of the seed stitch border.  You could just do a “yo k2tog” which will make a small hole.

Here’s the back.  My husband took the photo and didn’t tell me that the collar wasn’t lying exactly flat…but you get the idea! :)  I could block this so that the back is flat, but I like the ribs that the Textured Stripe pattern creates, so I’ll probably leave it like this.

This has been a lot of fun!  I can’t wait to see all of your FO shots in our Flickr Group! Or share them with us in the Customer Gallery (like this one from Mary Jo).

Look out later this summer for our charity KAL/CAL!

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Textured Circle Shrug Knit-Along: Increase Round 1

June 11th, 2009

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Hi Everyone! I hope you’re having a great week!

In our last installment of the Textured Circle Shrug KAL, we picked up all around the neck opening and started working on our ribbing.

In this installment, we will proceed to Increase Round 1.  In this round, we work a few RLI (in every other knit rib) between the markers that we placed to denote each “sleeve” portion of the shrug. (The pink arrows in the picture below show the stitches over which the increases are worked.)

You work your ribbing from the beginning of round marker to your sleeve marker, then begin the increases.  Work increases all the way around to the second marker.  Then, work normal ribbing across the top / back neck of the shrug, all the way to the second sleeve.  You’ll work increases all the way across this second sleeve section, and then work regular ribbing across the back.

  • NOTE: If you’ve added stitches at the under arm, you will have placed markers as in the previous post to keep those stitches separate.  Do not work increases across those extra stitches, only across the original number of sleeve sts as denoted in the pattern instructions.

I talked a little bit about the RLI at the end of last week’s post, if you’re just joining us, be sure to check it out.

Here, again, is the link to the video on www.knittinghelp.com that shows how to do a RLI.  In this pattern, RLI means to knit into the right leg of the stitch below the next one on the left hand needle, and then knit the next stitch.

I took some photos of how this looks in our shrug:

Here is how the stitch pattern starts out, with a k1 p1

Next, we knit into the right leg of the stitch below the next one on the needle:

Next, knit into the next stitch on the needle.  (Once you do this a few times, this step will become very fluid.)

Here is what the ribbing looks like after this step.  Every OTHER knit rib (between the markers that denote our sleeve sections) has two knit stitches.

Now, just proceed in this new rib stitch until we get to Increase Round 2.  Next week, we will work this second round of increases and FINISH THE SHRUG!

How are you coming along with your shrug? Where are you up to? Let us know!

And, for those of you who are finished already, share your project with us in the Customer Gallery.

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Textured Circle Shrug Knit-Along: Neckline Trim

June 4th, 2009

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Hi Everyone!

I’ve been on the road teaching a workshop for the last few days, so I apologize in advance for the quality of the photos in today’s post.  Since I was teaching all day, most of these were taken at night in the hotel.

Thank you to everyone who stepped up to answer questions since the last post! I was traveling and didn’t have my laptop, so I really appreciate it.

Today’s post will focus on picking up stitches and knitting the ribbing along the neckline of the shrug.

I tried to get some good photos of where / how I picked up my stitches, but this is actually a very individual process. (Here is a video from www.knittinghelp.com that shows how to pick up stitches.)

I tend to use the stitches along the outermost edge of the knitted fabric, while some teachers will tell you to pick up a little farther into the fabric. Wherever you choose to pick your stitches up, you’ll be fine, as long as you pick up the number of stitches recommended by the pattern. The two kinds of stitches that you will find at the edge of the fabric are what look like bumps (first arrow) and lines (second arrow.)  You can pick up into either of these.

You just insert the needle into the fabric and draw the working yarn through the loop that you’ve created.

  • HINT: It may take a few attempts to end up with the right distribution of picked up stitches along the front of the sleeves.  Something that helps is to divide up the fabric into smaller sections and make sure to pick up the appropriate number in each section.  For example, I had to pick up 70 stitches along the right and left fronts.  I had 10 stitches at the top of that section from the cast on, so I had to pick up 60 stitches along the diagonal.  I could have (just by eyeball, and using markers) divided the length of the fabric into 6 sections and made sure to pick up 10 sts in each section.

Begin picking up stitches at the right back section, and continue around the right front.

  • HINT: Fold the sleeve in half to bring the points together.  You may even want to seam your sleeves now, to make it easier to see where to pick up next.

At the cast-on edge, you just pick up one stitch for every cast on stitch, and then continue down the left front, and end at the left back right at the spot that your stitches are waiting for you on the scrap yarn.

Transfer these stitches to the needle.  Now you’re ready to work your ribbing in the round.

  • NOTE: Some people have asked me why I decided not to do a provisional cast on at the neck, so that the stitches could be seamlessly worked into the ribbing.  This is a possible alternative, but I like having the structure of that back neck cast on edge.  It really helps the garment to keep its shape.

For people who have added stitches at the under arm, you will fold the little flap of extra stitches up, and pick up sts along that top/cast on edge.

Place markers like I have in the photo below, so that you remember which sts are added, and which are part of the original pattern.  This way, you can still follow the original pattern instructions for your size when you are ready to do your increases.


  • NOTE: Several people have commented on the Ravelry page for this pattern that they think there is an errata in the next (increase) section.  I want to comment on that for those of us who are itching to go on ahead.

The pattern instructions themselves are fine, but the way that RLI is described in the pattern notes makes the increase section not quite work out.

  • RLI is defined by the pattern editor as knit into the right leg of the stitch below the next stitch on the left hand needle.
  • BUT, in order for the instructions to work, you also need to knit into the next stitch on the needle.  When I do this, it is one fluid motion, and I consider it one operation.
  • So to ME, RLI means to knit into the right leg of the stitch below the next stitch on the needle, and then into the next stitch on the needle…and that is how the pattern is intended to be worked.
  • Here is a video for RLI (the instructions are just the way I describe above, to do the increase and then knit the next stitch in one operation…except that the abbreviation on the site is KRL)

My next post will describe the increase section in detail.

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Textured Circle Shrug Knit-Along: Sleeves

May 28th, 2009

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Time to move on to to the SLEEVES section.  This week’s installment is pretty easy, technique-wise, but there’s a lot of knitting to do (both sleeves).

The last time we talked about the sleeves, we had placed them on a length of scrap yarn to be worked later:

Now transfer the sleeve stitches back onto your US8 needle.

When all of the stitches are back on the circ, the sleeve will look like this:

If you are happy with the width of the sleeve, you’ll just attach your yarn here at the beginning of a RS row. Continue with the pattern, just following the directions as indicated.  You’ll begin working in Textured Stripe wherever you left off in the stitch pattern.  On my sleeve, before I put the sts on the scrap yarn, I had completed 5 rows of reverse stockinette and so now I’ll start right in on 8 rows of stockinette stitch.

The instructions say to work 2 rows even, this just means to work two rows straight (no increases or decreases) whether you should knit or purl according to the stitch pattern.

Sizes 40-42 (44-46, 48-50, 52-54) begin working decreases to narrow the sleeve as it goes down the arm.  If you don’t want to narrow the sleeve, just work straight (no increases or decreases) in textured stripe until the sleeve is the length indicated in the pattern, or to desired length.

Other sizes just work straight (no increases or decreases) in textured stripe until the sleeve is the length indicated in the pattern, or to desired length.

The length indicated in the pattern is FROM THE UNDERARM…so measure from where you are starting TODAY, not from the very top of the sleeve.

IF YOU NEED TO INCREASE THE WIDTH OF YOUR SLEEVE:

You simply cast on a few stitches at the underarm.

I’ve cast on about 10 st (using the “knitting on” method) at the under arm, to show those who want to modify the sleeve width how this would look.

To see how to cast on sts, check out the “Cast on” videos at.www.knittinghelp.com.

Here’s what the sleeve with extra stitches looks like as you knit it:

You can cast your stitches on where I did, at the beginning of the first RS row, or you can cast half on at the beginning of the row and half at the end, or all at the end. It depends, really, on how many extra stitches you need. The more you cast on, the more the seam will move around the arm. If you’re casting on more than about 10 sts, I’d cast on half at the beginning of this first row, and half at the end, so that the seam stays in the center of the sleeve.

Here is what my shrug looks like with the sleeves finished.  (I’ve lightly steamed mine, just so that you can see how it looks; you do not need to steam your knitting at this point.)

You can see that I’ve done two different sleeves.  The one on the left is done “normally” without increasing at the under arm.  For the sleeve on the right, I’ve added extra stitches at the under arm.  I’ve done this so that I can work the next step of the pattern as an example for everyone.  Your sleeves will (hopefully) be the same.  Your sleeves may also be longer or shorter than mine, depending on how you prefer them to look.

Next week, we’ll pick up stitches and start working on the ribbing.

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Textured Circle Shrug Knit-Along: Separating the Sleeves from the Body

May 21st, 2009

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Just to recap: last week we cast on for the shrug, knit the yoke, and tried on the shrug to make sure it fits.

In today’s post, we will go through some of the possible fit problems that you may have run into while trying on your shrug after last week’s installment.

Once we do that, we will make fit adjustments, place our sleeves on scrap yarn to be worked later, and finish the body of the shrug.

Next week we will finish the sleeves, and in the following post we will begin the neckline trim.


By this time, you’ve completed the yoke portion of the shrug, and are ready to move on to finishing the body (the pink-filled area in the schematic above.)

This is the point at which you have an opportunity to try on your shrug (if you have not done so already) and make any adjustments in the size before continuing with the project.

In my last post, I transferred my whole shrug to a long piece of yarn so that I could show you how the project looks at this stage, and also to show how you could make sure that your shrug fits.  (See last post for photos.)

There are several possible fit issues that might come up at this stage, and we will discuss possible solutions to them in today’s post.

Some possible fit problems:

  1. My shrug fits fine across the back, but the armholes feel too tight.
  2. My shrug is tight across the back and the armholes feel too tight.
  3. My shrug is too big across the back, but the armholes feel fine
  4. My shrug is too big across the back and the armholes feel too big.

Fit issue #1 will be handled next week when we get to the section of the pattern marked “SLEEVES.”  Since we are simply finishing up the body for right now, and your body section fits properly, we don’t do anything different at this point.

Fit issue #2 is corrected by just working a few more rows of the shrug, continuing on in both Textured Stripe AND increasing every RS row.  You can simply knit a few rows, try the shrug back on, see if it fits, and repeat that process until you get your custom fit…

OR you can figure out figure out exactly how many more rows you need to complete by doing the following:

  • Figure out how much wider you need to make the back in inches.
  • Figure out how many stitches you need to make up that measurement.
  • Work enough raglan increase rows to bring you to that width. (At the same time that you are adding width to the back, you are also increasing the sleeves, so this *should* also help the fit of your sleeve.)

EXAMPLE:

  • Say I need to make my shrug bigger across the back by about an inch.
  • Using my gauge, I know that I have about 4.5 stitches in one inch, so I need to add about 4.5 stitches to the back of my shrug to make it one inch wider. (To make the math easier, I’m going to round down to 4 sts.)
  • I increase 2 stitches in the back of the shrug every RS row, so I need to work 2 additional increase rounds in order to increase ~1 inch of width.

Working these extra rounds will also increase the width of my sleeve by one inch.  If that isn’t quite enough extra width at the sleeve for your fit issue, you can add more stitches next week when we get to the “SLEEVES” section of the pattern.

Fit issue # 3: For this fit issue, you will need to rip back a few rows, until the fit across the back feels good to you, and then add more stitches to the sleeve next week when we get to the “SLEEVES” section of the pattern.  You can use the steps in the example above to determine exactly how many rows to rip back in order to get your exact fit.

Fit issue # 4: For this fit issue, you will just rip back a few rows until the back fits you the way you like it, and should not need to add stitches next week when you get to the “SLEEVES” section of the pattern. (Since both your back and sleeves were too big) …but you can if you do need to!

The arrow on the left in the photo below shows how ripping back a few rows will make both the back and sleeves smaller, while the right arrow shows that adding a few rows will make both sections larger:

Now that you’ve solved your fit issues (if you had any) let’s move on to finishing up the body of the shrug.

At this point, the pattern reads:

SEPARATE SLEEVES FROM THE BODY

NEXT ROW(RS): Place next 50(58, 66, 69, 77, 85) sts for first sleeve on scrap yarn to be worked later, rejoin yarn and work to marker, place last 50(58, 66, 69, 77, 85) sts for first sleeve on scrap yarn to be worked later.

So, what you do is just thread a darning needle or tapestry needle with a length of yarn (abot a foot long or so) and use the darning / tapestry needle to remove the 50(58, 66, 69, 77, 85) sts from your circular needle.  Then, you knit or purl (whatever you should do according to the Textured Stripe pattern) across the back, then just place the last 50(58, 66, 69, 77, 85) stitches onto another length of yarn.

It will look like this:

Skip ahead in the post to: NEXT ROW (RS)

  • NOTE: If you already have your whole shrug on a long length of yarn, you can just run your circular needle back through the stitches for the back and leave the sleeves on the scrap yarn. (You’ll have to work one extra row of the back in stitch pattern in order to be caught up with the pattern):

Step 1:

The entire shrug is on a length of waste yarn.  Run your circular needle through ONLY the back section (section between the 2 markers.)

Step 2:

Cut the scrap yarn at center back, pull the cut end out of the back stitches, tie.

Now just tie the ends of the scrap yarn.

Now, the pattern says to “work one row even.”  This just means to work one row in Textured Stripe pattern without doing any increases or decreases.  From this point in the pattern until we begin the next section, you will only be working with the stitches used for the body.

So, work your one row, then go on to:

NEXT ROW (RS): Continue in textured stripe, bind off 3 sts at beg of next 10(8, 0, 16, 0 0) rows.  Then, 4 sts at beg of next 6(8, 14, 4, 16, 16) rows.

  • If you have a zero in the first set of instructions (3rd, 5th, and 6th sizes) you start right away decreasing 4 sts at the beginning of the next 6(8, 14, 4, 16, 16) rows.

Stitches are decreased here in order to give a curved shape to the back of the sweater, so that it slopes inward and will help the ribbing to hug the wearer’s lower back, rather than hanging loosely around the body.

  • Fit tip: If you would like to extend the length of your shrug, I suggest that you do it by lengthening the ribbing, rather than extending this section.  When you add the ribbing, it will pull the lower edges of the shrug, and you will get a “bubble-back” look to the sweater!

Here is what my shrug looks like at this point:

(See my flickr set for more photos)

Here’s how to transfer the stitches onto scrap yarn.  You can do this same process to save the sleeve stitches:

Thread a darning needle loaded with waste yarn through the stitches on the needle.

Remove the sts from the knitting needle onto the darning needle.

Transfer sts from darning needle to yarn.

I’d like to invite everyone to post your progress shots to the flickr pool for this KAL.  And, if you’re still having any “so…what am I doing wrong here?” questions, this would be a great place for you to post photos of what your knitting looks like, so that your fellow “KALers” (including me) can help out.

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Textured Circle Shrug Knit-Along: Casting On and Working the Yoke

May 14th, 2009

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In this week’s post, we will cast on and work through the YOKE of the shrug.  The yoke of the sweater is the part that contains the cast on edge, the beginnings of the sleeves, and the top part of the body.

Now that you’ve found the perfect yarn, the correctly-sized needles, made your swatch, checked your gauge, and breathed a sigh of relief…LET’S CAST ON!

Gather up your yarn, needles, two stitch markers, and cast on 60 (60, 60, 68, 68, 68) stitches.  (I’m making the 3rd size.)

  • Tip: Even though I’ve been knitting for a number of years, I went through my copy of the pattern and circled the direction numbers and all stitch counts for my size.  This really makes the pattern a lot easier for my eye to follow, especially on a black and white print out.

Do not join to work in the round. Even though we are using circular needles, because the shrug is left open at the front, we work back and forth.

  • We use circular needles because we shape the sleeves and shoulders as we go, so we have to navigate some curves.  It might be possible to knit this shrug on straight needles, but I haven’t tried!

RAGLAN SET-UP ROW (WS):This is the portion of the pattern in which we place our markers and set up the placement of the raglan increases.

The instructions say to begin working in stocking stitch or stockinette (which looks knit on the RS of the fabric.) Because row 1 is a WS row, we need to purl.  So, purl along, placing markers as indicated in the instructions. (pm = “place marker”)

RAGLAN INC ROW (RS): [KFB, work to 1 st before marker, KFB] twice, work to last st, KFB — 66 (66, 66, 74, 74, 74) sts.

Written in this shorthand notation, these instructions may confuse the beginner knitter.  Written in longhand, they would look like this:

  • Knit into the front and back of the first stitch on the needle, work to one stitch before the marker, knit into the front and back of the next stitch, pass marker from left hand needle to right hand needle, knit into the front and back of the next stitch, work to one stitch stitch before the marker, knit into the front and back of the next stitch, pass marker from left hand needle to right hand needle, knit into the front and back of the next stitch, knit to the last stitch, knit into the front and back of the last stitch.

In other words (because even written out longhand, it’s a lot!): Increase in the first stitch, increase one stitch on each side of every marker, and increase in the last stitch. (Increases 6 sts.)

NOTE: KFB = knit into both the front leg and the back leg of the next stitch on the needle.  This increases one stitch.  Here’s a video at www.knittinghelp.com showing how to KFB (continental) (English).

Work this whole section (13 rows) in stocking stitch, so that all of the RS rows are knit, and all of the WS rows are purled.

  • Each increase row adds 6 stitches.
  • At the end of this section, you should have 96(96, 96, 104, 104, 104) sts.

Here’s what my knitting looks like after finishing this section:

Here’s a closeup of how the raglan increases look:

NEXT ROW (RS): Begin textured stripe stitch pattern, and at the same time, continue working your raglan increases until you have 180(204, 228, 242, 266, 290) sts.

  • THIS is the point at which you begin working in the textured stripe pattern.  The first 5 rows will look purled on the RS, and the next 8 rows will look knit on the RS.  Then, just repeat this pattern.
  • NOTE: While working in reverse stocking stitch, work your raglan increases as PFB (purl into the front and back of stitch) so that they look purled on the RS (this just adds continuity to the look of the purl sections.) Here’s a video on www.knittinghelp.com showing how to PFB (continental) (English).

Here’s what my shrug looks like (on the needles) at the end of this section:

When you break the yarn at the end of the last row, be sure to leave a tail.  Any time in knitting when you cut or break a working yarn, you MUST leave a tail so that that end can either be tied off and woven in, or attached to a new length of yarn and worked later.

TIP: At this point, I suggest that you thread a darning needle with a long length of waste yarn and place the whole shrug onto the waste yarn.  You can now try on your shrug and make sure it fits you properly.

  • If it’s too small, work a few extra rows, continuing your raglan increases every-other row.
  • If it’s too big, just rip back a few rows until it fits.

This may sound like a lot of extra work, but it’s so much better to take the time to check fit now than it is to find it doesn’t fit later!

Here’s what my shrug looks like on a length of waste yarn:

You an see that we’ve formed (from L to R) the cap of the left sleeve, the back of the shrug, and the cap of the right sleeve.

To see if your shrug fits, try it on, matching the points indicated with arrows in the photo above at the under arm.

Next week, we will separate the sleeves and continue to form the back of the shrug.

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Textured Circle Shrug Knit-Along: Gathering Your Materials and Getting Ready to Cast On!

May 7th, 2009

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Gathering materials for the Textured Circle Shrug

Hello and welcome to the Textured Circle Shrug Knit-Along!  This is one of my favorite patterns from my newest book, Glam Knits, and I’m so happy to get to share it with you here.

Before we get started with the knitting, let’s take some time to gather up our materials and all of the information we’ll need.

First, you’ll need the pattern, which can be downloaded here.

Once you have printed out the pattern, start on page 1 (page 83 in Glam Knits,) and read through the information section.

The first thing you need to do is choose a size to knit. The pattern is sized for a range of bust measurements 32-34 (36-38, 40-42, 44-46, 48-50, 52-54).  You can simply choose the size that is closest to your actual bust measurement.  The shrug doesn’t actually cover the bust, so if you want to double-check that the size you choose is the right one for you, you can check out the schematic on the second page of the pattern.

Textured Circle Shrug Schematic

Take a look at the measurements given at the bottom edge of the drawing (for a larger schematic, click the drawing or refer to your pattern): 17.75 (19.5, 21.25, 23, 25, 26.75)” This is the cross-back measurement of the shrug.  (The measurement of the shrug across the back, lying flat.) You can measure across your own back, from under arm to under arm, and compare these numbers to your own measurement, then choose the size that you think will fit you the best.  Because this is a top-down knit, you will be able to adjust the size as you go.  (We’ll talk more about adjusting the size in a later post.)

Now that you have chosen your size, go on to the next section: YARN

You will need aproximately 882(1078, 1176, 1470, 1666, 1862) yards of worsted weight yarn.  I have chosen to knit the shrug in LB Collection Organic Wool in the Toffee color.  You can knit yours in any worsted weight yarn, and will get a great result, as long as your gauge is the same as given in the pattern.

Some alternative Lion Brand Yarns are:

Now that you’ve chosen your yarn, take a look at the next section in the pattern: NEEDLES

The needles that I recommend are given as a guide.  You’ll need to knit a swatch and make sure that the gauge that you come up with is the same that is given in the pattern (18 sts and 26 rows in 4″ of textured stripe pattern using the larger needle.) If you end up with more stitches per inch, you may need to choose a larger (US9) needle, and if you end up with fewer stitches per inch, you’ll choose a smaller (US7) needle.

The larger US 8 (5mm) needle is used to knit the body and sleeves of the shrug, and the smaller US 6 needle is used to knit the trim.  Do not worry too much if you can’t find the exact lengths given in the pattern.  Needles from 24″ to 40″ will work just fine.

Once you have located your needles, gather up your NOTIONS

  • Stitch markers (you will need 4 markers)
  • Scrap yarn (this is used to put the sleeve stitches “on hold” while we work the body of the garment…if that makes no sense to you now, STAY TUNED, we’ll talk more about it later!)
  • Darning needle (for putting the sleeve stitches onto the waste yarn, and later for weaving in ends.)

Now that you’ve got all of your stuff together, start on a GAUGE swatch.

The gauge is given in the pattern as 18 sts and 26 rows in 4″ (10cm) in textured stripe.  SO, when you knit your swatch, you’ll want to knit it in the stitch pattern as written on page 84.

TEXTURED STRIPE:

  • Rows 1-5: work in Rev. St. st
  • Rows 6-13: work in St st.
  • Repeat rows 1 – 13.

I usually try to make a nice generous swatch, so I cast on 25 sts and work in stitch pattern until the piece looks approximately square.

Here’s my swatch hot off the needles (you can click on the images to enlarge):

gauge swatch before blockingAnd here it is after blocking, showing stitch gauge measurement:

stitch gauge measurement…and row gauge measurement.

row gauge measurementYou can see from the photos that I do get about 18 sts and 26 rows in 4″ square. (about 4.5 sts per inch and about 6 rows per inch.)

In the next blog post, we’ll cast on together for our shrugs and work through the yoke!

We’re also happy to annouce the two winners of our random drawing for a copy of Glam Knits, commenters #743 Zora and #1017 Mette. Congratulations and enjoy your book!

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