Why We Testknit

Sending your brand new pattern to a testknitter is a lot like sending your baby to a new daycare. The phone rings, “your baby is misbehaving”. Your reply, “Oh, no, no, no, not MY baby.”

So there I was knitting away on my adult-sized sweater and thinking I was doing pretty well and then the email pinged and Yup, misbehaving big time.

My first thought was no, no, no (denial). Then cursing (anger at myself for missing this). Saying, “it will block out” over and over, was probably my first clue. After kicking myself black and blue, I had to finally accept that there was, indeed, a problem. Problem solving is my thing, right? I can do this. Hands rubbing together gleefully, it’s time to solve this puppy.

The problem? The myth that you can pick up 1 stitch for every ridge along the side of a garter stitch piece and it will always, but always, allow you to knit in a perpendicular direction with a smooth edge.

If this wasn’t embedded in your brain from your first garter stitch project, here it is. For garter stitch, if your row gauge is 5 Ridges = 1″/2.5cm (black arrow) and you pick up & knit along the side (red arrow), your stitch gauge will be 5 Stitches = 1″/2.5cm, always. Doesn’t that look lovely and smooth?

garter stitch ridge vs sts

Not so smooth on my adult sample.20200306_110448

See all that puffiness? The pick up & knit is not smooth and the Side panel is much shorter than it should be, that’s the real problem. Apparently working decreases at that outside edge of the Front piece so that the Front stitches go in a diagonal direction causes enough distortion that the myth of picking up 1 stitch for each ridge Does Not Work!

It was much worse on the Back. I had been trying not to look.20200306_110526

I know what you’re thinking. How could she miss that?!

Denial is an amazing thing. In the back of my mind I did think something was just a littleĀ  wonky but the rule of stitches to ridges thing works every time, doesn’t it? I’m sure of it. I’ve been sure of it for decades.

Nothing for it but to rip back. There might have been a little cursing. OK, more than a little.20200306_174728

I did mention the denial thing, right? Two x 100g balls, plus a bit more, worth of denial. I was into it big time.20200307_093247

And so the midnight awakenings begin until I finally came up with a workable solution. It was actually the second solution that worked but who’s counting. Solution: Work some increases as you pick up and knit.

Ta, da, look at that! Smooth along the pick up edge and a Side Panel that is the correct length. Worth every sleepless night.20200309_172742

I’m sure you’ve never done this. But if you have I feel your pain.

My child-sized Build a V is published and has the correction in it. Yay.

Hope you’re keeping well and happily knitting. Tell me what you’re knitting on my NEW ravelry group: Debgemmellmods.

Stay well.

Deb

Any Gauge and GAUGE-FREE patterns by Deb

Cabin Fever No-Sew patterns

ravelry group: Debgemmellmods

Deb on instagram

Start Small and Gauge-Free

This Gauge-Free Build a V sweater business is a new and exciting idea for me. Being able to dive into my stash and not worry about matching a specific gauge is wonderfully freeing.

I am going to begin with something small. It’s always easier to figure things out on a little sweater, no large time or yarn investment. I’m way ahead of this blog with my knitting and it’s looking great.

I am knitting a baby-sized Build a V sweater for a 12 month old. I have worked my Triangle Beginning to establish the width at the Back of Neck. That’s where it all starts, at the top of the Back. That’s an important measurement as you know but instead of working with a certain gauge we are going to use a ruler. Yes, a ruler with inches or centimeters on it. How simple and familiar is that?!

Dive into your stash, find some yarn and a pair of needles and knit along if you like. It’s a mystery baby knit. (There will be a published pattern soon.) Oh yeah, did I mention NO GAUGE SWATCH IS NEEDED!!!!

This Triangle Beginning took no time at all and measures 4″/10cm across the top finished edge. Yay. Step one completed. That was really quick.20200125_221643

Now to work a Back Panel. This piece of knitting is the anchor of the cardigan. It determines the total length of the garment.

Build a V back panel CHILD

We’ve established the Back of Neck measurement so now, keeping the stitch numbers the same and maintaining the V shaping that started with the triangle, knit a strip as follows:

Work a decrease at the beginning of the row, work the 2 increases at the centre marker as you did for the beginning triangle and then work a final decrease at the end of the row. Two decreases and two increases keeps the stitch count the same. Knit the wrong side row. Repeat the two rows. Work to the desired length for your cardigan. My 12 month size Back Panel measures 12″/30cm. It’s a l-o-n-g, narrow piece of knitting. Easy to knit once you get going.DSC_0105 (2) - Copy

Then, of course, since you know I get a trifle obsessed, I started 2 adult-sized sweaters because if it works for little people it could work for me too. The triangles are finished but there is more to come. I don’t want my sweaters to have a pointy Back Panel pointing towards my derriere, thank you very much. A change must be made to avoid that.20200205_090228 - Copy

DSC_0072 (2)

I may regret trying to knit three sweaters at the same time but here goes nothing…

Thanks for reading,

Deb

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

Cabin Fever No-Sew patterns

Deb on instagram

A sweater Without Gauge?

Can we make a sweater with no reference to gauge? If we don’t know what the gauge is how can that work? Isn’t gauge the most important thing? Doesn’t it ensure I make the proper size? If I get the correct gauge with my yarn I will be successful, right?!! I will make the sweater as pictured and in the correct size.

Let’s be rash and throw all that gauge stuff out the window. No more swatches, YAY. I call this “knitting without a safety net”!

What if you could dive into your stash, choose some yarn and get started. Is it possible to build a sweater piece by piece, fitting it as you go?

That’s what I’m going to do. I’m practicing positive thinking! I am going to make a Gauge-Free Garter Stitch V-Neck Cardigan piece by piece with a plan, as opposed to a specific-gauge pattern, with no reference to the gauge EVER. Don’t ask, don’t tell.

I’ve already started on a 12 month size. New week, the adult size begins too. You can join me and knit along.

Block #1

How does that sound, interesting?

Thanks for reading,

Deb

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

Cabin Fever patterns

Deb on instagram