There I was, all anxious to get going but I didn’t want to waste the yarn or the time to make a swatch (kids, don’t try this at home!) but I knew that would be incredibly foolish. With the angora, I had cast on 20 stitches and knit a few rows to get the tension that I wanted – slightly loose but not too loose - to make the yarn go farther and have the resulting fabric drapey and thinner - angora will be quite warm anyway and I didn’t want it to be like a quilted vest! I settled on T7. I unravelled that so as not to waste a drop!
I had some alpaca that looked like the
same thickness so I made a quick swatch with it. Technically, for a swatch on
the LK150/6.5mm machine you want to measure 30 sts by 40 rows with the orange
gauge, so I cast on 16-0-16 stitches wide and knit one full pattern repeat
which is 28 rows – I was using pre-knit yarn from a previous practice swatch (😉).
Pinned it out, steamed it, released it and then measured it, roughly a 6-inch
square, to obtain a starting point, of 18 stitches and about 22 rows to 10 cm.
So, I plugged that into my KR11 knit contour and found the mylar sheet with my
original half-scale schematic from 1999! I’m ready to knit for real! I get
going and I’m planning to mark my stitches on the real thing to be able to do
an actual gauge as I’m knitting the back – (see ‘cheating at swatches’ http://knitwords.blogspot.ca/2008/04/im-packing-up-to-go-teach-at-cardiknits.html). I’m not sure if I ever told you this but how do you hang yarn marks on the
16th needle on each side of 0 when one or both is out of work? You just
count over to the next needles that are in work – on this particular row, #16
left is out of work (I pulled the #16 needles out for this photo so you could
see) and looking at the right, #16 is in work but then there are two needles to
the right of that out of work, so I need to count over 3 needles to the right
on each one to find a working needle each side that will mark the 30 needles
(NOT stitches) required for the correct measurement -OMG, hope that makes
sense! Then I take a yarn tag, tie a knot in it so it won’t inadvertently pull
out and hang the loop over the needles I want to mark – don’t pull this through
or it will spoil your piece – you want to be able to cut these off the inside
without loosing a stitch after you’ve done your measuring!
I hung my stitch tags on row 19, 40 and 61 so I have
40 rows from bottom to top for the row gauge. At row 70, I took the whole thing
off on waste yarn and let it rest overnight before measuring for the final,
more accurate gauge and oh my! Just like the professional I am, it is 18
stitches by 22 rows! 😉
Oh, and one
more thing, on this pattern, I have set it up so when my carriage is at the
right, the transfers are done, check that the correct needles are in or out of
work and then two rows knit. If you are stopping to take a break, stop when the
carriage is at the left. That way, you won’t make the mistake of just knitting two
(more) rows before making the transfers! This is not exactly a fun pattern to
rip back 20 rows because you didn’t spot the error sooner ;-(.
coming to Raleigh to see this thing – it’ll be your only chance!