Hi all! If you saw my recent blog post, you may have noticed that I purchase 4 beautiful skeins of local wool from Hill & Hollow Farm here in Tennessee. I’ve started working with them a bit, for a mystery sweater project for Nutmeg that I’m really excited about. Here’s my progress so far.
First, I began by making a swatch. I’ve realized over the past few years just how important it is to take the time to do a gauge swatch. A gauge swatch is crucial for several reasons.
- If you’re following a pattern, you can best determine what needle size you need to use with your yarn through your gauge swatch.
- If you’re NOT following a pattern, you’ll be able to determine how many stitches to cast on after doing a swatch
- You’ll be able to have a collection of little squares that you can make into an adorable streamer for your house when you do a gauge swatch
To make a successful swatch, follow these simple steps:
- work in stockinette for 15-20 rows in your smallest needle size
- work the next row (on WS of fabric) as K, so that a row of purls show up on the front and create a delineation between your needle sizes
- switch to the next needle size up and repeat steps 1 & 2
- switch to final needle size (if desired) and again, repeat steps 1 & 2
- when finished, lightly block your swatch, so that it lies flat, making it MUCH easier to actually count stitches (see picture above)
For this project, I only did two different needle sizes for my swatch, US 6 and US 7. I decided to go with the size 6 needles, mainly for aesthetic reasons, since I’m not following a pattern on this project but am writing it myself. The size 6 needles seemed to create a more pleasing fabric with this fiber than the size 7 needles did.
So…the project idea that I have so far is for an oversized, top-down sweater, with a large cable motif on front and back. I really loved working the shoulders in the method highlighted by CocoKnits Sweater Workshop book, so I’m starting with that as a beginning point.
I cast-on at the back neckline, then began to place markers on the 2nd row for both my increases and my large, double-plaited cable motif. Right now, I’m increasing 2 stitches on both RS and WS, until the piece reaches my shoulder width (22″) plus 6″ of ease. I’m nearly there, I have about 6 more rows to go, I think, until I can begin shoulder shaping. I’m excited to see where this goes, and excited to share this process with you all!
I’d love comments and thoughts below!