Making Monday, My First Test Knit

Swatching for Poppy Fields
I participated in my first test knit over the past three weeks. The designer, Kristen TenDyke, had posted an invitation on her Facebook feed. I figured it would be an interesting learning experience. I underestimated how much I would get out of this experience.

  • Swatching: typically, I swatch half heartedly. This is probably why sweaters have been fails for me. I dedicated time in swatching for this project, I had to. My order of wool from WEBs took a few days, so I knit with stash, Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted, the same wool ordered but a different color. Do you swatch and use this technique of binding off stitches to represent the size needle used? I have started doing this, and... I make a larger swatch, this one was about 6 inches square. I discovered, after blocking this swatch that I needed to go up a size. I made another swatch and blocked it. It met the gauge stated in the pattern. 
  • Free Pattern Testers Group: There is a structure and formality to this group. The designer lists the expectations and rules. As a participant, you are expected to post progress, make note of errors you discover and give feedback on the pattern layout and stitch abbreviations. Each week, if you don't post your progress, the moderator "earburns" you (sends you a private email link) to nudge you into giving progress on your progress. Being a member of the group forced me to be accountable, and to knit monogamously. 
  • New techniques learned: I learned to do a Tubular Cast On in the round. Have you ever tried this? It creates a firm edge, a folded over hem. It was so cool to do. Here is a link to Kristen's tutorial. I found it to be almost magical, and I love the firmness of the finish.
Sleeve edged with Tubular Cast On in the Round

  • Seaming: I used two videos to get polished results. The first is how to do Mattress Stitch, the second is a great demo on doing Set In Sleeves. (Sourced from Patons Yarns, How to Seam: Set-In Sleeves and Cheryl Brunette, Teachable Moments in Knitting on YouTube.)

Sleeve seaming
Picked up stitches for cowl neck edge
The biggest benefit I derived from the experience of test knitting is the deadline, knowing I started late, I dedicated a huge amount of time to the project. I completed a sweater in three weeks! Wow, that rarely happens!

I urge you to consider participating in a test knit. Perhaps a favorite designer or friend has a new pattern ready for release. Your participation assists the designer in clarification and feedback. You become a member of a mini KAL of sorts. I reached out to one knitter when I got stuck. The kindness of knitters never ceases to amaze me! I got good advice in quick time, all went well with her advice.

Finished Poppy Fields, pre blocking.
I urge to to pluck up some courage, be on the lookout for a test knit experience and see what you will learn!!


Asha Francis said…
Very cool! I love the colour. :)

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