On Saturday, I attended a knitting workshop by Liz Gemmell, put on my my branch of the Knitters Guild of NSW. It was, I suppose, an introduction to designing your own knitwear - or adapting existing patterns, either in size or construction method or technique. Liz also told us a bit about her career as a knitwear designer and showed off some of her garments and other designs, including the most amazing knitted floor rug - knit in the round from the centre out, in traditional fair isle, into a square, using 12ply (bulky) wool and 4mm needles. Just amazing!
For homework, we were asked to knit a 25cm swatch - that's a big darn swatch, especially when you don't have as much time to knit as you used to, but it was worth it in this case. I decided to swatch for Olive, because I am so keen to knit and wear this! I used the Isager Strik Alpaca 2 yarn the pattern specifies (thanks Pru for destashing!!), which is a fingering weight 50/50 Alpaca/wool.
The newspaper is the pre-blocked size, the post-blocked swatch is underneath. I was surprised that the swatch didn't grow more in length on blocking, as alpaca usually will do that. I think I will reblock it, and hang it while damp - that will be a better measure of true gauge I think. I will not, however, shake and thwack it while dripping wet, as Liz advised. I just can't!
Liz suggests measuring gauge in 3 different spots on the swatch, and averaging. An interesting exercise, as my gauge did differ a little bit over the swatch (by 1 stitch or 1 row).
I've decided I'm going to alter the pattern a bit - I love the gathered neckline and striped garter edging, but I think the blouson style body will just make me look pregnant. I could just not decrease before the garter edge on the bottom, but as there is no shaping in the body, I think that will also look like a maternity top. So I'm planning on putting in waist shaping. I'm glad the pattern is knit all in one piece from the top down, as that will make it a lot easier for me to try on as I go, but I will also, as Liz taught, draw out the pattern in its entirety before knitting it, and ensure my gauge and measurements will all match up (that's the "up here for thinking" reference).
Yeah, maths. Not my favourite way to spend an afternoon, but it will be worth it I hope, to ensure the fit of this garment is what I want it to be. Because really, my hatred of frogging is far greater than my dislike of a few sums!