How often do you challenge yourself to try new things? This week I decided that I would try a different method for making the toe of a sock. I’m not completely satisfied with what I’ve done—and I can always tell when I’m not because I quit working on something, even though I want to—but by setting a little challenge for myself, I have it party figured out, and now I can go back and refine my idea.
Challenge Yourself to Belon in Milky Way
Belon is a pretty easy lace pattern. Really it is an eyelet pattern that looks like lace. It is garter based, and once you get the rhythm of how the pattern works, every other RS or WS row is the same, just with more stitches. There is a really cool large decrease on Row 17 of the 18 pattern rows. This is great knitting for me. I can, after mastering the pattern, work it without slavishly following the instructions—I just keep them nearby so I can remind myself if I lose track. I always use markers between my pattern repeats. The Belon shawl uses short rows to create the shape, but when you swatch you don’t have to even worry about that!
Challenge yourself to do a swatch and the rewards are clear: Well first you check gauge, but beyond that, it is a great place to find the right needle for that project, to master the stitch pattern, and to become accustomed to the yarn so you are totally ready to do those short rows when you come to them in the pattern.
Challenge yourself to swatch and submit it before the August 15 drawing, and you will be ready to go when you win the pattern! Go here to get the stitch pattern—and there is a link to download Action charts.
Don’t have Milky Way from Anzula? They’d love it if you bought a skein. I’m pretty sure you’ll have enough yarn to do both a swatch and the entire shawl. Although a skein of Milky Way is about $45 a skein, but it has 500 yards! I believe the shawl is about 15 to 20 hours of knitting. $45/15 = $3/hour. Add in the cost of the Belon pattern and the entire project adds up to $53/15 hour = $3.50/hour. Pretty cheap entertainment–and you get a finished product! Work in two ends and block. That’s it! 15 to 20 hours of entertainment, a shawl, minimal finishing, and a pattern you can reuse. Hmmmm, not a bad investment. Plus, I like making it enough I’ve done it three times!
Challenge Yourself to Latin Quarter in Breeze
Challenge yourself to do the Tilting Ladder swatch and it could be the the perfect launch for a project in 2018. Breeze is silk and linen, so you could be ready to knit this in the spring, and wear it all summer. The stitch pattern is used in Latin Quarter. The shell looks great on a variety of body types, and the shawl is beautiful to wear or to drape on a chair. Roll this shell and shawl set up for traveling and you are ready for anything.
I’m not going to lie, this is definitely more involved knitting! There are eyelets and cables, but again, I find it pretty easy to work without slavishly following the pattern once you get some practice at it. The swatch will familiarize you with Tilting Ladder so you can be confident when you start knitting your main project. The pattern is worked at different gauges in the two pieces.
The drawing for this swatch is set for September 15, so challenge yourself now! Breeze is a fabulous yarn. I was so surprised at how easy it was to work with. You could win the $20 Latin Quarter pattern and have instructions for both a shell and a shawl. Breeze is about $36 a skein, weighing in at 750 yards. The Latin Quarter project is obviously more of a time commitment, as well as more of a yarn commitment. The shell needs 2 or 3 skeins and shawl needs 2 or 3 skeins, and the . All in you would need to invest about $144 to $216 (maximum yarn needed) to get both pieces. The great thing about swatching? You only need one skein, and a small amount of time.
I remember the first time I made the shawl it took about 48 hours to knit. Challenge yourself to knit the shawl in the larger size, and it will cost you $2.25/hour. I can’t recall how long the shell took to make, but it is mostly Stockinette and it is worked in the round, so let’s say it takes 20 hours. You do the math. This lovely yarn ends up being a fairly small investment. Plus, endless hours of entertainment. Always, you end up with a finished piece—and these both have minimal finishing off the needles.
I’ve got more to talk about, but this is getting long. The take away from this should be to challenge yourself to swatch!
What if you hate the stitch pattern? You’re done. Move on.
What if you can’t get gauge? Try a different needle.
What if you can’t afford the yarn. Do the swatch in something you already have! Give it a try. If you love it and want the yarn, save up: Thirty-five lattes will get you $108!
Challenge yourself to do a swatch. It is about two or three hours of time to make a good swatch, and you were knitting, so it isn’t like you gave up a lot. Have you ever used Action charts? Many knitters find them a real boon to chart reading. If you don’t like them, then plug the pattern into Stitch Maps (that decrease on Belon is a challenge) and use that.
Me? I’m off to swatch something. Did I mention that swatch knitting is perfect travel knitting?