I don’t know about you, but I am not always a careful reader. And I tend to second-guess myself, and question my interpretation, or lose track of what I was doing. A lot of things make me not the best knitting pattern follower in the world. But I don’t often have to follow a pattern because I am usually writing the pattern. So it is with great delight that I knit my own patterns. Because they are, actually, easy to follow.
Knitters are often afraid of my patterns because they are long. Blue Canoe is 13 pages. Page 1 is a cover page, there is a page of just stitch patterns and charts, one of techniques and abbreviations, another for schematics, and one that gives pattern information. So really there are only eight pattern pages!
My patterns are designed so you can use a stickie note to track down the pattern, just following along. In this case, there are tables for working the pattern rows (four), then tables for working pattern while shaping. The pattern tells you how many times to repeat and/or the length to knit to (or your desired length). You can happily paddle along, just doing as you are instructed.
I do suggest that you start with a gauge swatch. Really, is it worth getting partly through a garment only to find out that you didn’t hit gauge? I know they are boring. I know they seem pointless. But I also know that you will spend a fair amount of time on any project and you specifically wanted it to work! So please, do a gauge swatch. If you do a gauge swatch for the body, I will let you skip one for the neckband. Without guilt. Besides, you get to practice the pattern and you are practically a pro at it by the time you start your real knitting.
There are odd occasions where I really don’t like working a stitch pattern. If I have done a swatch, I discover that then, and I don’t have to go any further. Same for the yarn. Hate it? Move on. See, a gauge swatch is good! It is a fibery, stitchy, research paper, that you got to knit, not write.
I am supposed to get 6 sts to the inch on this Purl-Twist Knot pattern, so I am going to cast on 28 sts. Maybe even 32 sts. I like to take my gauge on the settled part of my knitting. And yes, I block. But first I trace around my swatch on a piece of paper. Then I steam my swatch because, yes, I cannot wait for it to dry. That is good enough for me unless I know the yarn needs to be washed to get a good gauge. I have a lot of experience, so I trust my judgment. I let the steamed swatch rest for a few hours before I take the gauge.
The photo is of what I make my knitters do. They don’t like doing gauge swatches either, but we need to be sure they are getting gauge. It is such a drag to have to pull out your knitting because it just isn’t going to be right. So go make a gauge swatch.
Check back to find out why I trace around my unblocked swatch.