Take the Plunge. Lindsay Lewchuk (aka Knit Eco Chic) helps you plunge into drop stitch knitting with a book of three designs done in Malabrigo Verano. There are instructions for variations, and several are shown. Each garment has multiple sizes; the shawl is a 72″ wingspan.
In the interests of full disclosure, Lindsay has taken my A System of Grading course and we belong to a designer group together. More interesting to me is that Lindsay lives with extreme environmental sensitivities which require that she live away from “civilization”. She has a routine for cleaning yarn (she can only use plant fibers) before it can be brought into her environment.
Plunging into Drop Stitches
I love dropped stitches, so I was anxious to take the plunge. Upon receiving the Take the Plunge pdf I took needles and yarn down to the couch for evening swatching. I am not very good at following other designers’ patterns. I’m used to calling the shots, not following instructions. After a couple of false starts I was on my way and I’m currently waiting for my swatch to dry so I can cast on a half-size sample of Dive.
I am not going to mention what I would do differently. Mostly it is stylistic stuff and we all adapt. That said, there is good instruction throughout and good photos. I would definitely do a swatch because it is how you are going to understand what is being done throughout the instructions.
Dropping stitches is almost too much fun. I am looking forward to doing the full length of Dive just to repeat that. I also love the other two designs, which utilize a different cable, so I was tempted by all of them.
Here are my swatch stats: I used Croquet from Anzula, which is a 50% silk, 50% merino blend. It is DK and I used size 6 needles. The yarn is leftover from another project. My half-size dress form (Dolly) always gets leftovers! I will make size adjustments to the pattern.
20.5 sts over 4″/10 cm and 26.5 rows over 4″/10 cm in drop stitch pattern.
5.125 sts/1″/2.54 cm and 6.625 rows/1″/2.54 cm.
The pattern between the garter was 5.5″/ 14 cm wide and 6.75″/ 17.2 cm deep.
Over garter the gauge was 9 sts over 2″/5.1 cm and 31 rows over 4″/10 cm.
4.5 sts/1″/2.54 cm and 7.75 rows/1″/2.54 cm.
18 sts over 4″/10 cm and 23 rows over 4″/10 cm in drop stitch pattern.
4.5 sts/1″/2.54 cm and 5.75 rows/1″/2.54 cm.
The pattern between the garter was 5″/ 14 cm wide and 7.5″/ 17.2 cm deep.
Over garter the gauge was 9 sts over 2″/5.1 cm and 23 rows over 4″/10 cm.
4.5 sts/1″/2.54 cm and 5.75 rows/1″/2.54 cm.
Working a Half-size Sample
Based on my numbers, I’m casting on 48 pattern stitches + 2 garter stitches on each side, working half the M lengths. I hung my swatch on Dolly to see how I wanted the patterns to align. I chose an even number so the Stockinette is at the center. The pattern has it varying per size. Dolly is quite busty 19″/48.3 cm (38″/96.5 cm full size) so I may need to work some extra rows in the front. At my gauge that will give me 11.5″/29.2 cm in width for a total of 23″/58.4 cm (46″/116.8 cm). Probably a little looser than I would normally choose. Everything is a trade-off when working half-size.
Really, Take the Plunge
I can hardly wait to Take the Plunge on the sample. At $27 Take the Plunge as a book is a bargain. I will get more than $30 entertainment out of knitting this sample for Dolly.
The yarn used runs about $15/skein, pima cotton, 205 yds/100g.
Dive: Sizes S (M) (L) (XL). Uses 3 (3) (4) (4) skeins
$45 (45) (60) (60)
Plunge: Bust Sizes 30 (34) (38) (42) (46) (50). Full Length uses 3 (3) (4) (4) (4) (5) skeins
$45 (45) (60) (60) (60) (75)
Crop Length uses 1 (2) (2) (2) (3) (3) skeins
$15 (30) (30) (30) (45) (45)
Submerge: 72″ x 16″ (at widest part). Uses 2 skeins. $30
Pattern Change Suggestions
These are things that make me nuts in how standard patterns are written, that are pretty easy to remedy:
- Row 7: Repeat Row 1. It is almost as difficult as just copying the row text there. I hate having to move my page marker to go backwards, because it is no longer marking my place.
- Stitch numbers not evident in chart. It was odd not to have the actual stitches before and after the cables spelled out in the chart. I finally wrote the number up the side of the chart because I had to keep going back to the text. I know that when developing charts it is difficult to make them succinct and clear, but I think clarity is most important.
- Photo of chain. Seeing the Chain over the bind off would have been really helpful. I failed to read the directions carefully on my swatch and I just did one chain stitch (not a CO/BO) over the dropped stitch.