My apologies for missing last week’s post. Things got a little sideways and all of a sudden BOOM! it’s Monday and there’s no blog post written.

You see I typically write these posts ahead of time. Sometimes they are written the night before and sometimes they have been in process for weeks before they’re published. I don’t have any in the queue right now so if I don’t get the chance to sit down and think for a good chunk of time, nothing gets written.

Last weekend, I got to go pick up the yarn for my Anni sweater. It’s a gorgeous grayish light blue. I made my swatches, and I washed and blocked them.

Yes, you heard that right, I made swatches. And I washed them. And I blocked them.

It took a couple of evenings of knitting time to get the swatches made, but taking the time now to find gauge and see how the yarn will behave when wet will save me some frustration later (flashback to Hubby’s sweater last year.) I would really like to make a sweater that fits me and avoid having to make it twice.

So, I started using the recommended needle size for the pattern which is a US 4 (3.5mm). The pattern lists two gauge swatches, one in stockinette (which is plain knitting) and the other in the smocking pattern that is used around the bottom of the bodice. The pattern’s gauge section says the stockinette gauge is 24 stitches by 36 rows and should measure 4 inches. The smocking gauge is 30 stitches and 36 rows for 4 inches.I cast on 6 extra stitches in order to make the garter stitch edge you see in the photo below.

Pre-washed swatches.

Pre-washed swatches.

You can see that the pre-washed gauge is almost right on. But when washed and blocked: TADA! I got gauge on the first try. This means that I knit at the same tension as the pattern designer and I don’t have to change needle sizes in order to get the same result.

Post-blocking swatch size.

Post-blocking swatch size.

I have carefully measured myself, and carefully made and measured the swatches. I know what size I need to make in the pattern. Now I can get started. I have printed out the pattern and read through it, highlighting the instructions for the size I’m knitting. I’ve worked a few rows of the beginning, but I have other time-sensitive projects I need to finish before I can really work on this.

Just a side note, I am not a small person and I know this. I have been knitting long enough to know how much work is going to go into making myself a sweater with sock-weight yarn. I ordered two bags (10 skeins) of yarn to have enough to make the sweater in my size. If you’re a shop owner, and someone like me comes in to pick up yarn and tells you what their plans are for it, your next comment should not be, “That’s a lot of knitting.” Now, honestly, a fingering-weight sweater is a lot of knitting for any size person and that’s probably what she meant. I’ll assume that, anyway.

And with that bit, I’m off. Have a great week, friends!

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