Ladies and gentlemen, for the first time ever…

This marks something of a milestone. I’ve been knitting for about 38 years now, and never, ever, ever have I done what you’re supposed to do before commencing a project and knitted a swatch. But the truth is I had some yarn that I wasn’t quite sure about, and I didn’t yet know what I was going to knit with it, so it seemed like knitting a sample and seeing how it behaved when it was knitted and washed would be helpful.


It’s mixed Corriedale and Hebridean from Blacker Yarns, overdyed turquoise. I knitted myself a sample using the needles suggested and got quite a stiff fabric. It softened up a bit when it was washed, so I thought I’d forge ahead and cast on. Then it occurred to me that maybe – just maybe – given the number of sweaters I’d knitted myself that I never wore (because they don’t fit), perhaps I should measure my gauge.

Glad I did. Because this yarn, which brazenly calls itself a DK, knits up at nothing like the nearly-six stitches to the inch that DK normally gets you. It’s five (and a tiny, tiny fraction of a stitch). Which scaled up to the 37 inches of the chest of this sweater adds up to at least an extra 30-odd stitches that I don’t need, which in turn is going to translate to an extra SIX INCHES of chest. So. Glad I made with the tape measure. (While I was being The Perfect Knitter I thought I might as well go the whole hog and knit myself another swatch on .5mm bigger needles, to see if I preferred that fabric. And that most definitely gets me five stitches to the inch.)


Anyway, after all the ruminations I’ve decided to knit myself a v-neck top-down sweater because I had such an awesome experience the last time I used The Knitter’s Handy Book of Top Down Sweaters and I am a glutton for punishment. That one did turn out ok in the end. I was trying to use up various bits of yarn and so getting exactly the same length of colour section in each bit of the sweater was a bit fiddly (had to knit all three sections simultaneously, which makes for a lot of needles). But at least it fits now…



(Or will do when he finally grows a bit – at the moment he’s pulling some sort of Tin Drum act and still wearing clothes he should have outgrown months ago.)


Author: Carolyn

I'm a knitter and blogger, a cook and a quilter, a woodworker and writer.

3 thoughts on “Ladies and gentlemen, for the first time ever…”

  1. I have been knitting all my life, and I still don’t do swatches. I learned that mostly cotton is unpredictable. I like the sweaters you make.

    1. Thank you! This was literally the first time and I haven’t regretted it – changing the needle size has made all the difference.

      1. I only make sweaters for dolls anymore, so if it doesn’t fit one it will fit the other. I just hate to do swatches.

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