Rocked Knitalong – swatching time

In preparation for casting on for the launch of our Rocked knitalong, I did some swatching over the weekend. I mentioned in the first post on the knitalong that my plan is to use Garden 5 instead of Cotton True Sport.

For my first swatch, I cast on 30 stitches using a US Size 4 (3.5 mm) needle. I did the 5 hem rows of stockinette stitch, and then worked 5 repeats of the Mesh stitch pattern. For my second swatch, I did exactly the same thing, except with a US Size 2 (2.75 mm) needle. Here are both of my swatches on the blocking board:


And here they are, unpinned and relaxed:


The swatch on the left gave me a gauge of 22 sts/4″, pretty close to the gauge called for in the pattern (which is 21 sts/4″). The swatch on the right gave me a gauge of 26 sts/4″.

Now is where my discretion comes into play. There is nothing wrong with either of my swatches. The swatch on the left is a bit looser since it was worked on larger needles, and therefore a bit drapier. The swatch on the right has a little nicer stitch definition but would obviously make for a more time-intensive garment. In either case, because my gauge does not match the pattern, I will have a little math to do.

First, I need to decide what kind of fit I want. The pattern tells me that this top is meant to fit with 4-10″ of positive ease. That’s a pretty wide range of ease, right? It also tells me that the garment in the pictures is the smallest size (40 1/2″ bust) modelled with 8″ of postitive ease. I know I like clothing that is oversized, so I know I want a reasonable amount of ease (postive ease = extra room to breathe!).


My bust size is about 34-35″, and I think a 40″ bust will work fine for me. If I liked even roomier clothing, I might go to the medium size. If you are unsure what type of fit you want, go to your closet and do some measuring. Find a top that you feel has a similar fit to what you’re trying to achieve with Rocked and measure it. The fabric in Rocked is fairly lightweight, so positive ease is not going to add a lot of bulk.

Another thing to consider is the length. If you take a look at the schematic, you can see the length measurements. This top is inteded to be somewhat cropped. I’ve heard from some of the people here in the office that they plan on making a longer length. I do plan on keeping the length in the pattern. I’m on the short side at 5′ 5″, and plan on layering my Rocked over a tank top. If you plan on lengthening the top, you’ll want to pay even more attention to the ease, particularly if your lower half is larger than your bust like mine is! Most of us don’t like shirts clinging to our behinds, so you’ll want to be sure you have ease to accommodate this measurement.

Try this: determine the total length of the top and where you’d like the lower edge to sit on your body, whether it’s your waist, hips, or wherever. Now, measure the circumference of this location. For me, if I were going to lengthen my Rocked, I would go to a larger size. My hips are several inches larger than my bust, so I would probably knit the medium size, or something between a small and a medium.

So, back to my swatches, I still need to decide what I’m going to do. Both fabrics are perfectly nice, but I think I’m going to go with the option on the right, at 26 sts/4″.  Because I have more stitches per inch than called for in the pattern, it’s time to do a little math. 26 stitches per inch breaks down to 6.5 stitches per inch. The measurement I’m aiming for on both front and back pieces is 20.25″ (half of the full bust measurement). To figure out approximately how many stitches to cast on, I will multiple 20.25 x 6.5. That gives me 131.625.

Looking at the pattern, I can see I need a stitch count that is a multiple of 4 stitches + 6.  If I round down to 130, I get a number that will work. Or I could round up to 134, and also get a number that will work, which is what I’m going to do. I’d rather err on the side of a little more ease than a little less. I’m not getting any younger or smaller, and I’d like to get the most use I can out of my new shirt!

Be sure to join us in the Universal Yarn Ravelry group to participate in the knitalong. I’ll be there to help with questions and join in the fun over the next several weeks. See you next week here for cast-on fun!


IRL – Two-In-One Hat

Sometimes the best things in life come easy, right? In this week’s IRL, Heather’s Two-In-One hat shows off the beauty of Poems Chunky‘s self shading colors with a simple hat pattern. And the best part? You can squeeze two hats out of just a single ball of yarn.

IRL_Poems Chunky_Heatherhat_ms_150

I spotted Heather earlier this week in her adorable hat and had to know the details. When she told me it was her own hat pattern and that she had enough yarn to make two hats from her single ball of Poems Chunky, I knew I had to share it with the world!

The Two-In-One Hat pattern is available for free on our website. Thanks, Heather!

Free Pattern Friday – Solitaire Stole

It’s Free Pattern Friday!

Lumen Multi Solitaire Stole wrapped_blogToday, the Solitaire Stole in Lumen Multi.

Lumen Multi 202 Essence_blogWow.  If there’s a match of design and yarn more suited to Spring, then I don’t know what it could be.  Lumen (right) and its variegated sibling Lumen Multi (134yds/50g) are both a great warm-weather blend.  Mostly matte cotton with stretches of shimmering viscose, it’s got just the right amount of shine to be eye-catching. While it’s perfect in the pastel 204 Reflect, I’m also wondering how it would look in a solid – or even with a variegated body and a solid border, picking up a new color as you knit across.

Lumen Multi Solitaire Stole_blog

This rectangular stole is worked sideways in one piece.  The Diamond Border pattern begins with 25 stitches. On WS rows 2-24, 1 stitch is increased at the beginning of every row. On rows 25-47, stitches are decreased back down.  The border pattern is charted and easy to anticipate without referring to the pattern once you’ve got the hang of it.

This is a great wrap for a brisk evening, when the weather’s a little uncertain but you still want to be prepared.  This is going on my list – after our Rocked knitalong is done!

Happy knitting!


It’s knitalong time!

A couple of months ago we released Cotton True Sport: Collection 1, a small group of warm-weather knits.  One piece from this collection really seems to have struck a chord with knitters: Rocked.

Craftsy Rocked3 Craftsy Rocked1B


It’s the type of knit that is entertaining enough to do with its short-repeat lace pattern, yet with enough interest to keep the hands happy. Back and front pieces are worked separately, each in a single piece, and then the pieces are seamed. The neck edging and sleeve cuffs are worked in simple stockinette stitch and there’s even a cute button tab. Several of us in the office have been itching to start summer projects and it only seemed natural to go with Rocked.

As written, this project takes between 4-7 balls of Cotton True Sport. But we have a number of other yarns that would be suitable too! Redlands Yarn Company, located in Redlands California has knitters working this top in our Fibra Natura Flax, another great warm weather yarn.  Bamboo Pop, Little Bird, and Garden 5 would also work well. The gauges are not all exactly the same as Cotton True, but that’s something we’ll cover during the knitalong.

For those of us participating here in the office, 4 are using Cotton True Sport, 2 are going with Flax, and I am using Garden 5.

Cotton True is a sweet Pima cotton available in plenty of shades. It is easy on the hands and will make for a truly wearable summer garment.

Cotton True Sport 3 balls blog

Flax is a yarn I’m always looking for a reason to use. I love linen and have used Flax on many occasions for personal wearables. It also has a great color range.

Flax new label pic prelim 3_cutout_web


Bamboo Pop is a sportweight 50 bamboo/50 cotton blend. Since its launch two years ago, Bamboo Pop has shot to the top of our bestselling yarns list. And it’s no surprise! It is a soft lovely natural fiber blend in tons of great shades from brights to adult neutrals.



Little Bird is a microfiber acrylic with a cottony feel and a nice sheen. Also in the sport range, this is a garment that can be machine washed and dried.

Little Bird 3 balls stacked_Ravelry


Lastly, I also suggest Garden 5, a high-quality mercerized Egyptian cotton. Garden also comes in 10 and 3 weights, but the 5 weight is closest to the gauge of Cotton True Sport. The mercerization of the cotton provides a nice shine and a bit of extra substance to finished projects.


The details:

  • We will be casting on for the project on Monday, April 13th (about a week and half after the release of this blog post)
  • I will be blogging once per week on Mondays regarding aspects of the project, such as any potential problems to look out for, yarn substitution tips, adjusting stitch counts to fit your gauge, finishing, etc
  • I’ll be hosting the participation-aspect of the knitalong over in our Ravelry group.
  • I’ll be wrapping up the knitalong on Monday, May 11th.

And that’s it! This will be pretty informal; just a fun way to work on the same garment together and share our progress and stories about our own projects. You can find the Rocked pattern available for download on Ravelry and Craftsy.  I’m off to gauge swatch with my Garden 5.  See you soon!

Amy Answers – Basketry Handbag

I got a call today from Ginger at In Sheep’s Clothing, a friendly LYS in Torrington, CT.  She told me about a customer of hers who is working on the Basketry Handbag in Yashi and is having trouble with the Basketry stitch pattern.

Yashi Purse 2_DSC1262

The main stitch pattern on the bag body is really cool looking. In Yashi (100% raffia), it creates a rustic woven look. The stitch pattern is easy enough once you get the hang of it, but can be tricky to wrap your head around it by reading the text instructions only. I decided the best way to help Ginger’s customer was to take a short video demonstrating the technique.

One key piece of advice I have on knitting this handbag in Yashi, is to keep the work very loose on the needles. Yashi is not elastic, so if you’re not conscious of the tautness of the work, things go downhill very fast.