Category Archives: Rocked Knitalong

rocked knitalong – working into a double yo

Rocked Knitalong Graphic

As I was knitting along on my Rocked, I was working a lace pattern row with its double yarnovers. When I reached the next (WS) row and was working the [k1, p1] into each double yarnover (yo), it occurred to me that this could make for a good video.

When there is a double yo on your needle, it can be confusing just how to knit or purl into it. If this is your first time dealing with double yarnovers, give this video a try. I hope it helps!

 

 

Rocked Knitalong – ready, set, cast on!

Are you ready to cast on for your Rocked yet? I have a confession to make – I just couldn’t wait until our official kick-off date and cast on over the weekend. I’ve made it through almost my first ball of Garden 5 and am about 5″ into my piece.

Amy Garden 5 section 1 hi-res

But actually I’m more than 5″ in, because my work thus far is UNBLOCKED. If I refer back to my blocked swatch, I can see that 8 repeats of the pattern (32 rows) = 4″. Currently, I have 12 repeats done of the pattern, which should block out to 6″. So, yay! I’m further along than I thought.

Sandi cast on using Flax and has finished her first pattern repeat.

Sandi Flax section 1 hi-res

If you’ll remember after her swatch post, she ended up with a gauge of 22 sts x 32 rows/4″. Compare that with my gauge of 26 sts x 32 rows = 4″. My yarn and needle size (Garden 5 & US Size 2) are smaller than hers (Flax & US Size 5), yet our row gauge is the same. I find that fascinating!

Heather has opted to go for Bamboo Pop in her Rocked. Heather is unselfishly knitting this for her teenage daughter – lucky girl!

Heather Bamboo Pop swatch hi-res

 

Heather swatched in color 107 Ocean and got the gauge listed in the pattern on US Size 4’s. I was surprised by this, because Bamboo Pop is just a bit heavier than Cotton True Sport. But again, everyone’s gauge is unique!

And now, let’s talk a little more about the gauge swatch. I’ve been knitting for several years and have done a bazillion gauge swatches. Okay, maybe not quite that many, but I’ve done lots. Being an experienced knitter, I sometimes overlook things that I assume everyone, even newer or less experienced knitters know. Case in point: the gauge swatch.

Yonca (as in the lovely lady in this week’s IRL) came to me last week and told me her gauge swatch was not working out. Yonca is a very smart woman and is not new to knitting, but is somewhat new to swatching. There it is, I’ve outed Yonca as a typical non-swatcher. (Sorry Yonca!) But apparently she’s listened to my harping long enough that she decided to take the plunge this time and buckled down. But she ran into a snag with her swatch.

In the Rocked pattern, the gauge is listed at 21 sts x 27 rows = 4″ in the Mesh pattern. It is standard practice to list gauge in a pattern over 4″ (or 10 cm).

gaugeimage1

 

Most stitch patterns require a certain number of stitches in order for them to work out. In the case of the Mesh pattern, you need a multiple of 4 stitches plus 6.

GaugeImage_2

 

If you look at the cast-on numbers for each size in the pattern, you will see that they are all multiples of 4 stitches plus 6. This means, multiple a number by 4, add 6, and you will have a number of stitches that works with the pattern. For example, for my gauge swatch I cast on 30 stitches, which is (4×6)+6. Sandi’s gauge swatch consisted of 38 stitches (4×8)+6.

Yonca, however, thought that the gauge listed in the pattern (21 sts x 27 rows) meant that she should cast on 21 stitches for her swatch. It is easy to see why she may have thought that! I forget sometimes the things that are second nature to me now are not necessarily common knowledge for all knitters. When Yonca started working the Mesh pattern over her 21 stitches, it did not work out because 21 is not a multiple of 4 stitches plus 6.

So let me break down the gauge swatch once and for all:

Before beginning most projects, particularly a garment (that needs to fit!), it is very important to know your gauge, or # of stitches/rows per inch. Knitting is pure math. Well, it’s also a lot of other pretty things. But math is what makes things a certain size.

In order to figure out what your actual gauge is, you must do a gauge swatch. To choose a needle size, try starting with the recommended needle for your pattern and/or yarn. It’s a good idea to cast on enough stitches for around 6″. You want to be able to measure in the middle of the swatch avoiding the edges. If you are swatching in stockinette stitch, then any number of stitches will do, as long as your swatch is big enough to get a good idea of your gauge. When swatching in pattern, you must cast on the appropriate number of stitches relative to that pattern, as described above.

For my swatches, I cast on with a smaller needle size than the needle used in the pattern stitch. Because Rocked begins with a stockinette stitch rolled hem using a smaller needle, I wanted to test my stockinette gauge at the same time as the Mesh gauge. I followed the hem pattern as written, switched to my larger needle, and then continued in pattern.

Garden5_swatch_2

After I bound off my swatch, I wet-blocked both and pinned them on a blocking board. I plan on hand washing my finished top, so this is how I blocked my swatches also. After the swatches dried, I unpinned them and then measured.

Have any more questions about swatching or anything else? Leave your question in the comments section or join us on Ravelry! I’ll be  back here on the blog over the next month discussing other aspects of our knitalong.

Rocked Knitalong – another view on swatching

Today, I have the pleasure of handing over the proverbial mic to Sandi Rosner, the creative director for our sister company, Premier Yarns. Sandi elected to participate in our knitalong using Flax.

From Sandi:

I’m thrilled at the opportunity to participate in this knit-a-long! I’m happy to have the chance to knit something for myself, and this versatile summer top is just the thing.

I’ve chosen to use Fibra Natura Flax for my Rocked. Why? Linen. I’ve recently moved from the mild, arid climate of Northern California to the steamy heat of North Carolina. With its lightweight absorbency and easy care, linen is a big part of my survival strategy as the dog days of summer loom. I asked Amy to choose a color for me, and she picked this lovely blue gray called Mineral. Over jeans and a tank, or a black cotton skirt and a cami, this top will be in heavy rotation all summer long.

I cast on 38 sts with size 5 US/3.75 mm needles, and went straight into the Mesh pattern stitch. I worked 9 repeats of the 4 row pattern and bound off.

flax swatch 1

The first thing you’ll notice is that this swatch has a distinct bias to the left. Since the stitch pattern involves a Right Twist every 4 rows, this isn’t really surprising. That little maneuver is consistently pulling the fabric in the same direction causing the whole piece to slant. If this hold true through blocking, then the side seams of my top will want to twist around my body – not something I’m willing to try to pass off as a design feature. But I’m going to withhold judgement until after blocking.

I chose a rather unconventional blocking method – I threw my swatch in the washer and dryer with a load of laundry. Since I intend to machine wash and dry my finished top, I wanted to see 1) how the fabric transforms, and 2) how much shrinkage to expect.

flax swatch 2

My swatch came out of the wash looking like a sad, rumpled little thing. What you can’t see is how much softer and more supple the fabric became. Flax can feel a little stiff and wiry in the knitting, but it softens up nicely in the wash.

You can also see that the bias problem was not entirely resolved by the wash. On to Step 2, a gentle steaming.

I took the swatch to my ironing board and applied a healthy shot of steam, without letting the iron actually touch the fabric – I didn’t want to flatten the texture. The steam relaxes the fibers and makes the piece malleable. I used my fingers to gently nudge, push and pull the piece into shape, then let it cool.

flax swatch 3

As you can see, the piece straightened out nicely. The fabric is smooth, with good stitch definition, and the bias is nearly gone. This will do.

My gauge came out at 22 sts and 32 rows = 4” in Mesh pattern. Not quite a match for the gauge called for in the pattern, but I like the fabric, and I’m willing to do the pattern modifications required to make it work.

Unlike the lovely model you see in the pattern photographs, I’m well past middle age. My body tells a tale of motherhood, gravity and many fine meals. I’d like 4-5” of ease for this top, so I’m going to aim for the largest size. I know I need a multiple of 4 sts + 6 for the pattern repeat, so I’m going to cast on 150 sts. This should give me a finished bust measurement of 53 ¾”.

For this style, I prefer my tops long enough to hang past the curve of my belly. Looking at the schematic, I can see that I want to add length in two places. I’ll add 2” before I begin the sleeve shaping. I also want the sleeves to fit loosely around my upper arms. I’ll add another 2” between the sleeve shaping and the neck shaping, making the sleeves 4” bigger around. With a total of 4” added length, and the bigger sleeves, this top will be both comfortable and flattering on my less-than-model-perfect body.

Hmm…I’d better ask Amy to set aside a couple more skeins in this lovely color, just in case.

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:

Garden5_swatch_1

And here they are, unpinned and relaxed:

Garden5_swatch_2

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!).

Rocked_web

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!

 

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.

StackedBalls_smaller

 

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.

262_skein

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!