knit, test, test, knit…

If you haven’t read my recent posts (which really aren’t that recent – I’m getting lazy again), I started to test my knitting patterns through the Free Pattern Testers group on Ravelry.  It’s a great resource for free feedback (and also very exciting to see others’ finished items from reading your pattern!).

Besides having a few patterns tested with the group’s help, I also completed a few tests.  And they were (are?) so much fun!  Receiving a free pattern, brushing up on grammar skills, and knitting to the pattern’s specifications (yes, I actually checked gauge) not only help give feedback for the designer, but also have helped me become a more perceptive knitter.

Since volunteering to test, I have completed two hats, one fingerless mitt, and am working on a jacket to be completed in a week or two.

First test: Volt Toque by F. Kennington | Size Large | Cascade 220: main color #7806 Heather Tweed, a blue heather, and contrast color #9443, a maroon heather | I used US 6 and 9 needles

The first hat I completed took only 2 days for me to knit and steam block.  The Volt Toque can be found on Ravelry and is a great beginning stranded knitting pattern, in my opinion, because there are only two colors.  As an added bonus, I did not have to catch the floats.  I used Cascade 220 (worsted wool): 46g of the MC and 36g of the CC.

This just might be my FAVORITE hat pattern – I have worn it outside a few times now in this below zero degree (Fahrenheit) winter we have been having.  Actually, I wore it yesterday cross country skiing for an hour; it was -11 and snowing (about -24 Celsius)!!  The stranded knitting does an excellent job of trapping my heat, and the wool doesn’t allow snow to soak into the hat.  (Gosh, I should be a salesperson…)

My second test was a pattern to match the toque above.  The designer only needed one mitt to be completed for her test, so unfortunately, the knitting for the second mitt has been on hold…. (I knew that would happen).

Volt Mitts by F. Kennington | Size Medium | Cascade 220: main color #9443, a maroon heather, and contrast color #7806 Heather Tweed, a blue heather | I used US 6 and 9 needles

I reversed the colors on the mitts just in case I would run low on the blue heather if I used it for the main color again.  Plus, it looks kind of neat 🙂  I knit with the magic loop method on one long circular and didn’t have to catch my floats again.  I used 16g of the MC and 7g of the CC – and, the one mitt took 2.5 hours!!  Can’t beat that.  But I just have to knit the second now so I can actually wear them…

Third test: Smokestack by T. Austad | Size Beanie | Lion Brand Wool-Ease worsted, color Fisherman | I used US 4 and 6 needles

Finally, the third test knit I completed was another hat; I planned to give the finished item to my sister for her birthday.  This hat is in a class of its own – it doesn’t have the warmth like the hat above, but you can’t beat that pretty lace detail!  Three days of knitting and then blocking produced a great beanie-type hat (the pattern also includes a slouch modification!).  I used only 51g of the worsted weight yarn.  Normally, I’d use wool, but I knew my sister would appreciated the easy care of the acrylic/wool Lion Brand 🙂  Smokestack is also available for purchase on Ravelry.  Every time I’ve seen her so far this winter, she has this hat on her noggin!

Since those weren’t enough, I volunteered to test a jacket (yes, a full-size, button-up jacket!  Eeek!).  I started November 20, finished the body Christmas day (Dec. 25th), and am now on the sleeves.  And I need to be done in a week or two!

It’s definitely the fastest sweater I have EVER knit.  (It’s so amazing I am actually completing things on time!)  If you have a Ravelry account, check out my project page to see how it’s going.  But I’ll post here soon with updated photos, too.


…Oh, and Happy New Year! 😉

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