Last year, I dipped my toes into the vast well that is test knitting. Test knitting (for those who do not eat, sleep, and breathe knitting) is the step before a knitwear designer publishes a pattern, to make sure that the editing process has picked up errors in the pattern. This is also the stage that you get to tell whether or not other knitters know what you mean by the directions in your pattern.
Usually it’s the last step before publishing. Sometimes it can come before the tech editing stage, but it shouldn’t. You want as many errors to be found before test knitters come in contact with it. You want to make sure that they are working with a pattern that is practically ready for the knitting world at large.
I wanted to see if I could knit things to a deadline, spot errors in other people’s patterns, and achieve the same gauge as other knitters well enough to make a garment with the same measurements that they were looking for.
I have had several really great Test Knitting Experiences. I am not sure that it is something that I will do a lot anymore, but I really enjoyed the process.
One of the best and biggest test knits that I did last year was for the Making Stories – WOODS book. This was the first publication from Verena Cors and Hanna Lisa Haferkamp. The book is a beautifully photographed and written. The patterns all have gorgeous texture.
I test knit two separate patterns in this book, with the specified yarn in the patterns. I want to talk a little bit more in depth about these test knits, looking back on them, and the finished objects.
The first I will talk about is the pair of socks I knit. They are called the Abisko socks. They have a textured lace panel running up the center of the foot and top of the leg. They gave instructions for three different heel types… and it was knit in Tuku Wool.
I love this knit. I wear these socks all the time, because they’re sturdy, and so warm. This more “rustic” wool makes me so happy. That being said, I didn’t like the process of knitting with it. It was not until I blocked these socks that I really fell in love with them. The wool softened just enough and they fit my feet perfectly.
I managed to get the right measurements, with the exception of the leg length because I wanted them a little shorter than in the pattern (It was the only creative license I took with the pattern).
The second pattern I tested was the Black Forest Cardigan. While I think that the pattern was challenging for my advanced knitting skills, I didn’t enjoy the process. It was strictly a product knit for me. In the beginning I think that it was about the process. It changed when the sweater got too large to transport and started to hurt my wrists when I worked on it (at about the sleeve separation stage).
I managed to get the right size in the pattern, and it’s a gorgeous pattern in a 100% merino yarn that was beautiful to work with. There were some knots in the skeins that I had, which was a little disappointing, but it really only took out about 12 inches of the yarn every time I came across one. I just cut it and left a tail to weave in.
My finished object sat in my sweater bin for just under a year.
I didn’t wear it more than once.
I just realized I didn’t like the shape of it for my body. I realized that it wasn’t something I was happy with.
I realized that I should have maybe bowed out of knitting it in the first place, but I did finish it successfully.
I realized that I can’t knit things that I don’t love.
Frogging is okay.
Even finished objects.
I now have a pile of gorgeous 100% merino yarn that is ready to be made into a different sweater because I just couldn’t look at the sweater in its bin anymore, wishing to be worn.
I’m so glad that I finished that sweater. I am so glad that I was a part of the first publication of Making Stories. It was a great experience. I learned a lot about my own knitting habits. This has helped to shape how I want to design my own patterns.