Friday 9 November 2012

FO Friday 112: Testing, Testing, One, Two ...

Silver Era Tarot

This lovely card from the Silver Era Tarot portrays for me part of the experience of test-knitting. For my non-knitterly friends, this is the process where a designer creates a design and pattern for an item, and then floats the sheaves of instructions off through the aether to jonesing twitchy fibre addicts with no lives, so that they can knit said design according to the prototypical instructions, discovering along the way any typographical errors, design errors, actual gauge vs. imagined and desired gauge, stuff like that.

Just imagine test pilots, but instead of jets, there are knitting needles with the accompanying excitement and dangers, and I believe you have got an accurate picture of the experience. 

Some while back, my friend Denise from Voie de Vie asked me to test a scarf pattern she had designed; it so happened that I had the perfect yarn on hand for it, so I was glad to comply. It was a Super Secret Mystery Test Knit as no-one was allowed to put up any kind of information about it until Denise did her big reveal. So this was completed some time ago, but I'm doing my big reveal now:

The Piaf Scarf

I used one 200m ball of the ruby red 70% wool/30% silk aran weight yarn the Twins got me from Kingcraig Fabric; the eyelet pattern knitted up quickly on 5.5mm needles, and blocked out it measured 72'' long and 7'' wide. I think the smooshy soft yarn, color and pattern complement each other really nicely. The Piaf Scarf pattern - which I would rate as easy/beginner - also includes instructions for a fringe, if one wishes to add it, and is also available from here.

And then in the miniscule interval where I had completed one project but had not yet started the next (I know, right ? so hard to imagine a gap in time that small and empty), my friend Dianne sucked me along with her into the next test-knitting vortex, for Emily Ross (knitterain), testing her Arlington Shawl pattern using Rico Superba Poems:

It looked like that, until it was finished and blocked, when it magically transformed to this:


You'll remember I had been stressing a little bit about the I-cord bind-off; but when I got there, I realized I already had used this bind-off on other occasions, I just hadn't known it's name.

Lots and lots of double yarn overs in this pattern, including the bind-off itself, which I found challenging but absolutely worthwhile for the unusual effect it creates: it's mainly for this that I'd classify this shawl as an intermediate knit. And once you get into the swing of it, any mistakes you make are almost instantly obvious and therefore much easier to correct. 

Statistics for this shawl are:  
                                 1 repeat of Chart A 
                                 8 repeats of chart B 
                                 4 repeats of Chart C 26g of yarn left 
                                 1 repeat of Chart D 14g of yarn left after Row 10 
                                 9g of yarn left after Row 12 
NB. I did not do row 13/14 of Chart D as I was worried about the yarn running out; and after the i-cord bindoff, I had 4g of yarn left: so that was a pretty accurate guesstimate. When blocked, it measured 16 1/2'' top to bottom, and about 44'' edge to edge.

The Arlington Shawl pattern is not yet available to buy, but will be here when it is.

I believe I have puffed off enough for now, so kindly go and see more loveliness over at Tami's Amis.


  1. I really love that shawl. The bind off looks quite tricksy, but very pretty.

  2. Thank you for the amusing take on the exciting lives of test knitters!
    I had to snicker at the complete and utter understanding of the emptiness between knits....fibre cold turkey....been there, done that :)

  3. It is gorgeous!! Love the colors, and I am not normally a fan of that range, but it works.

  4. Fun to hear about how you test knitted. I have a hard enough time following directions on a pattern that has been knit a million time.

    Great looking shawl!

    visiting from Tami.

  5. Ooh, I love that shawl! I agree, the stress over the edging was worth it.

  6. What a beautiful shawl! Very nice work.

  7. The magic of blocking! It's beautiful, natch.

  8. Wow! um...Wow! Just to give you some perspective, I am finishing up a simple garter-stitch infant outfit that was super simple (meaning I only had to frog certain sections 3 or 4 times). So all I can say is "WOW". I'm impressed and inspired! Cheers :)

  9. I don't know what you're talkng about half the time but those are beautful!

  10. Sorry Viv- that was me- Susie xx love them both xx

  11. Ooh, beautiful shawl. Fun to see it on the needles and then a body!


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