So I am back to tell you about my recent experience of being a test knitter for the very talented Jem from Under the Olive tree knits
Jem has a really keen eye for detail and has produced some beautiful patterns. I know Jem’s main passion is designing Shawls and let me tell you they are all gorgeous! I have already purchased the Love Me Do shawl which incorporates lace and bead work which I am really eager to try and I already have a skein of yarn in my stash earmarked for it. Hopefully I will be blogging about this very soon.
Anyway back to test knitting……. In February Jem sent out an email looking for test knitters of her new pattern the Chain Reaction Shawlette My husband Nick, being my biggest cheerleader told me to reply and get my name down and even gave me the nod to buy a new skein of yarn. (Now I am not going to turn down an excuse to go shopping now am I?) I think I may have even purchased the yarn from Vicki Brown Designs before I even had a response back from Jem…… I chose a beautiful Merino yarn on a sparkly sock blend although I know this particular colour is no longer available. It wasn’t long after I hit the buy now button before an email pinged back from Jem saying I was on the test knit team and the pattern was attached.
WHAT HAD I DONE? The nerves kicked in and I actually felt like my stomach was in knots. How crazy is that it’s only knitting, right?
I love to craft but out of all the skills I have learnt, knitting has not been my strongest. I was really going to give this my best shot though as I have tackled a few projects lately and have really enjoyed them and my confidence has grown. I downloaded the pattern straight away to have a read through and realised I had not even done some of the stitches which was required to make the Shawlette.
I did a quick search on You Tube and felt a bit more confident in my skills to tackle this project. Since the release of this pattern Jem has published videos on her You Tube channel which are really easy to follow.
So when my yarn arrived I quickly got it wound into a yarn cake and set too on the gauge swatch. My initial swatch come up too small so I went up a needle size and the 2nd swatch came up right. (well so I thought) When I completed the Shawlette which is stunning by the way it came up too small! Perfect for my eldest daughter though so she is a happy bunny.
I learnt so many things making the Chain Reaction Shawlette the garter tab cast on, KYOK (knit yarn over knit) and how to mirror knit which I really enjoyed.
I came across my 2nd gauge swatch the other day and after a quick re measure I noticed it had shrunk! It turns out my yarn was not fully dried and when I had taken it off my blocking board it had gone down in size hence why my Shawlette came out smaller than expected.
So I have learned a big lesson from this and something I will be conscious of on every knit and crochet project going forward. Make sure you get the gauge swatch right!! On a shawl or scarf it is not too much of a game changer but if I had done this on a jumper/sweater I would have been mortified.
I am just so pleased with how it turned out and I think my eldest daughter does a fantastic job of modelling it for me, I hope you agree?
I’m not one to be beaten though and after feeling slightly disappointed with myself for my initial faux par I cast on a second shawl.
I’m pleased to say this one came out a lot closer to the required dimensions and it is something I wear with pride. I think this is the only reason to be thankful for our current lack of spring here in the UK at the moment.
The Yarn I used for my second Shawlette is from a talented lady called Teri Dow at The Ungrateful Wench on Facebook The colourway I used was called peacock and I fell in love with it at first site. Thank you Teri for reaching out to me and sharing your lovely yarns.
I hope you will agree it is a stunning pattern and I found it to be a really relaxing and enjoyable knit. Jem is currently running a knit along and if you sign up for her newsletter the pattern is available for free for a short time. Details can be found on the Under the Olive Tree knitters group.
I did find being a test knitter a bit like being on a roller coaster ride. Mainly because of my own negative thoughts and believing I was not capable enough to be a test knitter. I now know I really do have the skills to knit lovely looking items/garments and with practise I can only get better and move onto bigger things.
I am also going to put myself forward for other test knits in the future.
Until next time
The opinions expressed in this blog post are my own and I have not received any monies to express my views on the pattern or yarns.