Testing, Testing

Hello, all. I may have found the cure for a bad mood:  The Girl on the Train. I mean, a quiet night of reading is a good opportunity to unwind and recharge, but Hawkin’s suburbia is populated with people who have far larger problems than I do, which does put things in perspective.

Of course you may need to sleep with the light on once it’s done, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

After a night of reading with ALL the lights on, and a surprisingly sound night’s sleep, I decided to post the unblocked sweater.

Ooh, atmospheric, right?

This is my Lonely Souls sweater, a project I am very excited about because it represents my first foray into pattern testing. Lonely Souls is part of the Great Northern Knits book inspired by the TV show Twin Peaks (speaking of worlds inhabited by characters with worse problems than yours–with several sleep-with-the-lights on episodes to boot).  When the call for test knitters came out, I leapt at the chance. I had already helped fund the book, so clearly I am on board with the book’s concept, and Lonely Souls is just a super cute design.  Ravelry helped make me aware of the test knitting world, and I was really excited for a chance to stretch my skills a bit. Most of all, I wanted to give real feedback to a designer.  When I knit published patterns, I have lots of questions.  Why choose this decrease?  Why phrase the repeats in this particular way?  Am I the only one who did this step backwards twice before getting it right?  Obviously, all these questions get asked in my head, and the designers go on with their lives blissfully unaware that somewhere a knitter is out there asking more questions than an inquisitive toddler.

The first hurdle was yarn: I had my heart set on Imperial Yarns’ Tracie Too, but it was not meant to be. Tracie Too was knitting at a gauge of 25 sts/inch and I needed 22.  Under normal circumstances, I might have knit a larger size at a tighter gauge, but I wanted to be a Good Test Knitter, so I went back to my LYS to search for a yarn that gave me gauge.

(As an aside, DK weight yarn did me wrong when I knit my Sexxxy Librarian vest, knitting up more like a sport weight.  For Lonely Souls, I ended up using a DK to get the gauge of a sport weight. Beware tender innocent knitters, it’s a fine line between DK and sport.)

But back to the point: I’m there at the yarn store pawing through the shelf, and realize that I already owned yarn for this sweater: Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool that I bought at the randomest shop ever on Catalina Island. I was a bit reluctant to use a yarn that reminds me of a warm sunny vacation for a sweater inspired by the Pacific Northwest, but I only had to buy a couple skeins in a contrast color, and voila, there was a sweater’s worth of yarn.  Though I may have gotten a bit grumpy when I realized I lost gauge and had to reknit the waist, I didn’t tire of the color combo.

Woman wearing a Lonely Souls sweater and drinking a cup of coffee
That’s a darn good cup of coffee!


I wore the sweater out all day as soon as I finished and loved it: it’s cute, and comfy, and so flattering. I paired it with jeans for lunch, but it would also look very classy with a pencil skirt. I didn’t get any behind photos, but there’s a neat little keyhole at the back of the yoke. Best of all, it has a long line, so for the first time in forever I didn’t have to add an inch to the length.

Test knitting has lived up to my expectations: I learned a little, I got to ask a designer all my questions, and I had fun knitting a super-cool sweater. Immediately after I cast off Lonely Souls, I saw several more calls for test knitters.  They were all super tempting, but I have a new plot in the works: knit all the things. More on that next time…

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