Tuesday, June 27, 2017


I have quite a few projects lined up so I decided I would swatch for all of them at once, that way when I am ready to start a project I can just cast on assured that I got the correct gauge. As I was knitting all of the swatches I thought about how my swatching process has evolved since I was a newbie knitter and I also thought I would impart some of my experience and wisdom here on the blog.

When I first started out knitting, I will admit, I didn't like to swatch - at all. It just took time away from me getting right to my project. It was just a waste of my time. I would make a swatch anyway - but not very well. This might account for the fact that some of my sweaters don't fit the way I would really want them to. I would cast on the exact number of stitches stated in the pattern and then knit for an inch or two, measure and if everything looked ok then that was the end of the swatch. I might have even frogged some of my swatches at that point to save yarn. I'm pretty sure that yarn amounts stated in patterns include yardage for a gauge swatch.

Over the years I've learned a thing or two - especially that a gauge swatch is very important. It is an absolutely essential part of the knitting process if you want something to fit accurately. Now I make sure to knit a correct swatch. I cast on the number of stitches stated in the pattern to four inches. Then I add four stitches on either side - two for a garter stitch border and then two for a little bit of wiggle room. The first and last four rows of the swatch are knit in garter stitch. I put a garter stitch border on the swatch for two reasons: First, so it won't curl up too much, and Second, it gives the swatch some structure, which I feel the stitches need, especially if you are going to be knitting a sweater. The next step is important: Block your swatch. I know this takes extra time but you are likely going to be blocking your finished knit and this will tell you the correct gauge. It will also tell you how the yarn will bloom and what it will look like after blocking.

After the swatch is dry, I unpin it and let it rest for a little bit before I measure. I put t-pins in to mark the amount of stitches stated in the pattern. If it comes out correct then you can start your project. If not, then its back to the drawing board. If you have too many stitches, you need to go up a needle size. If you have too little stitches, you need to go down a needle size. Don't forget to measure the row gauge as well. Row gauge is important in patterns that specify how many rows need to be knit to get the correct length of your garment.

Swatching in the Round

Some sweaters are knit in the round. Your gauge will be different for knitting in the round than knitting back and forth so you will need to swatch in the round. This is super simple. You will need a circular needle. Again, I cast on the number of stitches specified in the pattern to four inches and then add 4 stitches on to both sides. After knitting a row, slide your swatch back to the beginning of the needle so that you are ready to knit again. You will have to carry a length of yarn behind your work. I don't work any garter stitch borders on a swatch knit in the round. Just be aware that the end stitches will be loose and you will have to tug on them to keep them in shape. Your swatch will look something like this while knitting:

(I apologize for the dark yarn but I am knitting a black sweater in the round so this is the only swatch I have to show for the time being. I hope it isn't too difficult to see.)

After finishing the swatch, I bind off and cut the floats in the back of the swatch up the middle and the block it. You can then cut the excess yarn on the sides to tidy it up. Then its time to measure.

One last tip is to make sure your swatch is knit in the correct stitch pattern that the pattern states. If it is stockinette, then swatch in stockinette. If it is in a cable pattern or in a fair isle motif the you will need to swatch accordingly. I hope this helps and just remember that a gauge swatch is an integral part of your project. Don't skip it!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

My Summer of Basics Picks

Over at Fringe Association, Karen Templer is holding a Summer of Basics Make-a-Long. I am never one to pass up the chance to make some good basic pieces so I am going to attempt to join in. I say "attempt" because you technically have to make 3 pieces - sewn, knitted, crocheted, etc. I am not much of a seamstress and I never crochet so that just leaves knitting to me. Seeing that I am a busy mom and all 3 of my kids are at home during the summer, I'm not really sure I can pull off knitting 3 things in 3 months - but we'll see how this goes. I do, however, have 3 things picked out - just in case. You never know!

First up is the Hyannis Port Pullover. I NEED a black turtleneck sweater and I love this. I have been wanting to knit it since I saw it. I already have the yarn for it. It is worked in the round from the top down so I think the knitting would go pretty quickly with this. Plus, including this in my summer of basics will ensure that it is in my wardrobe for Fall/Winter.

Next up is an oldie but a goodie. This sweater was featured in the January 2006 issue of Vogue Knitting, which I bought when I first started knitting. I know this sweater doesn't look great in this picture. The color isn't the best and let's not even talk about the styling (Ummm... that skirt?!? And that piece of straw for a belt! Whaaat?) But I have knit this sweater before back in what I call my "lost years" - roughly the time between when my twins were born and when they turned five. I never blogged about it or put it on Ravelry (huh? Maybe I should get on that!) but trust me when I tell you that I love this sweater. I knit it in a cream color yarn that has a slight halo and I wear it all the time when the weather is cold. It looks good and it fits great and for a long time I have said I want to knit it again in a different yarn and without the cowl neck. And I have big plans for this sweater, big plans.

Last up is a little sweater I have just started working on for one of my sons. I am designing it myself and it is a pretty basic style so it can be included in my Summer of Basics picks.

So there are my three. I am going to try my hardest to get to all of them - it would be great to start the Fall off with some fresh basic sweaters. I can't wait to see all of the basics everyone else is working on. If you visit here and you are joining in the Summer of Basics Make-a-Long, drop me a link in the comments - I would love to see what you are making!!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Hayden Inspiration

I never set out to become a designer or design a knitting pattern. My Ravelry queue is 6 pages long and I was more than content to knit the abundance of patterns I have lined up for myself. But something changed. I have 3 boys that are not babies or toddlers any longer. When they see me knitting things for myself they ask when I am going to knit them a sweater or a hat or a scarf. I kind of shied away from knitting things for them when they were very little because they just grew so fast that they would grow out of a sweater in a matter of weeks. But now that they are all of ages when they can wear my hand knits for at least a year I started searching for patterns for them. Problem is that there is an abundance of cute patterns for girls out there but for boys - not so much. I need knits that are going to be stylish, rough and tumble, and versatile because that is my boys in a nutshell. All three of them are into sports and they are hard playing, active kids. I need sweaters and accessories that are going to survive them!

Enter Hayden. I couldn't find a pattern that I had in mind that I wanted to knit for one of my boys. I thought, I have been at this knitting thing for over 11 years now, why not just make your own pattern? I got this, right? I knew what I wanted - something classic and traditional yet something that a boy can wear out to play in and still maintain his cred on the playground. I have always loved a classic cable and rib crew neck so after knitting up a swatch and loving it, that's what I went for.

My son loves it. He always asks to wear it when he is chilly. He has worn it a lot and so far it hasn't pilled and it still looks great. Truth be told, I am more than a little jealous of this sweater and I might just have to make a pattern for women too - so I can knit it in multiple colors for myself! This sweater would be just as great for girls knit up in pretty colors and I think it would work in a worsted weight cotton too for wear all year round.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

New Pattern: Hayden

I am so very excited to announce the release of my first pattern, Hayden.

Hayden is a classic cable and rib crew neck for children. This cozy pullover is worked flat with an all over cable and rib pattern. Each size has its own set of instructions to ensure that the 4 stitch rib is directly in the center of the front, back, and each of the sleeves. The neck band is picked up after seaming and worked in the round. I designed this sweater with my son in mind but it would work equally as well for a girl.


Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Lake Ice Heather

Needles: US 7 (4.5 mm) and US 5 (3.75 mm)

Gauge: 23 stitches and 28 rows to 4inches/10 cm. in cable and rib pattern with US 7 needles after blocking

Notions: Cable needle, stitch holders, stitch markers, blunt tapestry needle

Sizes: To fit ages 2 (4, 6, 8, 10) years

Finished Measurements: Chest: 24 (26, 28, 30, 32) inches

You can purchase this pattern on Ravelry here. Thanks so much!!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Finished: Diagonal Cross-Rib Socks

A few years ago, my oldest son gave me 2 skeins of a beautiful variegated blue sock yarn for Christmas. A few days later, I found both of those skeins on the floor in a jumble - they were a total mess. My mischievous dog got ahold of them, ripped off and chewed up the ball bands and left the yarn completely tangled up. I picked up the skeins-no-longer and put them away and my dog got a firm finger shaking with a "naughty dog!!" I was super upset about the yarn. Needless to say, I was looking through my stash recently and came across that messed up yarn and decided to untangle it, wind it up, and knit some socks. Surprisingly it didn't take too long to straighten out.

The pattern is Diagonal Cross-Rib Socks by Ann Bud from the book Favorite Socks from Interweave. The Yarn is Koigu KPPPM but I have no idea what color it is because the ball bands were destroyed. I used size US 2 needles.

I tried to choose a pattern that would offset the pooling with the variegated yarn and I think this does a pretty good job of that. I like how the socks feature different leaning stitches for a mirrored effect. The yarn is very soft and comfortable but I have to say that the socks stretch out of shape after one wear and then they are really loose. I like a nice tight fitting sock so this kind of annoys me. Other than that, the color is beautiful and my son did a great job picking it out. I'm so glad I finally got to use it.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Work In Progress: Lace Yoke Sweater

There has been a lot of knitting going on here at Posh Knits!! I started knitting a new, and hopefully better fitting, version of the Lace Yoke Sweater I posted about a little while ago. I just love that sweater so much and I want it to be perfect. After carefully testing gauge and doing a little math, I think I am on the right path.

It has been a bit boring up to this point because it is just loads of stockinette stitch up until I get to the yoke where the fun stuff happens. I got the back done and finished up the front right in time to get a big project from Brooklyn Tweed. Needless to say, I had to put this down for about a month and a half so that I could meet my deadline.

Deadline behind me, I am ready to pick this up again and finish it. All that's left to be done are the sleeves and the yoke. Not too bad.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Sample Knit: Atlas

Yesss! Brooklyn Tweed just released their new collection, BT Yokes, and it is full of hand knit goodness. I just so happened to knit a sample for this collection, Atlas for women, designed by Jared Flood.

This was a fun sample to knit and I love how a fair isle yoked sweater comes together. The body is knit in the round to the underarms and then set aside while the arms are knit and then they are all knit together to form the yoke, which is where the fair isle knitting starts. The stranded knitting on this yoke is visually stunning but it can get complicated - some of the rounds require the use of three colors - but the end result is worth the work.

I love the color combination that Jared chose for this sample, Hayloft, Old World, and Fossil, but it would be really fun to play with other colors to knit your own unique Atlas. This sweater was knit in Brooklyn Tweed's yarn Shelter, which has an array of beautiful colors.

All photos in this post are used courtesy of Brooklyn Tweed.