Spud says (the blog)

Archive for ‘How To’

August 13, 2012

Swatch City

Hi, Knitters!

Are you dreaming about cooler days? Ready for some autumn inspiration? Join in this month’s knitalong, and make the new Chinese Lantern Hat with me! I’m Neighbor Elizabeth, and, starting today, and over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be here to help you each step of the way, beginning with one of the most important steps – the dreaded gauge swatch.

Completed swatch viewed from the front…

…and from the back!

Nobody likes this step. It seems like a terrible waste of time, yarn, and, honestly, it’s boring, right? I feel your pain, really, I do, but I make them anyway, because there are some big benefits!

  • A chance to work with this yarn, in this particular stitch pattern, and to develop a sense of both. Practice makes perfect!
  • The finished swatch is a visual reference for the correct gauge. Whenever in doubt, it can be compared to what is currently being knit.
  • Needle sizes can be adjusted prior to cast-on. This should save the frustration of re-knitting a project because the finished dimensions were off.

Case in point: I was knitting my own gauge swatch on my trusty size 8 needles, just like I’ve done twice before for this very same hat, except, today, and who knows why, my gauge was too tight. Rrrrip! Out it came, and I tried again on size 9s. Perfect! I can now change my needle sizes to: US7, US9, and US 10½, before I actually cast on for the hat. If it can happen to me, it can happen to you…

Let’s get started on the gauge swatch!


  • Your favorite color of Spud & Chloë Outer yarn (I’m using the new color, Rhino, #7220)
  • US size 8 (5 mm) knitting needles (your choice of: long, straight needles, a circular needle long enough to work with flat, or, my personal favorite, a set of interchangeable needles with size 8 tips).
  • A ruler, or other device for measuring gauge
  • A copy of the Chinese Lantern Hat pattern, available here.

List of Abbreviations

  • CO – cast-on
  • BO – bind-off
  • sts – stitches
  • Rep – repeat
  • K1b – knit into the front of the stitch located one row below the current row. (See photos.)

K1B Step 1: Insert your needle into the row below.

K1B Step 2: Wrap your yarn around the needle as you usually do.

K1B Step 3: Proceed to pull the new loop forward.

K1B Step 4: Drop the stitch off the left needle.

Half Fisherman’s Rib Gauge Swatch

CO 17 sts.

Row 1: K1, *K1, P1. Rep from * to last 2 sts. K2.

Row 2: K1, *P1, K1b. Rep from * to last 2 sts. P1, K1.

Rep Rows 1 and 2 12 times more. 26 rows total have been knitted.

BO all sts purlwise.

Finished swatch should measure approximately 5 ¼” square. (Perfect for an extra-large mug ;) .)

Measuring for Gauge

Before you check your gauge, tug at the sides of the swatch to allow the “floats” created by the K1b stitches to settle in place. Then, just let it relax, and count the number of stitches and the number of rows in 4″.

Stitch Gauge: 12 ½ sts = 4″

Row gauge: 20 rows = 4″

For this hat, it is not necessary to block your swatch, but, if desired, soak swatch in lukewarm water and roll in a towel to remove excess water. Gently form it back into a square without stretching it too much. The size should not vary significantly from the finished dimensions when dry. This is all the information you need to make your very own mug mat, I mean, gauge swatch! Don’t forget, if you need help, you can find me answering questions over at the Friends of Spud & Chloë Group on Ravelry. (I’m kittyli over there.)

Happy Knitting!

~ Neighbor Elizabeth

Up Next

The Kitchener Rib Cast-On using a Crochet Chain, which will forever put an end to the question “How do they get that ribbed edge to look like that?”

January 31, 2011

Steek Alert

Hi Spud & Chloë Friends,

I took a steeking adventure with TC’s Easy Top-Down Raglan Knitalong sweater from this past fall. She decided that she prefers a cardigan and really, I knew that before I even made the sweater. She has always adored cardigans both zipped up and buttoned up.

The other thing is that I shortened the sleeves to 3/4 length by her request.

The best part? Now we can share! I made a video of the cutting of the sweater to steek. I read all kinds of stuff on steeking and I watched a video about steeking, too. Click here to see the instructional video on steeking I watched before steeking my sweater. Here’s what happened:

January 27, 2011

Sleeve Instructions for the Camp Hoodie

Hi Spud & Chloë Friends,

I have the sleeve instructions for the Camp Hoodie all set. It is an add on to the original Camp Hoodie pattern so you need the printed pattern (purchased at local shops and online, click here for stockists) to make the sweater in the photo.

I will have an instructional video on short rows that are used in the cap of the sleeve coming up. If you are anxious to get going before I have the video available just google “wrap and turn knitting” and you will find a ton of videos and tutorials on this technique. Wrap and turn or wrp & t or w&t is the technique you use when making short rows. Short rows add fabric without adding length to what you are knitting, sort of like a pocket.  Click here to see the page on google for wrap and turn knitting!

One more note about the sleeve instructions, I used a technique I found in Wendy Bernard’s Custom Knits and adapted it to create the sleeve for the Camp Hoodie. Custom Knits is packed full of wonderful information and techniques and I like to give full credit when credit is due. Wendy Bernard is a genius at top-down sweater construction and I adore her smart and practical techniques. Her picked up top-down sleeve technique is the best I’ve seen.

If you have this book already (I know most of you do from our last knitalong) look on page 164 to learn more about short row shaping. Also, Wendy now has a top-down sweater knitting instructional video made by Interweave. I purchased her video and it is fantastic. Wendy gives clear, step-by-step instruction on creating a custom fit top-down sweater. I have to give this video a quick shout out along with the book. The more resources and studying we do as knitters, the better we get. Keep adding to your bag of tricks. Click here to see Wendy’s video or download. I ordered the download version. Two thumbs up!

Anyway, my video will be coming soon on wrap and turn and short rows as I get the second sleeve on my Camp Hoodie Sweater.

Without further ado…

Click here for the add-on sleeve pdf for the Camp Hoodie!

Can you believe it is Thursday already? I can’t. Talk to you soon.

September 23, 2010

Three-Needle Bind Off

Hi Spud & Chloë Friends,

I am making progress on the hood. Today I filmed a quick video showing how I am joining the top seam of the hood. I decided on a three-needle bind off. It is a simple and slick technique that is worth learning. You can use it in many different situations.

Next up I will be picking up the edging for the hood. TC also wants ties with pom-poms and either a kangaroo pocket or two separate pockets. The pocket style is yet to be determined…

I’m so close to being done I can taste it!

September 22, 2010

Picking Up Stitches

Hi Spud & Chloë Friends,

Today I have a video tutorial for you on how to pick up stitches on the neckline of a sweater. I am picking up for a hood but for a simple neckline edging without a hood you use the same technique only you would continue picking up stitches all the way around and then join to work in the round. For a neckline edging you would want to use a 16 inch circular needle.

For the hood you pick up the stitches and then work back and forth to the desired length. Then you need to join the top seam of the hood together by either binding off and stitching together with a yarn needle, using a three-needle bind off or using the kitchener stitch.

Here is what I am doing for the hood on TC’s Raglan:

Pick up stitches using US size 7 twenty-four inch circular needles as follows:

Starting on the right front about 1 1/2 inches down from the raglan line pick up 5 stitches.

Pick up 8 stitches across the right sleeve.

Pick up 25 stitches across the back.

Pick up 8 stitches across the left sleeve.

Pick up 5 stitches down the left front.

51 stitches total are now on the needle.

Begin working back and forth.

Purl 1 row.

Next row: k1, (kfb, k4) repeat ( ) to the end (61 stitches)

Purl 1 row.

Next row: k1, (kfb, k5) repeat ( ) to the end (71 stitches)

Purl 1 row.

Next row: k1, kfb, knit to the end. (72 stitches)

Work even until the hood measures 12 inches from the pick up row. Place 36 stitches on a spare needle to prepare for the kitchener stitch. Join the stitches together at the top of the hood using the kitchener stitch.

I’ll be back as soon as I finish the hood to show how to put on the hood and remaining neckline edging.

I hope this helps!