I’m always on the lookout for future sweaters to knit. They must be fairly simple (I am not super experienced at sweater knitting) and I prefer a cardigan to a pullover, so I was excited to see the Cobblestone Cardigan pattern by Jarod Flood of Brooklyn Tweed.
I had just finished knitting a pair of mitts (Oulu) using the same Shelter yarn called for in the cardigan. I bought the sweater pattern and then I used my leftover Shelter yarn to knit up a swatch to find my gauge for the sweater. Suggested needle size is 8 US, and gauge should be 18 stitches (across) and 36 rows (vertical count). I used color “Camper” for the swatch.
How I Knit My Gauge Swatch
Using the size 8 needle, I cast on the 18 stitches plus an extra six. Then I knit for 36 rows, plus six more. In this case the gauge is counted on garter ridges, so the piece was simply knit back and forth. How easy is that? The piece needed to be slightly larger than (what I hoped) my gauge would be so I could easily count the stitches and rows.
I was knitting other projects and this little swatch took me a few days to complete. By the time I finished, and washed and dried the swatch, I couldn’t remember what the actual gauge should be. I got my gauge ruler and began counting, then looked up the pattern again to compare my numbers to the pattern. Well, I was exactly on gauge! This was very exciting! I want to begin knitting this sweater very soon.
You May Think You Hate Shelter, But Don’t Give Up!
If you knit at all and have come across comments on Shelter and Quarry yarn (both are BT brands) you may be very confused because this yarn gets both very high and very low marks. Knitters either love it and use it all the time, or they hate it for pulling apart easily. Some people also complain about the grass bits stuck in it. Personally, this does not bother me.
In fact, I avoided both of these yarns for a long time because of the trouble I had right after buying some Quarry yarn to knit a hat. Quarry is a bulky weight Brooklyn Tweed yarn and as soon as I cast on and tried to join in the round, the yarn pulled right apart! I kept trying and it kept separating… I was very irritated and decided that I hated it and would never buy this type of yarn again! It scared me away from Shelter as well. I moved on and knit with other yarns. I was convinced that this yarn was horrible.
I now believe that I was unlucky enough to have received a “bad” skein, but more than likely I was simply not used to knitting with this type of yarn. I used it later to complete a hat and had no problems. When it has to be pulled, twist the yarn to make it stronger before doing so. I ended up using Quarry yarn once again to knit a big sweater, and I had absolutely NO trouble at all with it splitting or pulling apart. This is why I think that occasionally knitters get a “bad” skein, or are simply not used to knitting carefully.
Then I bought Jarod Flood’s “Skiff” cable hat pattern and it called for Shelter yarn. I knit the hat, but wouldn’t dare use Shelter yarn. I was so afraid that doing cables would be a problem with this type of yarn.
Then, one day Shelter was on sale, and I can barely resist a sale! Another reason I wanted to buy this yarn is that it is spun in a mill in Harrisville, New Hampshire which is very near where I had once lived. I would pass signs for Harrisville on my way to Keene, from Antrim, and never knew there was a mill spinning popular yarn nearby! So to me it’s a “local” yarn, and I knew I had to finally try it. I bought a bunch of skeins without a plan… can you believe it?
Now I have knit two pair of mitts (Maine Morning Mitts and Oulu Mitts) using this yarn and now I’m planning to knit the Cobblestone Cardigan. I’ve come to love this yarn! The yarn colors are so beautiful that it took me quite a while to decide on a sweater color. I almost went with Meteorite (brown) which is beautiful, but decided I wanted a lighter color.
My final decision was to go with gray, to match my hair, so Narwhal it is! The yarn has arrived and I will cast on any minute! More to come about knitting the Cobblestone!
Read more about the Brooklyn Tweed yarns at their page on Ravelry, or visit their website.