|Pattern||Everyday Attitude Tee by Susanne Sommer|
Knit With Attitude – A 10 year celebratory collection
|Dates||6th August – 15th September 2020|
|Materials||Vaxbö Lin Lingarn 12/2|
0 Oblekt (unbleached) – 100g/414m – MC
11 Lime – 100g/414m – CC
3.00mm for neckband & cuff bind-off
Finished item: 4/5
This project was my first experience of test knitting! As soon as Maya announced plans for a 10 year celebratory pattern collection to mark ten years of Knit With Attitude, I was on board. At first that just meant backing the Kickstarter they launched to fund the book. Unfortunately that campaign wasn’t successful, but Maya and her team were still determined the project would happen and I knew I would support however I could.
When she opened the calls for test knitters towards the end of July and a teaser of all of the patterns, with a deadline of end of September, I realised there were a few patterns I felt confident I could knit and meet that deadline. Add in the fact that Maya was open to newbie test knitters and I barely hesitated in submitting my application. A few days later and it was confirmed – I was on the team for this striped summer top!
The called-for yarn was 100% linen from Vaxbö. I’d never worked with pure linen yarn before and I’d heard it could be tough on the hands, but it was available from KWA and I wanted to stick close to the pattern specifications as much as possible for this first test knit experience, although we were all open to use substitute yarn and modify fit etc. as we needed.
I wanted something fairly neutral but with a bright pop, so I got the unbleached which is a nice beige colour and the lime as my contrast – trust me when I say it’s bright! My original idea was that maybe the beige would tone down the lime but it didn’t work that way, instead the beige faded in to the pop of lime.
I swatched diligently for this, much more than my usual “that’s close enough” approach. Partly that was due to working with the 100% linen for the first time, which behaves quite differently to wool yarn, and partly because I did want to “be a good test knitter”. All in all I swatched 5 different needle sizes in one big swatch, washed and blocked and everything. After that process I appeared to be meeting stitch gauge best on 2.5mm needles compared to the suggested 3mm of the pattern, but my row gauge was wildly off. I wasn’t sure how this would play out with the yoke/shoulder construction but went ahead with this.
The actual test knitting was an absolute breeze, with notes exchanged via Slack and the shared pattern Google doc. The pattern itself was quite clear and we only found a couple of actual errors, easily realised and corrected, and made some wording suggestions to add clarity. The construction was interesting watching the chevron details grow and otherwise quite straightforward.
I did make some modifications. Firstly, having knit the specific number of repeats for body length after the underarms, even accounting for how linen has a lot of lengthwise growth in blocking and wearing, I knew it was way too short for me, so I added more repeats. Partly this was because of my aforementioned divergence in row gauge, but also the designer has styled it cropped and I just don’t wear cropped tops. Some of the other testers also added length.
Secondly, I chose to do the folded hem in the contrast colour rather than the main colour. Mostly this was to do with yarn management but I do like the effect of having the band of bright colour at the hem.
For size 3 the pattern calls for 2 skeins of the main colour and 1 of the contrast, but if you look at the yardage you’ll see that barely any of the 2nd MC skein is used. I did buy 2+1 as specified, but I actually managed with 1+1 in the end. Technically I used a tiny amount of my 2nd MC skein, but only because I had used 20g for swatching which I chose not to reuse. The actual top used 1 of each skein in full.
As it turned out, my swatching still lied because my final blocked gauge was 24 sts x 44 rows per 4″ square – compared to 20×40 in the pattern. This meant that my finished garment bust measurement was 8″ smaller than it would have been for that size at the pattern gauge. In choosing the size I did, I had always intended for less positive ease – the pattern recommends 7-9″ and I was aiming for around 5″ and as it is I’ve got zero or a bit negative.
My finished arm opening and neckline circumference actually came out bigger than the pattern, and despite that are a bit tight. I deliberately went up a needle size and used a stretchy cast off as I was already worried this would be the case, and blocked aggressively.
- 14 additional repeats of body length (31 total) (used approx. 20g of each colour)
- Hem knit in Colour B rather than Colour A
- Chest circumference 36″ / 40.6″
- Length 16″ / 22.5″
- Arm opening circumference 13″ / 14″
- Neckline circumference 19.5″ / 21″
Immersed in warm water with Soak wash for around 1.5hr then put on hanger, pinned neckband and cuffs flat and stretched lengthwise, dried in the sun.
Have not yet tumbledried but have heard this is recommended to soften up the linen further.
Finished garment fit:
- Neckband is a bit tight over the head and doesn’t have much stretch.
- Arm opening has a small amount of ease
- Bust/waist zero ease (in the end my finished gauge gives around 8 inches less in the final measurements compared to the pattern).
- Length hits my hips