Test knitting and a giveaway!

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been busy working away on my first test knit project: the Skeppe hat from Libby of Truly Myrtle.

Libby's pictures are much better than mine.

Photo courtesy of Libby Jonson of Truly Myrtle

Libby is not only an inspirational crafter, but also a fellow Cambridge-dweller: I suspect we must have crossed paths in the John Lewis haberdashery department on more than one occasion before I moved last year. Skeppe is the first knitting pattern she has released, and, when I saw she was looking for test knitters for it, I jumped at the chance.

I’m a fairly slow knitter, which may be to do with the fact that I seem to be congenitally incapable of learning to throw yarn properly, and I was knitting the largest size of the pattern due to having a big giant head. This meant that I was a little worried about finishing the hat in time for the pattern release, and, as such, I’ve been spending most of my free time working away with a ball of Malabrigo and my trusty KnitPros. Fortunately, this wasn’t a trial: Libby’s pattern is absorbing, full of clever details, and, in worsted weight yarn, really does zip along.

This is my Skeppe: it’s in Malabrigo worsted, in the lovely Ravelry Red colourway. It took under one skein, which is pretty good going considering I was knitting the 23-24″ size, to fit my enormous 23.5″ cranium. If you have a normal-sized head, you could probably squeeze out a pair of mittens, maybe the 75 Yard Fingerless pattern, to match without even breaking into that second skein that you were saving for a cowl.

Ravelry Red SkeppeAs you can see, the key to the pattern is a rather striking smocked stitch: before I started it, I was terrified that this would be impossibly difficult to knit. In actual fact, though, it is both simple and very effective. I’m certainly not going to fear projects with smocking in the future. The crown decreases, which you can seen rather more clearly on Libby’s (much better) picture, are neat and clever, and the ribbing, a 2x2x2x3 pattern which flows neatly into the body stitches, delighted me to a quite unreasonable extent.Me in Skeppe - this is a really ham-fisted photo, sorry. The finished hat is slouchy but not excessively long: I spent a long time trying to take some self-portraits modelling it, but it turns out this is terribly hard to do well if you a) do not have a tripod and cable release for your camera and b) are not Ysolda Teague, who seems to have the most amazing gift for self portraits ever. If you promise to ignore my really ham-fisted technique with the camera, the photo on the right here should give you an idea of the degree of slouch involved. It’s very comfortable, and does accommodate moderately big hair, but it’s still smart, trim and not excessively floppy.

Once again, apologies: I know it’s a dreadful photo. It was dark, I couldn’t sight properly and kept getting close ups of the picture rail instead of me, I had to use the slightly ropey compact because the lens on the SLR kept bashing me on the back of the head… Can you believe I’m supposed to be doing the Cardiff Photomarathon in a couple of weeks? Neither can I.

Moving on from my ridiculous attempts to immortalise my occiput in pixel form, though, I have exciting news! As a thank you for doing the test knitting, Libby has very kindly offered her testers a copy of the pattern to give away to their blog readers. So, if any knitters out there have a pile of Malabrigo burning a hole in their stash (Sian, I’m looking at you!) or are jonesing for a new hat, read on. To win a copy of the Skeppe pattern, all you need to do is leave a comment on this post sometime between now and next Sunday (19th May 2013), answering the question below. As to the question itself, I’ve been racking my brains to come up with an unusual, witty or quirky poser for you, but my brain has taken a beating from a day of tantrummy toddler. As such, I’m going to have to go with something straightforward and soothing: while you are knitting your Skeppe, you are undoubtedly going to be partaking of a slice of cake or a biscuit. Come on, you know it’s true: it’s pretty much impossible to knit without some form of baked goods on hand. My question is: what will be your knitting nibble of choice, and why? After next Sunday, I’ll pick one answer at random, and the pattern will be winging its way to you. Good luck!

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6 thoughts on “Test knitting and a giveaway!

  1. I have no Malabrigo burning a hole in my stash* right now, but that’s no reason why I couldn’t obtain some…

    Am currently attempting to make sure I can fit into a bridesmaid’s dress this summer (read: less than two months), so I have been a cake-free zone for a while, but today I hit on a genius plan to ensure knitting-nibblosity: have a veggie-filled no-carb lunch, and then eat jaffa cakes all afternoon with the zillion remaining calories you have spare. Jaffa cakes particularly, because you can spend ages eating them, they are excellently tea-dippable, and also, ORANGE.

    *SHUDDUP it’s true, I have plans for all of it. PLANS, I TELL YOU. And there’s no worsted, anyway.

  2. Woohoo, shout out! I’m actually down to only one full skein of Malabrigo worsted and some leftovers in the stash, this must be rectified!

    As for my knitting nibble of choice; it obviously has to be chocolate but preferably in cake form, so either a nice fudgy chocolate brownie, or a slice of chocolate cake with lots of chocolate butter cream, om nom nom.

    Excuse me, I have some urgent baking to do….

  3. I am going to totally change the tune here, because nowadays, when I ever get a chance to knit, its after dinner, there is no cake, but a mug of green tea. Sounds a bit boring I know, but I wouldn’t have had time to bake the cake, let alone eat it!!! So I suppose I have a tipple of choice rather than a nibble, though I’m not convinced the word tipple can apply to non alcoholic beverages…

  4. I’m also an after dinner knitter so my nibble of choice would be square or two (ok a whole bar) of Dairy Milk! I also have big head so it’s good to know this pattern would fit!

  5. To be the opposing voice to all the restrained folk above, I’d probably be tucking into biscuits and cake. Any cake will do, although a recent glut of rhubarb led to a particularly nice and newly discovered rhubarb and almond cake (as well as rhubarb and ginger jam – didn’t I feel like a domestic goddess that day). Current biscuit of choice is shortbread, all butter of course. Oh dear. As to why, can I blame being 8 months pregnant? Please?

  6. Thank you all for your comments: I’m feeling very hungry now! I’ll break out the random number generator, and I’ll post the results ASAP: good luck!

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