Do you know this feeling?

You’ve nearly finished a project, perhaps you are past the gusset decreases on the second sock, and you’re thinking about the next project, which you really don’t want to start until this pair of socks is knit, but you have to know: will it work?  Will you get gauge?  Will the pattern stitch look good in the yarn you have chosen?  Will you even like knitting the pattern stitch?  You realize half an hour has gone by and your sock foot which was 5 inches long is now 5.25 inches long because you keep stopping knitting to ponder: will it work?  The only thing to do is knit the swatch, measure it, wash it, lay it out to dry, and then drink a cocktail.  The sock foot–forgotten.  You get gauge, you like the pattern stitch in the yarn, and it was fun to knit.  Now, NOW you can finish the second sock before casting on the new project.  Really. YOU CAN.  Or…you can wonder whether you should cast on the back of the sweater to make sure the ribbing will look good and that you can still knit 2×2 ribbing successfully; counting to two repeatedly can be tricky.  So, of course, you cast on the back of the sweater.
Nubby Cardigan: back and swatch
This is the start of the back of the Nubby Cardigan by Deborah Newton from the Autumn 2008 issue of Knitscene. Readers with excellent memories and good color recognition will note that this is the the periwinkle Lamb’s Pride worsted I purchased 8 years ago when I first learned to knit and for which I have been on an 8 year pattern search. You gave me several excellent ideas a few posts ago, and Cristy suggested the Pebble Hoodie from a different issue of Knitscene. The link got me the autumn issue though, where I found the Nubby Cardigan and was instantly smitten. Not with the color, which looked like “snow in a dog park,” but with the cables, the big collar, AND that it was designed by Deborah Newton. When I first learned to knit, being an avid reader, I went to the bookstore to find knitting books. What did I buy? Designing Knitwear by Deborah Newton.
Designing Knitwear: cover
It wasn’t a book for a beginning knitter in terms of technique, but it was a treasure trove of inspiration. There were pages of photos of swatches that did interesting things!
Designing Knitwear: swatch page
Sections on using welts and ribbing to shape garments, successful theme and sampler combinations, joining and edges from a designer’s point of view to name just a few. I didn’t understand it at all. But I ate it up! I wanted to be able to do this. Through the years, some of which I didn’t knit much or at all, I’ve remembered this book, and when I seriously started to knit, I kept an eye out for Ms. Newton’s patterns. She has at least one in just about every issue of just about every knitting magazine. She, like myself, loves texture especially with knit and purl. I’ve wanted to knit one of her patterns, and the Nubby Cardigan seemed like a good first choice. There’s a cable with one leg in seed stitch, a textured stitch pattern and some well-shaped construction, plus the recommended yarn is a single ply worsted like the Lamb’s Pride. I’ll get to knit button bands and a really big collar; two things I haven’t done. I’d be farther along if I hadn’t gotten a sore knuckle opening a tank of liquid nitrogen at work. But it looks like it will work, so I am content.

Oh, and the second sock is 5.25 inches long in the foot.  I’ll finish it as soon as my knuckle is healed…and I make sure I can do the right cross cable in the sweater.  I have to be able to count to six to do the cable and be able to tell the back from the front of my knitting.  That could be tricky; I better make sure I can do it before I finish the sock.