Killybegs KAL: What I've learned

I've considered myself a decent knitter for the last 8 years until I started this fun mini-KAL, and started to work among master knitters such as the Kelbourne ladies: Courtney and Kate.  I am constantly learning from this amazing crew and thought I would share a few things I've learned during this Killybegs experience. 

Knit a gauge swatch.

I knit two for this project and I have never knitted one before! Gasp! My first swatch was with the recommended needle size US 8, which was too tight. So, then I made one on size US 10 needles, which came out perfect. The old Linette would have made Killybegs on the size 8 needles and it would have been way too small. I've done this with other sweater patterns and have had to give my FO's to dear friends. 

Read the pattern completely. 

I know, Duh! Right? Well, when I knit the 1x1 twisted ribbing flat for the back I assumed it was the same as when I knit the 1x1 twisted ribbing in the round for the sleeve cuffs. The Kelbourne Ladies saw my ribbing and quickly saw something was amiss. They asked me to knit and purl in front of them! I was knitting the pattern incorrectly for the back of the sweater. The pattern clearly states how to knit the ribbing pattern (flat, over a mult of 2) and (in the rnd, over a mult of 2). I had knit the back ribbing as if it were in the round. Whoops!

After frogging my back piece (shown above right) and subsequently knitting it correctly, my piece now looks like Meghan's (shown below), except in the opposite colorway. 

I've also learned that Conrad (Meghan's naughty but very sweet dog) is not to be trusted with precious knitting patterns. 

Meghan has finished her back and I'm almost finished with mine. Which leads us into the next thing I've learned so far...

Do not measure your back piece with a tape measure.

Kate asked me how I was going to measure the back of my sweater. I replied confidently  "I'm going to use a tape measure." "Bah!" said Kate. She set me up for another lesson in the importance of the gauge swatch.  It's best to calculate from my blocked gauge swatch how many rows I would need to knit in order to achieve the correct blocked length for the back piece of the sweater. This is where I'm at now, and I'll have to check out our tips and tricks link here to figure that out.  I'll save that lesson for another day!

What learning experiences have you come across while knitting a new project? Let us know in the comments!