A few months ago I came across a Test and Sample Knitters group on Ravelry. I’ve had sample/test knitting in mind for a while as a make-do sort of way to fuel the crafting bug. When in Oregon I would take on work – knitting things for others with a few caveats 1) they purchased all needed supplies except needles, etc. 2) I got to keep the pattern and any leftovers and 3) I got to make it on my time. I made a few things this way and have kept it in mind as I moved, yet again, across the country.
It wasn’t long before the perfect test knitting opportunity came up. A fellow ravel-er wanted people to test knit vintage patterns that she was selling, offered with free pattern was free recycled yarn and as an added bonus, in exchanged for nice pictures and words on a blog I got to keep my finished pattern. I got a 2 month from receipt due date and have knitting consistently in all my (
copious) downtown time since mid-june.
I’m pleased to say so far I’ve completed the two fronts and back. The arms are started and on their way. With a little elbow grease and a late night or two I think I should be able to get this finished by my August date.
So far it’s a great little pattern. I chose it because I wanted a nice fall weight and style sweater, perfect for throwing on for chores or quick trips to the store. As a vintage pattern it’s not geared toward the real beginner, you need to know your increases and decreases as the pattern on tells you to do so, but is lack on what type to use. You also need to be able juxtapose instructions as complete instructions are only given for one side and then with the instruction to reverse for the other – with plenty of “work as for back” thrown in there for good measure.
The yarn she chose for me was fantastic too, I was given an unraveled XL sweater and she even thought to include the tag for care instructions. Now, recycled yarn (as seen here) does not look like yarn from a fresh skein of yarn, however it’s a great way to make-do with what you have and I haven’t found that it takes any different type of work to use.
As a test knitter I will be making this sweater exactly to the specifications of the instructions – no changing gauge, # of stitches or details so I’m preparing myself for the reality that when it’s done it may or may not be perfect for me, but so far I love the pattern and can see myself knitting it again with little bother. Just remember when using a vintage pattern that they are written with the aesthetic and average body shape and size of the time in mind.
I’m excited to share this and other opportunities as they arise in the hopes that others can see that there are ways to fuel our creative interests without breaking the bank. Combining your crafting pursuits with charities, the holidays or doing things just for others who can’t (or don’t want to) are all fantastic ways to keep your fingers busy!