Swatching for Kordy's Colourwork Yoke

Kiyomi Burgin, one of Moon and Turtle's authors, is here to teach you how to swatch for Kordy's colourwork yoke! If swatching in the round alludes you, then we encourage you to bookmark this post and return to it for your next in the round sweater swatch, whether it's Kordy you're making or not! Without further ado, let's hear from Kiyomi. 

Swatching the colourwork section for a yoke sweater before getting started is a great way to figure out if your colours work together, and if you have the right gauge.  

When designing the Kordy sweater, I really struggled to narrow down the colours I wanted to use. I love all the Peace Fleece colours and the possibilities seemed endless and extremely daunting! Knowing how to swatch realIy helped me to finally nail down a decision.

It’s best to swatch stranded colourwork in the round since yokes are very often knit in the round, and you most likely would want to avoid purling in stranded colourwork since it can be an awful pain. One method I’ve seen is to simply knit a small tube of colourwork. This method is totally fine, although I’ve heard some knitters tend to work colourwork much tighter when making things of a small circumference, so it might not be the most accurate method if you also want to check your tension. The method I use is almost like working flat, except that you never have to do any purl rows. Follow along to see how it’s done!

Tools

2 long double pointed needles (at least 6” long) or a short circular needle (40cm /16” is recommended, but longer circulars will work too).

Worsted-weight yarn in 4 colours for the Kordy Sweater + the Kordy pattern with chart from Moon And Turtle!

Sharp scissors and blocking tools such as pins, wool wash, towel, blocking board, etc. are optional.

In this tutorial, I’m using the following colours of Peace Fleece Worsted:

A - Anna’s Grasshopper
B - Brownie
C - Mourning Dove
D - Oatmeal (actually this is not Peace Fleece, but another unknown worsted-weight yarn from my stash).

Notes

For my swatch I will be repeating the colourwork chart three times. I feel like 3 repeats is enough to really show you how the pattern will look and is wide enough to measure your gauge (at the widest end of the swatch). You can cast on more repeats, but I wouldn’t recommend casting on fewer than 2. I will also be working 2 stitches at each side of the chart repeats for edge stitches which will be purled. These purled stitches really help to keep the swatch from unravelling after the yarn is cut.

Keep in mind that since you will be cutting your swatch yarn you won’t be able to reuse it for your garment later if you run out! If you are worried that you might not have enough yarn for your project, or if you simply dislike cutting your knitting (which is totally understandable), be sure to keep the yarn strands in the back really long so that your swatch lays flat and doesn’t curl in on itself. 

Also, while working from the Kordy chart, go ahead and skip all the rounds that are marked as skippable, regardless of the size. This will help you save some knitting time.

Tutorial Begins 

  1. Using a circular needle or double pointed needles, cast on 13 stitches with yarn A (2 edge stitches + 3 chart repeats of 3 stitches each + 2 edge stitches). I’m using double pointed needles as that’s what I prefer, although I will warn you that the stitches get a little squashed on the needles near the end of the swatch as it increases in width!

 

  1. Purl 2 (edge stitches), knit to last 2 stitches, purl 2. Without turning work, slide your stitches back to the opposite end of the needle, and loosely bring the yarn around the back to position it for working the next row. There will be a loose strand across the back.

 

  1. Purl 2, begin chart, repeating it 3 times, purl 2. Without turning work, repeat the process of sliding your stitches over and bringing the yarn across the back. When working the colourwork rows where there are 2 yarn colours, be sure to carry both strands over the back.
  1. Continue in this manner working through all rows of the chart (and skipping all the skippable rows!) and increasing where indicated. It’s ok if some of the strands of yarn in the back are tighter than others. It really doesn’t need to look perfect and they will even out once cut. But remember, if you’re not cutting your swatch, make sure to keep these strands extra loose!

 

  1. Once the chart is complete, work 2 rows in just yarn A. There are 40 stitches now. Cast off all stitches.

Your swatch will look a little strange right now and might be curled up into a tube with some messy looking strands all over the back. This is good! 

The next steps are optional. If you do not want to cut your swatch, you can simply just measure your gauge at this point. I would recommend blocking your swatch though.

It’s now time to wet block and cut your swatch open! I prefer to dampen my swatch first before cutting so that I don’t accidentally unravel any of my swatch in the water, but you can cut first if you want to.

  1. Block swatch as you intend to block your finished Kordy sweater. For me, that means leaving it to soak in some lukewarm water with some wool wash for about 15 minutes.

 

  1. Remove swatch from water and with a towel remove as much excess water from swatch as possible.
  1. With sharp scissors carefully cut through the centre of all the strands. Be careful not to cut any floats on the back of your colourwork!

 

  1. Open swatch and lay out flat, brushing all the cut ends out to each side. Trim if desired. I didn’t bother.

 

  1. Smooth swatch out and pin to a blocking board if desired. Allow to dry fully. I use an old cushion to block my swatches!

 

And there you have it! Your Kordy swatch is complete. If you aren’t happy with your tension or colour combo / order, make another swatch.

Thank you for walking us through how to swatch in the round, Kiyomi! Don't forget that you can order Moon and Turtle here. Happy swatching!