Passing Down Crazy

Because Sometimes the Best Thing You Can Give Your Kid is an Addiction…To Yarn

The Secret Life of a Test Knitter


It sounds like there’s espionage or James Bond involved or something. Actually, it worked like this.

I read Susan’s blog

I loved her Garden Variety patterns

She asked for test knitters.

I volunteered.

She sent me the pattern for Hydrangea the middle of June. After a few false starts, mostly on my part, I was off. I’m using Great Adirondack Soxie yarn in the Hydrangea colorway. I didn’t even realize that was the name of the yarn when I ordered it.

I knit happily along. Most mistakes are very tiny and I could keep going, but a couple of times I emailed Susan for the best way to make a change. The biggest mistake I found was mine. I didn’t look at the pattern closely enough to realize that there were triple decreases. Once I figured that out, it was smooth sailing.

There are a ton of beads in this project, but I personally think it’s well worth the effort. This week, I’ve been going outside in the early evenings to knit. Here’s my setup.

I make a copy of the pattern and just cross the row off with a pen when I finish it. For me, that’s the easiest way to keep track of where I am, especially when I’m working off of multiple charts. I have my crochet hook and this cute little dish for beads. The one thing that’s missing from the photo is the Diet Coke that’s never far away. And here’s the view.

Don’t hate me! I live in Minnesota and it’s covered with snow for the majority of the year! I could also show you the thistle that I pulled out of one of the flower beds. It was larger than my smallest kid. Or I could play you an audio of Kid 4 and Kid 5 fighting in the pool. Or I could show you the landscaping in the back that desperately needs weeding right now. Or I could show you more photos of Hydrangea!

This is probably my favorite shot.

I’m well into the second half right now. I’m going away with Honey for a few days in August, and I’d like to wear it, so I need to keep at it.

I didn’t get a photo of the completed half that I love, so this will have to do.

The release date for Hydrangea is on Monday, July 28. For more info, go to Susan’s post. You’re going to want to keep an eye on her because she’s got some gorgeous designs in the works.

Oh, and I have to give credit to my assistant. What would I do without my staff?

Author: mariajhmom

I'm a wife, mom, quilter, knitter, and spinner. I blog at

18 thoughts on “The Secret Life of a Test Knitter

  1. Pingback: Seasons of Lace » Coming Soon…

  2. It really is stunning! I added it to my queue earlier today. I’m waiting to see yardage so I can order yarn.

  3. It’s gorgeous! But I just don’t want to do all those beads!!

  4. It’s just beautiful! Should make for a gorgeous wear in August. My husband and I are going away for a few days as well in August, it’s our 28th wedding anniversary and we are celebrating in the Pacific Northwest!

  5. Incredibly beautiful. That’s a lot of work with all those beads. Do you ever sleep?

  6. WOWEE!!! That is some shawl you are making. I think I’ll have to add that to my own queue on Rav….(this is a beginning lace-knitter speaking!) And, that is some back yard you’ve got there in Minnesota 😀

  7. This is something I can never have the patience to knit, but just watching yours knitted makes me smile that you can create some beautiful items!

  8. OOoooooh.
    and I’m not even afraid of the beads!

  9. so gorgeous, every thing, the knitting the yarn the child, wow!!!!

  10. Oh my gosh I want it! (the lace, not the kid – I have 3 of my own and that is plenty… :))

  11. Gorgeous shawl; cute kid!

  12. Our secret lives are never quite as glamorous as they seem to others, are they? One of the reasons I share the design process so often in my blog, is that, once broken down into the individual steps,it becomes less mysterious and more accessible.

    Besides, I think the more you know about the project, the more you immerse yourself in it; the more you become fully present in the knitting of it. And the more you enjoy it.

    It’s all about flow…

    Blessings, thanks, and happy knitting always!

  13. I want to kit that very, very badly. I have marked my calendar to check her blog on the 28th. But my hands tremble at the sight of all those beads! Am I crazy to try this as a first project?? I’ve seen some of your FO’s and you are very, very good.
    Your backyard and pool are lovely. My parents have a pool that they too, can only use for a few short weeks in summer because of weather…and it’s a lot of work to keep it, and the landscaping, up for such a short window of enjoyment.
    But it’s worth it for the exercise the kids get in it, and the knitting time you get by it!!
    Can’t wait for the 28th!!!

  14. Oh I hope I tracked down the right Maria. Thank you for the comment. It really made me laugh! The whole breakdown started over dishes not in the EMPTY dishwasher! And I”m not talking about little kids here! We are talking upper teens! Geez. Your stuff is gorgeous! I”ll have to share it with my friend who can do this goreous knitting.

  15. That’s beautiful in all ways — the pattern, the yarn, the beads. Great work.

    Love the gappy grin on your helper! I’ve got one of those around here right now and it just makes me smile sometimes.

  16. That is just gorgeous!

  17. Oh my, I had to gasp. That is so lovely. Also love Lady El a little further down.

  18. Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

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