Tuesday, May 22, 2012

This is why I shouldn't be allowed to go off pattern

Can we talk about this stupid sweater for a minute?
This sweater even resists being photographed attractively. Stop resisting me, sweater!

On April 27 I wrote
On Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday of last week I cast on for a tank top pattern that is 5" too short for me and needs lengthening, in the largest possible size, that requires 1 more hank than I have available, that is in the wrong gauge and is alternately too wide and too narrow depending on where you measure, and that needs to be done by tomorrow so I can wear it....I keep finding reasons not to knit (like blogging). Yet, I still hold out hope that 24 hours from now I will be wearing a tank top knit with my own 2 hands. I know all of you knitters out there know exactly what I'm talking about.
Obviously it is still not done. Can we talk about why?

1. Although I have been monogamous to this project, I have fallen in to the knitters trap of believing that if I think about the sweater enough, but not actually pick up the needles, that the sweater will somehow get finished. 

2. I have a ridiculously long torso. Additionally, it appears to have gotten wider. How is that fair? The sweater is slightly too narrow from the edge of the decreases to the bottom of the stripes. It looks O.K. if I wear the tank under something, but I need to knit more length to compensate for the negative ease. 

3. The gauge issue. I'm not knitting to gauge. That sucks up more yarn and more time and more figuring out since I'm knitting more stitches per inch, but also more fabric, and I have a non-standard shape.

4. "Non-standard shape" is code for long-waisted and apple-shaped, a combination destined to cause "fit issues"-- a baggy bodice, a tight torso and a too-short hem. These all require alterations to the original pattern.

4a. The baggy bodice problem was solved by knitting to my underbust measurement and then dropping in 1 full set of short rows and 1 partial set of short rows to give enough coverage. I'm told this should work. The face I'm making right now? It's my dubious face.

4b. The tight torso, which leads to a too short hem....yeah...well, ideally I would have realized somewhere an inch north of the cast on edge that my gauge changed and the torso was now too narrow. As it is, I didn't notice until I was through the first set of short row shaping above the stripes, which were originally supposed to be around the waist. I compensated by knitting another half set of short rows in the bust and knitting a few more inches all around before casting off the arm holes.

5. At this point, I have the armholes cast off and I a starting to knit the front and back pieces. My only consideration now is running out of yarn.  I run several striping strategies past my knit group. We decide that chunky stripes around the waist, then a red bust, red until I run out of red, and striped straps. That was on Wednesday.

6. On Friday I try the sweater on again to see if I'm ready to start the front neck cast off. Scott walks in, declares the stripes around my waist look awkward. Not that I listen to what he says, but I take off my knitterly glasses and really look at the stripes around the waist. I hate it when he's right.

How does one salvage this? Like so...

7. I refuse to reknit the stripes, so I rip the front bodice, the underarm shaping, the 1.5 sets of short row bust shaping back to the stripes.

8. I yank those stripes up around my bust and call it good. I proceed to knit the front bodice with underarm shaping. I don't knit the back of the bodice because I know I'm low on red yarn. I need to come up with a plan for that. Like every part of this sweater, I'll deal with that issue when I get there.

9. The front bodice is finished! YAY! Of course, I have raised the stripes up about 5 inches, so now my hem is 5 inches too short. I cut the cast on off, along with the garter eyelet hem, which I didn't care for anyway. While I'm at it, I rip out the waist decreases. They were spaced too closely and decreased too quickly to begin with. I wasn't going to fix them, but since I'm there I might as well reknit them.

10. I knit down and down and even more down. I'm down to 4 tiny balls of yarn salvaged from the cast on. Remember, I have taken out the short row shaping, so my front and back pieces are exactly the same length. Problem is, my real front and real back are NOT the same length. The back of the sweater is now hovering around low hip and the front only reaches my belt. Plus, I'm almost out of red yarn. Did I mention the red yarn? THE RED YARN IS LOW!

That's where I am right now.  Don't worry. As Lucy said to Ethel, "I have a plan". I need about 3 more inches in front and 0 more inches in back. Time to be creative. I'm going to add side slits, tunic style. I'm thinking if it looks like I meant to make it stupidly long in front then it will be fine.  The hem will be several rows of garter stitch. I'm nearly out of red. In fact, I am sure I don't have enough red to finish off the armholes and neckline, but We Will Cross That Bridge When We Come To It. In the mean time, break out the cotton scraps. I have a striped, garter stitch, split tunic-style hem to conjour.

(This sweater is never going to fit)

1 comment:

  1. There is no standard shape, dearheart. And, I like the tank and am so grateful you put on your real everyday glasses and saw that it wasn't gonna get done in 24 hours. By the way, I have the same approach. If I think about it and look at it, it will be done. What a shame it's not true. BTW, Leigh loves the fiber and all. It was a perfect birthday present!!!!!

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