Thursday, September 22, 2005

Just once...

… I’d like to just follow a pattern, get the right gauge and have a beautiful garment that fits without some major disaster.

So here are some before and after pictures of last night’s knitting effort:

No, they’re not in the wrong order. I assure you. And the progress bar on the left that used to say 25% but now says 2%? Also correct. I just want to point out that those balls of varying sizes on the right? Yeah, that’s one hank of yarn. That I didn't cut. Can we curse Elsebeth Lavold right now for distributing hanks of yarn with multiple knots in them?

Back to the disaster. So energized by a couple of comments that indeed, the wonky gauge thing probably wouldn’t be all that noticeable, I pushed on. I was initially skeptical about the measurements written into the pattern. I didn't think they could possibly achieve the results I was hoping for and the designer had planned. So I took the liberty of taking out an additional 2” in the waist than what the pattern called for, but it was still 4” of ease with respect to my actual waist measurements.

I pressed on believing in the designer.

I decided against working the top in 3 sections when I got to the beginning of the neck shaping which would have yielded a 1.5” seam to sew up later. I decided that if I was going to ignore the designer’s instructions, I should place a lifeline. That's the white line in the picture above. What I didn’t know, was that I should have placed one at the beginning, but I digress.

I got as far as the above picture and because I was so skeptical, I decided to try it on, finally. Yeah, this is where the disaster hits. That wonky gauge that didn’t look all that different in the picture and in person makes a world of difference in fit. Plus the 4” ease in the waist was not working with me here to give a svelte fitted garment that the designer had intended. I pulled out handfuls of extra fabric around my lower back.

So yet again, I frogged. Sigh. It may sound like I'm mad at the designer, but actually I'm pissed off at myself for making such a bad yarn substitution. I think in a yarn that has the properties the designer intended, I wouldn't have these issues.

When will I learn to anticipate these things? I mean, I tugged on the Silky Wool when I first got it and noted that it didn’t stretch that much. Jenna had warned against using anything like 100% cotton that wouldn’t stretch much or else you wouldn’t achieve the desired effect. But I thought, apparently errantly, that cotton and silk are both pretty non-stretchy, but the wool/cotton blend called for in the pattern had a higher percentage of cotton than the silky wool had of silk, so I should be fine, right?

No. I should have realized it when I swatched. I should have realized that my gauge would be affected by the nubbiness of the yarn and that I’d need more tension than normal. I should have realized that the fabric doesn’t stretch much, so there will have to be some adjustments made. Swatch swatch swatch! Maybe if I repeat it to myself, next time I’ll listen.

But I still think that Hopeful will work in Silky Wool. You’re laughing at me now, but I have admitted already that I’m stubborn, so I’m ignoring you. I am fully believing that if Tivoli can fit me in 100% cotton, then this wool silk blend will fit too. With a few adjustments...

I’m downsizing significantly through the hip as the top is cropped a bit and my hips just aren’t that big where the top ends. I’m also working with 0 ease through the bust, waist and hips. I saw on a Knitty article that a woman swatched until she met gauge, and then went down a needle size so that she could block the piece to the correct measurements when she was done. I guess you can’t block a piece smaller…

Something else I randomly learned: if you insert a lifeline, make sure the lifeline is much smaller in diameter than the working yarn. Otherwise, you'll get a noticeable line where you had inserted it. I'm sure that it would block out mostly, but I don't want to take that chance in the future...

A positive way of looking at this though... I do swatch on every garment. I just swatch full sized.

Anyway, I’m now on row 7 after the eyelet row. I’m too depressed to show you pictures of my current progress. Sorry for the ranting, but I just needed to get that off my chest. Now off to find some chocolate...