Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sweater Surgery

 I spent a good chunk of time about 2 weeks ago working on a 'fun knit' for myself.  The thing that qualifies it as a 'fun knit' is that it's someone else's pattern, so theoretically, I shouldn't have to do much math before I begin!

Of course, when I started swatching with my worsted weight yarn (Dream in Color Classy), I was getting fabric I didn't love.  I am always wary of knitting yarn too loosely because I know that contributes to pilling.  (And we all know the disappointment of spending hours and hours on a project only to have it turn into a pilly mess after wearing it a handfull of times!)  I got gauge fine using a needle one size smaller than recommended, but even after I blocked the swatch, I felt like the fabric was too airy.  I was looking for a cuddly "hang out at home and stay warm" sweater, so I didn't want to see any daylight through my fabric.  So, I ended up just choosing the fabric I liked best (done on size 7 needles instead of the recommended size 10) and I refigured the numbers based on my new gauge.

It was actually fine, because I like my sweaters with a little less ease than this one was written with.  The size I made was going to end up with about 2 inches of ease in the chest and I changed it to zero ease.  I gave myself a little more room in the waist because I don't love things to be too tight there (I've had babies, y'all!), and I think the hips ended up with about one inch of negative ease.  Anyway, this is just my personal "favorite silhouette"...there was nothing wrong with the measurements of the pattern, it just didn't match my personal taste.

But here's the thing that did turnout to be a flop: I had a major neckline fail.  And because I looked at the pattern photos and thought, "Oh, I wouldn't mind if the neckline was a bit smaller," I cast on the exact number of stitches called for in the pattern even though because of my new gauge, my stitches were smaller than the ones the pattern was written for.  So I honestly have no idea what is going on with the neckline.   If I wasn't wearing the white shirt underneath, my shoulders would be poking out the top of this sweater. And while the pattern photos definitely show it as a wide neckline, it's not hanging off of the model's shoulders.

I don't love the result, but I like it enough that I'm going to try to do a couple modifications to see if I'll like it enough to make it a keeper.  First, I'll be frogging the stockinette rows that are curling over the neckline and subbing in a thick ribbed neckband to try to close up that space a bit.  If that maneuver is successful, I'll be pulling out the brown yarn at the bottom and starting that color up a bit higher.  The brown was added because I knew I wasn't going to have enough orange to make the sweater full-length, but I had intended for the brown to start around belly-button level, and as it is now, it's about 2 inches lower than that.  It's not awful looking, but I think it hits me in a slightly awkward place and will look better a bit higher on the body.  If that is a success, I'll also redo the bottoms of the sleeves so  the brown color starts at the same level as it does on the body.

Wish me luck - I think there's a good chance this sweater will be a just needs a few modifications.  Don't you hate that when you get done with a project only to have to start pulling stuff out and redoing parts?  The sleeves of my Owl Sweater still need an extra 1.5" on each cuff ribbing (they just look a tiny bit like baby sleeves on me) and I've had that done for over a month with no motivation to do cuff surgery.  I'm sure it'll get on the list eventually.  There are just so many Things I Must Knit!

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