So I've been working on a new summer top for the past week. I love how it's coming together, but, for now, I'm keeping it under wraps. I suspect that I'll be submitting it to a print publication for summer 2014 instead of publishing it independently, and I know that some magazines have strict rules about submissions being "never seen anywhere on the web" prior to publication.
The top uses a couple different stitch patterns. I swatched diligently, washed the swatch, laid it out to dry, measured my gauge, did the math for the top..... As I was knitting it up, it was coming out smaller than I expected. Was it because I switched between flat knitting and in-the-round knitting? (The swatch was done flat because I thought it was going to be a seamed design, but then I changed my mind and switched it to in-the-round once I actually got started.) I didn't think there should be much of a difference in gauge though since the stitch pattern alternated pretty evenly between knit and purl stitches. So I pressed on. Maybe the yarn I'm using grows a lot more during blocking than I remember. So tonight I'm just about half-way finished.
I measured it again. I'm aiming for a 36" chest. The chest I'm knitting is 25" across. What is going on??
I pulled my swatch back out and re-measured. The stitch pattern that I have written down as 26 sts x 37 rows now measures, upon reexamination, 42 sts x 42 rows! What the heck?
I was dealing with an allergic reaction earlier this winter that required me to take benadryl more than I would like over a long period of time, so maybe my first attempt at measuring was done on one of the days my brain was in an antihistamine fog. Other than that, I have no idea how I could have possibly been so far off in my gauge count!
At any rate, I'll block the section I have done tonight so I can double-check that in-the-round gauge is indeed the same as my flat gauge, then pull it all out in the morning and start again. It'll be totally worth it in the end, and I am consoling myself with the knowledge that I've "only" knit up one skein of fingering-weight yarn so far, so it's really not that much.
This might be a blessing in disguise though, because I was on the fence about raising the neckline up a little higher, but I didn't really want to rip back just to get an extra half inch of height before the neckline. Although, now that I know I need 42 rows to make 4" instead of just 37, I'll probably end up still knitting it to the same target height as before....just with the correct number of rows this time!
So take heart knitters....this stuff happens to us all. And once the beautiful project is complete, the bumps along the road will just be a faint memory!