Thursday, March 13, 2008

Perfection Is in the Eye of the Beholder

It's off the needles. In fact, I cast off yesterday. It's not blocked, and the ends aren't sewn in (frog a few times and the glamour of weaving in as you go wears off), but it's knit.

It's also big, definitely big. I took one look at the finished sweater and started planning to rip out the ribbing and hem it instead. He's gotten tall, but not that tall. He hasn't broadened out yet, either. In other words, he's still shaped like a plank, all vertical. This, I think, contributed to the whole sleeves knit for someone whose knuckles drag on the floor issue. As it is now, the width that will eventually be taken up through the shoulders effectively adds to the extra length knitted into the sleeve.

Details, statistics, observations, whatever:

Pattern: Seamless Shirt-yoke Sweater by way of the Seamless Yoke Sweater, through the Saddle Shoulder and Hybrid Sweaters from Knitting Without Tears and Knitting Workshop.

Yarn: Cascade 220, The Heathers in 9411, Olympic Rain Forest.

Needles: Size US8/5mm Addi Turbos, 16"/40 cm, 24" /60 cm (which were a mistake and were replaced with) 32" /80 cm lengths.

Gauge, 4.75 stitches/6 rows per inch.

Elizabeth says to knit the sweater on 24" circulars. Between the extra stitches and my odd knitting style, I popped stitches off the tip of my left needle like a bagel pops poppy seeds. After about the third or fourth time of not catching this until 3 or 4 rows after the fact (No, I don't know how I missed it, I just did. Idiot knitter, remember?), I switched to the longer needles. I love my crochet hooks, but don't want them as constant companions when I'm knitting.

Grafting is way easier off the needles.

I'm delighted with whatever combination of chance and careful planning led to the saddle decreases merging so perfectly with the neck ribbing.

I had no idea before that if you slip two stitches knitwise as a unit, you get a different looking decrease than if you slip them one by one before you knit the next stitch and pass the slipped stitches over, but you do. Treating them as a single stitch meant all the decreases formed this lovely chain from the double decreases at the front and back yoke through the single decreases along the saddles and shirt yoke.

Knitting Workshop is right, the Cast-On Cast Off is incredibly stretchy, works wonderfully well with ribbing and is just like doing outline stitch. Plus, all the edges match, and I'm kind of persnickety about that.

One of the advantages of being a research-oriented person (which is what I call all the compulsive back-and-forthing from book to DVD to book to website back to book, etc., ad infinitum, I do when I'm learning a new pattern), is that going back to original documents sometimes gets you a seeming random, unimportant bit of information that you find you're glad to have at a later point in the project. On the Knitting Workshop DVD, Elizabeth let drop the value of a Ktbl,P ribbing. This is the ribbing the designer used for the Victoria Fingerless Mitts, and, while I obediently followed the pattern, I wondered what the point was. According to Elizabeth, it will keep its elasticity better than regular K1P1 ribbing. I wish I had known that at the start. I would have used it for the cuffs as well as the neck and bottom borders.

I asked John to do a final size check. He didn't take it off until he went to bed, hence its current unblocked, loose-end state. He likes it long. No, he doesn't want me to change the ribbing. It's exactly how he imagined it. I call that a perfect fit.

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