Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I didn't keep any notes on the purple a4A sweater. I have a hot pink notice from Marco's school with numbers scribbled back and front that was tucked in at the pattern page, but that's it. I know I made adjustments. I changed the size; I remember worrying about all those 10 to 12 year olds who weren't big enough to wear an adult small. I used bulky yarn. I referred repeatedly to Ann Budd's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns.

I remember that I hoped the yarn would take care of most of the resizing issues, but I knew there were places where I had to change the numbers anyway. You know, those parts where they tell you exactly how many stitches worth of something. Twenty stitches at worsted weight are a lot different than twenty stitches at bulky weight, especially if the bulky is Malabrigo bulky.

I investigated the sweater itself. I had 34 stitches left on the sleeve. I had 41 stitches (not 42?) left on short-cable circulars awaiting my decision to 3-needle bind-off or Kitchener. Near as I could tell, I had 136 stitches total before I began decreasing for the sleeve (thank God I had marked off the sleeve with coil-less safety pins and been too lazy to take them out.) 136 was a good number. There was an actual note on the pattern page that involved 136. It was the sum of 52+58+26 which were the numbers from the pattern for the stitches picked up from the front, the stitches picked up from the back and the stitches cast on for the neck.

I went back to the sweater. I only had 16 stitches for the neck. I could maybe fudge it to 18 if I counted the bound off rows from the front and the back, but there was no way I was going to get anywhere close to 26. The pattern called for about 84 rows for the front, 96 rows for the back. I have 74 and 86. I began writing all this down.

I lost those notes.

I gave up and started knitting something else from the book - the basic rolled brim hat. My theory was that if I stopped panicking and finished something, anything, for the Youth Campaign, I'd get my knitting chops back. I finished the hat this morning.

I went back to the purple sweater. No matter how many different ways I tried to count, I came up with 57 stitches picked up from the front and 63 from the back. The numbers bear no resemblance to anything in the pattern or on the hot pink piece of paper. For lack of anything better to do, I subtracted them from 136, the total number of stitches I was sure I had (because I'd counted them six ways from Sunday) before I started the sleeve decreases. The difference is 16.

Wait. Wait. Isn't that the number I thought I had cast on for the neck?

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