Friday, August 18, 2006

In Which It Is Established That I Can't Knit

I have long ago sworn off any serious swear words. Nevertheless, I recently had opportunity to review them all in my head. Let's review.

I'm working on a sort of knitting Triple Crown. I have a self-imposed deadline of the end of October as I would like to have three boys photographed in them. It wouldn't be so bad, but this is the progress on my Christmas present for the piano teacher:

I understand that it's going to block out, but . . . I'm not even up to the full width of the outside border yet.

So here's where I thought I was.

Well, that *is* where I am. One blue sweater waiting only for me to mattress stitch the two sides. One green sweater that needs the shoulder seams grafted and the sleeves knitted. One red sweater with a little more than half of the back knitted.

But the green sweater had been bothering me for quite some time. It just seemed . . . small. Well I finally held the green against the blue and it is fully two inches more narrow than the blue. I checked and rechecked the number of stitches before realizing with horror that it is the gauge.

Look, the first sweater done on size 7 circular needles, making a point of trying to loosen up some of my too-tight knitted ways. 19 stitches over four inches. (Color is off here, ignore that.)

Then, if you'll recall, I realized that the sleeves were too small, but I chalked that up to a design error and reknit the sleeves with many more stitches. The sleeves I knit with wooden straights in size 7. I never measured the gauge when I reknit the sleeves. It turns out that they are 21 stitches over four inches. No kidding they were too small!

With the blue sweater done, I cast on for the red sweater with the addi turbo circular needles. Now fully into my high-anxiety mode, I added a stitch per four inches. 20 stitches over four inches. This is fine since I built in a generous ease for Max, and since first measuring him he has shot up and slimmed down again. (Mental note to add more length to sweater.)

But with those needles in use. I cast on to the green sweater with size 7 straights. And that, combined with being wound a little too tight (me, not the yarn), cost me almost an entire extra stitch to the inch. 22 stitches over four inches. Which results in a sweater that is way too narrow.

Yes, I'm knitting a smidge tighter than I was before, but the biggest factor here are the needles. I knit much more tightly on straights--wooden or metal--than I do on circular addi turbos. WHO KNEW?

So what to do? First, I've already put a lot of time into that green sweater. I hate to see that result in nothing. Second, the yarn is 18% mohair. That seems to be just enough mohair to make it really tough to rip out. So for now the plan is to graft the shoulders so I can have my stitch holders back. Then cast on all over again. At some point I'll go back and finish up the green and white too-small sweater and put it in the gift drawer.

But jeez. What a bummer. I'm going to work on the shawl tonight.


Eliza said...

You're light years ahead of me! I'm doing a scarf all in perl so I can do perl well rather than think about it every time.

Will the smaller one still fit the intended wearer? Are Milo and Ben both the same size dead on?

The Queen said...

Milo and Ben look to me to be light years difference in size. Ben seems much bigger than Milo. But my tape measure informs me that I am smoking crack. Ben is a quarter inch taller than Milo which may account for that 1/2 lb that he has on Milo. But they have the same chest measurements, the same belly measurements, the same shoe size--there is a 2mm difference in head circumference. The green sweater now has only a 3" ease. This is not enough ease for a sweater that is 18% mohair (read: ichy as all get out against the skin). Unlike the cotton sweaters I knit last winter, these are meant to be worn as outerwear on all but the coldest portions of winter. (And because I am the thermostat meanie who keeps turning the temperature down to 60-65, they can also be worn over a turtleneck indoors.)

I'm getting over the initial shock. At least 19 stitches to the inch knits up WAY faster than that Orenburg. If I let Chris do all the driving on our next family vacation . . . I can make up substantially for lost time.