Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Inequalities, Or Why I Shouldn't Finish Projects

Did you know that 36 does not equal 39.75? And that 120 is definitely not the same as 115? For that matter, I'm simply astonished to discover that the right side of a garment is not the same as the wrong side. Who would have thunk?

36 Does Not Equal 39.75
You may remember that hot on the heels of my finishing my Sunrise Circle Jacket and my felted bag, I've been knitting like mad on a Debbie Bliss-designed cardigan out of Noro Kureyon. Well, I've finished the back and fronts, blocked them, and sewn them together (OK, OK, I do need to redo one puckered sleeve seam, but I'm close). Hooray! I even bought buttons. More hooray! I just have to crochet around all the edges and sew on the buttons - I'm damn near done! I love the colors!

It doesn't come close to fitting me, however, dammit. I'm a 38 bust; I knit the size that should be expected to end up with a 39.75 bust. I got gauge, both within and across rows, which matters in this garment, because the body is knit side to side, not bottom to top, so row gauge matters a lot.

Shall we look at the evidence?
Eighteen inches across the back means 36 inches around. OK, I could have blocked the hell out of this and gotten another 3.75 inches out of it, I expect, but that would be stretching things more than a little, literally. I could knit seed-stitch front bands and that could add another inch or two. But....

Evidence Part B:
I have a bust of consequence. It is my consolation for being, oh, a good 30 pounds overweight. However much I may like to show off my twin consequentials, this does not flatter them. In fact, the low semi-circle of a neck line on this cardigan is not at all what I envisioned from the pattern photo. [Yes, Mom, I do have a bra on.]

Enter The Photo:
See what I mean? Hell...

On the other hand, it'll probably fit and flatter my friend Sue, whose birthday approacheth, and if she's really nice to me, I might just finish this in time to give it to her. Hear that, Susie darling?

If I don't bury it in the compost pile instead. Wool rots, right?

120 Does Not Equal 115
In further evidence of my incompetence, I bring you my Ostrich Plume Stole, lovingly brought to near-fruition at the half-through-the-first-of 19-repeats stage. Isn't it lovely? Don't the mohair and the colors suit this simple lace pattern?
So how come after casting on 115 stitches, and getting to a point where there should still be 115 stitches, I have 120 stitches on my needle? Were they invited? Did I say they could join the party? Yes, I have totalled up the charted yarnovers (up 36 stitches) and single and double decreases (down 26 and 10, respectively), and by God, I should stay at 115 stitches on each and every row. Only one of every four rows is anything more than plain knit or purl in this lace, so the fact that I am up five stitches after five lace rows has clued me into the possible cause of my problems.

Solution: Off with her pretty head! No, I didn't put in a lifeline; I think more of myself than that. Evidently, I should revise my self-estimation downward.

Part 3: Right From Wrong
I swatched. I really did. I got some deep purple Cascade Pima Tencel at the WEBS tent sale, and I decided to make a simple, simple, 5-year-olds-in-Nepal-can-knit-this, simple summer shell. It's called Arrowhead, designed by Barbara Venishnick, from the Summer '04 issue of Knitter's. Easy as pie - just a 19-stitch lace insert up the sides and the same lace inserted across the shoulders to form a bit of a cap sleeve.

I even washed my swatches. Note the 'es' on the end of the word 'swatch' in that sentence: I tried size 5 needles; I got too few stitches to the inch. I tried size 4; perfect when washed. Onward!

So I cast on 256 stitches (it's knit in the round, at a gauge of 6 stitches to the inch). One-by-one rib from the start of Round 1 to where the lace starts. Hmm, why do they say p1 after the ribbing and before the lace - I guess it's to set off the lace, right? OK, I can p1 when told; I do so.

The lace is charted. I can cope with charts; I'm a visual learner. The chart says Row 1 is knit on the right side and purled on the wrong side. This is the kind of lace where every other row - in this case, the odd-numbered rows - is just knit or purl, no confusing sl1-k2tog-psso or anything like that. So I think to myself [note to self: stop thinking]: OK, clearly row 1 must be the wrong side, because row 2 says k2tog and s2kp2 and stuff that only happens on the knit, i.e., right, side of garments. So, I purl the first row of the lace. Beautifully done, isn't it?
Well, it wasn't till I got all to the way to the second lace insert, over on the left side, that I realized that this shell is knit in the round, stupid, I'm ALWAYS going to be working on the RIGHT side! And the ribbing? I should have started out p1, k1, not k1, p1, so there aren't two purl stitches right before the lace inserts. The pattern says, and I quote, "[P1, K1] 54 times, P1, place marker, work Chart for lace...."

This is what I get for finishing two projects within recent memory.

I've decided my only hope is to cast on another project. Immediately. Obviously. Forthwith. Break out the laceweight cashmere, gang; I'm going to swatch for my Peacock Feathers Shawl! And the rest of these projects can just go sit in a corner until they've learned to behave themselves.


bradyphrenia said...

but, much work! can't you knit a button band on the noro cardi? it won't look exactly like the pic, but maybe it would be wearable without being blush-worthy (if only i had your busty difficulties)

Guro said...

Wow, I have just visited your blog since you finished your Sunrise Sircle, and wow was I surprised at how much your chest (uh) has grown since those pictures... I say go for knitting a button band, because the jacket is beautiful!

Abigale said...

Nice Rack! Hehe - I was going to comment to suggest a widish button band as well. I've got substantial girls myself - and hey, if you've got it flaunt it! It's a beautiful sweater though. And for those of us that are um, a bit larger in the front department, making the front a bit wider works well. Hope it works out for you!


Bad Amy said...

It is a bit 'St.Pauly girl', isn't it? I agree, a button band could do the trick. But how frustrating! Grrrr. And I was planning on making the same sweater (and size too).