Wednesday, July 2 / 7:07 AM

As my friend Cate would say, Gah!


Every time I think I'm finally making some progress as a knitter, I screw something up big time. Above is a photo of St. Brigid. I have completed 8 pattern repeats, which is what the pattern requires. It's quite a bit too short, but I knew that was going to happen because - aha! - I made a careful gauge swatch and decided I had enough knitting expertise to progress despite the fact that my row gauge was off, since what really counted was stitch gauge and that was fine. I just need to knit until it's as long as it's supposed to be. Unfortunately, it's also about 9 centimetres too narrow. Well, let's be fair, it's about five centimetres too narrow for the size I'm making, but I have just realized that even that is too small! I had been worrying about the smallness of the garment, but the little light didn't click on in my head until this afternoon, when I was browsing through Sweater Design in Plain English in order to begin a completely different and heretofore unmentioned project. Maggie pointed out that most women's hips are larger than their chests, and I realized my problem - St. Brigid is sized for 34-36 and 38-40" busts. No problem there. But it's quite a long sweater, and at the size I'm making, it might cover my hips, but it'll cling to my bum like there's no tomorrow. Why, oh why, didn't Alice list the suggested HIP size? The sweater is a big rectangle, so obviously the widest body measurement is the important one. Gah! Oh well, it's all my fault anyway.

"Okay," you may be saying to yourself, "so she's making the wrong size. But why is it too narrow even considering the stupid small size?" Answer: I'm not exactly sure. I made several careful gauge swatches in moss stitch, and washed 'em and measured over and over. I think it comes down to a few things.
  1. Just because I can achieve the same stitch gauge as Ms. Starmore in moss stitch doesn't mean that my gauge in several different kinds of Celtic knots.

  2. I was a bit off when I measured. The pattern gets 2.4 stitches per centimetre; I was getting 2.4 stitches per centimetre, at least measured on the moss stitch on the sweater, which is a big squished as it *is* on the edge. That makes quite a difference in the big scheme of things.

  3. I washed and blocked my swatches; the sweater-in-progress has not yet been blocked or washed. However, I don't think it's prudent to assume I can stretch it 5 centimetres through blocking, and I think I should be making the larger size anyway.

This brings me to Krista's Knitting Tip O' The Week: Measure your garment while you knit it. Constantly. I measured the width a couple of times soon after I'd started, but since it was more a strip than a rectangle at that point I was probably stretching it too much.

I think I can save this without re-knitting it, though: All I have to do is knit long thin strips of moss stitch and sew 'em to the sides. Right? Does anyone have a reason why I shouldn't do this? If so, please speak now! And when I knit the sleeves I'll calculate how much extra moss stitch I have to add, and try to figure out how to change the increases as best I can.

"Why", you might ask, "doesn't she rip the darn thing out and knit it on bigger needles"? Good question. I'm really happy with the drape and density of the fabric as it is; I think going up a needle size would make it too drape-y, especially given that it's a Starmore design and she likes really tight gauges.

It's no longer smooth sailing, but if I make it out of this sweater alive, methinks I will have learned a lot about pattern manipulation.

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