Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Schleppy Sweater: Whose Brilliant Idea Was It

Schleppy sleeve bad for me to design a sweater from scratch?

Oh, right, it was mine.

So many nice sweater designs already exist, but no, I had to take the hard way.

If you see me typing crazy talk about designing a sweater again, please lock me in the closet until the impulse passes. (Of course, I reserve the right to revoke that request once this sweater is finished and turns out awesome.)

When I embarked on this project I read somewhere that if you are going to design your own sweater you have to be prepared to rip out and rework parts or all of it.

Well, I thought I was prepared, but actually having to do it still sucks.

Sleeve: Bad at Ease
The sleeve is not working out. It is too snug. To the point of being uncomfortable, if I'm being honest.

Seriously, it looks like an alien skin costume.

Hubby was no help as this crisis was developing.

I put on the body piece and held it up. Then pulled on the sleeve. I asked if the sleeve looked ok.

He said the sleeve looked great. That he liked it and I should leave them detached. As knitting-punk was not the look I was going for with this sweater, I decided to ignore him.

Unfortunately, I could not reach this level of honesty about the sleeve during the first day or two of knitting when it was only up to my elbow. No, I had to live in a state of denial for four knitting days, by which time it reached my upper arm. Which is to say, it's almost done.

I think I know what went wrong.

Part of the problem is that I apparently don't have the least bit of understanding of the concept of ease. This does not surprise me since I don't grasp spacial dimensions in general. You could pluck me from my living room, put me into a new room, and I wouldn't be able to say for sure how they compare. I've lived in my town for five years and can never remember the order of the stores on the main drag (which baffles Hubby and makes his life difficult. He has learned not to ask my opinion on travel directions).

This all translates into a too snug sleeve. It's not a delusional self-image. I measured correctly (I think) and believed the tape measure. I just don't understand how 2 inches of ease relates to what the tape measure told me.

This might have been addressed by keeping in mind the fit standards according to the Craft Yarn Council of America here, which list 1-2 inches of ease as "close fitting. " One printout I have even says "body skimming." For what I had in mind I should have been in the 3-4 inch range.

Measure Twice, Knit Once
The next problem is that I measured my pudgy upperarm and my scrawny wrist and nothing in between. This makes no sense considering I can see that my forearm has a larger circumference than my wrist.

Finally, I learned that just because I can spread my increases out over the entire length of the sleeve doesn't mean I should.

The sleeve is almost at the final length before the Raglan shaping and I still have one increase to work (which probably indicates an error in my math somewhere. I was sure I'd have several inches to work after the final increase before it reached the max length). Because the shaping is so gradual, the sleeve doesn't start fitting nicely until somewhere well above my elbow.

Also, since I'm ripping the poor sleeve apart, I totally missed on the ribbing. It lands below my elbow rather than on it. On the other hand (sleeve? snicker) I've decided to make the ribbing 30 rows, which should be 4 inches, rather than the current 15 rows, which is 2 inches. It should sit over the elbow area better at that length.

Back to the Calculator
I think I can salvage the mitt and cuff portion of the right sleeve. I like the way they fit. I've actually bound off the sleeve and am preserving it for comparison as I work the left sleeve. Then I'll frog the right one and rework it.

I've measured my arm in more places to have more stitch counts to aim for.

I'm going to increase 4 sts on the row right after the ribbing. Then increase 2 sts every 4th row.

On my first attempt I worked 8 rows even after the ribbing before my first increase. Then increased 2 sts every 8th row. Now I'll be working the same number of increases in half the length.

The right sleeve is tightest in the area just after the cuff, so the quick increase there should help.

Back to the Body
Since I'm revising things, I took another, harder, look at the body.

First off, it shrunk while in my project back. It was 13 inches when I put it in there and now it's 12.5 inches. It would appear I was smoothing it out a little too enthusiastically as I was measuring it.

But I've decided that I'm not happy about how low the corset ribbing is after all. However, instead of ripping out the ribbing and shifting it up two rows or whatever, I'm going to work it for 15 more rows so it matches the sleeves. Problem solved.

The overall fit of the body is acceptable. It is not as obscenely tight as the sleeve, but also not as loose as I had in mind. This makes me wonder if I actually just prefer "body skimming" styles in my knitware and subconsciously defaulted to that as I began the design process.

This all blew up on Sunday. Since I needed time to come to terms with wasting four plus days of knitting, I put the sweater aside and worked on Hubby's socks for a few days until I had quiet time to rework the sweater pattern.

Emergency fallback projects. Why pure project monogamy isn't practical.

1 comment:

  1. You are right about project monogamy. Can't wait to see the finished sweater.