Friday, April 19, 2013

Miracle Fit

I often fall into the trap of believing that I actually know how to knit. I mean, I can manipulate those needles and make yarn do some pretty cool things, but sometimes, my brain just fights hard to humble me whenever possible.

I'd been dreaming of making a cardigan out of some alpaca yarn I purchased during a trip into the city a while ago. I liked the combination of the colours together, but somehow, it just wasn't coming together.


I played around with a bunch of ideas, and eventually decided that I needed to throw another colour into the mix. After a day playing with the dyepots over at Tara's house, I had a perfect lime green skein of yarn to work with. I made a gauge swatch, did a few calculations, and cast on for my cardigan.


I started playing with the colours, adding them in one at a time with a chevron lace stitch. I strategically placed the colours so that they would hit my torso in a flattering way... and it seemed to be working out.  I got near the bottom edge and then took out the measuring tape and...


It was too small. Not terribly small, just... snug. I messed up on my gauge somehow. I left it on the couch while I pondered. Rascal added his opinion.


I carried on bravely, contemplating how I was going to make this thing fit. I was going to add a button band to it anyway, but instead of using just one colour as I planned, I decided to use three and make it a touch wider. That sort of solved the girth issue. At least the thing wouldn't look like I'd raided the kids' section at the department store.

After I took it off the needles and tried it on, it looked a little too short. I pondered for a while and then decided that I would hope that the very nature of the alpaca yarn would sort it out for me. It has a tendency to grow when washed, and even though my gauge swatch (which I always wash) didn't really show much growth, I would block the crap out of it and hope that it would take.

The sun is sort of ruining this shot, but you can see how I treated it like a lace shawl on the blocking boards.

And, lo and behold, it worked. It is wide enough to close over my cookie-loving belly and long enough to look like a grown-up sweater.





The yarn saved me this time, but I think I'll plan for a little more room all around for the next one. This experience was a little too nerve-wracking for my liking. If your brain is going to sabotage you, it's best to put in a few safeguards, like a little more common sense and a little less hoping for miracles.

Who am I kidding? Every project of mine needs a little miracle-magic. It's the only way stuff gets finished around here.

13 comments:

  1. I love it! And blocking is magic. :D

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    1. Blocking is a miracle, isn't it? I think I might steam it just to really set it well.

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  2. Beautiful! I still have no idea what blocking does or why it needs so be done.

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    1. Here's a good page that shows an example of how blocking changes your knitting: http://blog.lionbrand.com/2011/03/07/blocking-before-after/

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  3. It looks great! I'm so impressed that you were able to turn those hanks in to such a striking and original top.

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    1. I had some inspiration from some other patterns out there, but none at the right gauge for this yarn. It's liberating to leave the pattern behind and just improvise, but it's a bit scary!

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  4. So Rascal's solution was to add dog hair? I think my cats think the same thing, pet hair it makes everything look better!

    Looking at the three original skeins, I would have thought the purple would have enough pop on its own. But man that lime green just brings everything together.

    It is beautiful and looks great on you too!

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    1. I think Rascal's solution was for me to convert it into a dog bed. In reality, all my stuff is a dog bed to him.

      Yeah, I thought the purple would be enough as well, but it just needed a bit more contrast. I'm glad the lime green worked out!

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  5. I love your ability to manipulate the project to accomodate the issues that some how come up after you have rejigged the gauge. Wonderful perfect. Looks great. Love it. :)
    Wish our weather in So Cal would get cold enough to wear sweaters in the winter without trveling all the way to the snow in Mammoth 5 hours away. Dare I really complain??? Not.

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  6. Seems I can not spell well by mistake.

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    1. Thanks! I think I am just unwilling to give up after investing all that time in a project, so I'm game to try anything to make it work!

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