On Sweaters

Theoretically sweater knitting is a great idea. You get to MAKE yourself a garment. You can tailor it to fit your body allthewhile playing with yarn. You can choose a pattern, make up a pattern, or modify a pattern. Theoretically the sweater will be exactly what you want it to be.

A place where rhinos and otters live together, not as weird as my dreams of the ultimate sweater


Practically? It never works like that. Gauge lies, yarn splits and a myriad of small things lead you down anxiety path. Add to that I normally knit an XL/XXL variant and we are talking about a serious commitment on my part. I usually run out of mojo well before a finished sweater is born.

I've been working on a sweater for awhile now… (I'm sure you see where this is going)


It started with a gauge swatch.


Then I knit the pieces that made the top… And they looked weird.


So I seamed them together, and lo they fit perfectly. I am ignoring the fact that his cotton yarn shrinks vertically after drying, maybe I won't dry it in a dryer after all.



Then I picked up for the skirt, thinking I could avoid the unpleasant modification bit for a bit longer. And to be clever? I inverted the chart. Without swatching my changes. Yep, the lace looked rank. So I have a nice looking shrug?

The skirt was going to be a big problem, if I blindly followed the directions for the larger size decreasing to he next size was going to look awful. Why? Let me draw you a bad illustration.

Plus I'm now working the skirt bottom up…

The XL size has six complete lace repeats and stockinette inserts at the sides. The XXL has seven repeats and no stockinette!

Problem 1: the vertical focus of the pattern would be completely messed up if I had to decrease out two of the small cables that border the lace pattern, to maintain these edge cables I'd have to add increases and decreases for those increases to move the pattern in the right direction

Problem 2: the centre focus of the two sizes is different. One is centred in between two repeats, the other on a repeat.

Problem 3: that stockinette stitch side insert wouldn't look right if it just suddenly appeared 1/3 of the way up the skirt.

With a great deal of thought I came up with my solution. So far? It's working, but the true test will be when I start decreasing.

Just in case you can't read my hand scribbling… I inserted the extra sts to make the XXL skirt (14) into the XL pattern. Each lace panel was given two extra sts and the st st sides were given one. I plan to decrease these sts in pairs. Both sts from the outer two repeats, then the 'middle' repeats and finally the centre repeats. I'll either remove the extra panel sts first or last, I haven't made up my mind.

Also, as I predicted, I'm going to have to lengthen the skirt…not fun from the bottom up which is another reason I picked up and tried to knit down, I was going to knit the skirt as long as my available yarn would let me… Now I have to worry about running out. 😦

So in summary sweater knitting is serious business and can't be undertaken lightly. Which is unfortunate.


But it is looking pretty.



I'm pretty sure I'll be knitting this for the rest of July. Yawn.




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