Thursday, October 4, 2012

SWEATIN' OVER THE SWEATER

I've been knitting for about a year and a half now.  I've done dozens of socks and dishcloths and hats.  I've whipped up a number of scarves and shawls and afghans.  I've even managed a baby sweater.  What I have not managed up to this point is an adult-sized sweater.  This is not for lack of trying.  I bought a load of off-white yarn a year ago and attempted the Shalom Cardigan, adjusted for my size.  I didn't know enough about adjusting sizes at the time and it looked like something I dug out of the dog crate and slung over my shoulders.


I unraveled that little goody and tried my hand at the February Lady Sweater (based on Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Alamanac February Baby Sweater, which I had successfully created).  Two problems quickly emerged.  First, I wasn't going to have enough yarn.  Second, I had apparently measured myself incorrectly and/or miscalculated the gauge because it hung off my shoulders as if it had been knit for Andre the Giant.  (There were also those pesky mistakes I made in the actual pattern, but since it was quickly frogged we won't talk about those...)

Last week I started unraveling and prepared to use the yarn on, yes, the third sweater.  This time I went smaller.  I decided to try to the Tomten Jacket from Elizabeth Zimmermann (found in both The Knitter's Workshop and Knitting Without Tears).  The interesting thing about the pattern in Knitting Without Tears is you use the person's measurement and your stitch gauge to come up with a base number of stitches that she refers to as X.  The rest of the pattern is a modular design and is based on fractions of X.  To be safe, I measured Foghorn and calculated a sweater for her (much smaller) size.  I love Elizabeth Zimmermann because she's funny in a dry way and has a no-nonsense approach.  She also gives very few directions for her patterns and apparently assumes I'm much smarter than I really am.  Thus her patterns always make me slightly anxious until I finish and see if I actually understood the directions correctly.

I finished today and...um...  Listen, I swear I was always an A student in math.  I don't  know what the hell is screwing me up with sweaters, but I evidently did something wrong.  Either Foghorn's measurement was wrong or my gauge was wrong or...or...something because the damn thing came out too small.  Now, ignoring the fact that it's a good size too tiny for her body (and too short), the sweater itself I think turned out pretty well.  If I could shrink my daughter by 10%, I'd probably be pleased with the results.  The jacket is very basic garter stitch throughout, so it's not meant to be fancy or particularly stylish.  (One criticism I hear of Zimmermann's patterns is they tend to be very practical and more suited to a 1950s hausfrau than a 21st century gal.)  I offered to put a contrasting color around the edges to give it more pop or add decorative pockets, but Foghorn insists she likes it just the way it is.  She also insists it fits perfectly and she's wearing it around the house as we speak.  She's wearing no pants (her habit of late is to wear only her underpants and t-shirt at home), but she's got the sweater on.  I'm making careful notes about my numbers and will adjust for next time.  And, just to be safe, I think I'll add on another 10%.


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1 comment:

quilt32 said...

It's a really cute sweater - no wonder she doesn't want to give it up.

Also like your new header.
Mom