Friday, November 4, 2016

Sweaters multiply

Whilst I have been yammering on about Slow Fashion I have been knitting away on my green sweater-- last time I checked in I had knit to just beyond the yoke increases when I had to reassure myself about gauge. Sometime last week I reached the end of a skein and decided it was time for a try-on. It's hard to judge what the final fit of the sweater will be because I know it will grow about an inch with blocking, but I'm pretty sure that that inch it not going to get me the fit I want. The trouble is I'm not 100% sure and I want to be!

I wish there was an easy way to compare size and fit with handknits-- how great would it be to have two sweaters that were almost exactly the same except for the chest circumference, so I could try them both on and do a side-by-side fit comparison?

Well, because I am that kind of knitter, I decided that I had to do it-- I had to knit a second sweater that is almost exactly the same as the first except the chest circumference is two inches bigger. My future (warm, cozy, stylin') self will thank present-day self someday, I just know it.

Really it's not so outlandish a thing to do-- I have enough yarn, enough time (though it is beginning to feel distinctly winterish these days and I would like another warm sweater!), and sufficient math skills to work out the changes in the stitch counts and increase rates and so on. I wanted to keep the sleeve circumference and the yoke depth essentially the same, so I had to start the sleeves with fewer stitches-- and that meant more increases at the front neck to keep the same front neck drop as version one. The added chest stitches will come from a combination of another increase round and extra stitches cast on at the sleeve divide. Ah, the satisfying puzzle that is the top-down raglan sweater!

I am also taking the time to try to get the neck ribbing just right. The key word being try-- I have kind of an inferiority complex about my k1p1 ribbing. The knit columns always look too wide and stretched out to my eye, even when I go down 3-4 needle sizes:

So version 2 is going to be my testing ground for better-looking neck ribbing. I have tried six sizes down, and now I am trying six sizes down with Eastern-wrapped purls. I think the stitches are getting smaller, but I may be reaching the limit of how small they can get before I actually need to increase stitches so the neck will fit over my head!

Looking better, maybe?

I don't feel any hurry to finish-- once I choose an overall size I still have to figure out length and sleeves and I am fully prepared to rip back as many times as it takes. Funny, I have always beat myself up for my indecisiveness in apparel, especially handmade apparel. Maybe I just haven't given myself enough time to decide, and maybe my failures have been the result of rushing my decision-making process? Maybe once I re-establish some confidence in my choices the decisions will get easier? Hard to say, but this feels different and I love it!