I have one of those nifty alarm clocks from Brookstone where you just tell it your time zone and it automatically sets the time. If the power goes out in the middle of the night (or any other time), it resets itself when it comes back on. And it automatically changes for daylight savings time. Except. Congress lengthened daylight savings time, and no one told my clock. So I slept an hour late and was sitting in my bathrobe eating my Cheerios when I realized, it's 8:56!!! I had showered last night, so all I needed was fresh clothes, a ponytail, and a little makeup. Except. As soon as I got up to get dressed, I got the hiccups. And then I couldn't find my brown shoes. Thankfully, I was still only ten minutes late getting out the door.
The other thing hanging over my head today is the High Neck Cable. I bought the pattern and yarn for this sweater without knowing much about it. The photo on kpixie is tiny, but it was such a pretty picture that I got swept up. It was such an impulse buy, in fact, that I didn't even notice that the yarn is a single. I should have been paying better attention.
The pattern doesn't have any schematics or final measurements, and that, together with the pretty but detail-and-fit-hiding photo should have been enough to warn me off of it. But no. Instead, I struggled with choosing a correct size. I'm plump, but mostly busty, and I never knit to my full bust measurement unless the garment is meant to be layered. I split the difference between my bra band size and my bust measurement and knit to that (40"), adding in some short rows. So far this tactic has worked to produce sweaters that fit both my shoulders and my bust, which is more than I can say for just about any commercial sweater.
Well, Ms. High Neck is written to fit 36-38 or 40-42. So what to do? Should I knit up for my bust size to get the right ease, or just knit the largest size? I settled on the largest size.
But first the swatch. The gauge is 18 stitches over 4 inches, or 4.5 st/in, and the recommended needle size is US7. I swatched on 7s and got 4 st/in. So I went down to a US6 and got 4.25 st/in. I stopped there because I liked the fabric -- if it was any more dense I'd never have occasion to wear it! -- and that extra quarter stitch per inch would only produce an extra 2.5 inches in the final garment, and I might need that ease.
So off I went and got to about an inch past the ribbing when I realized that I didn't know how much ease the pattern had written into it, so how could I know that an extra 2.5" would be ok? So, out comes the calculator. 204 sts divided by 4.25 st/in equals.... 48"!!! 48!! That's going to be way too big.
But all is not lost, I told myself. I haven't knit much, and I wouldn't want the ribbing to be tight on my hips, anyway. I'll decrease down to 40" for the waist, and then go back up to the next largest size for the bust and shoulders. That should give me some ease through the midsection and then a nice fit through the shoulders.
And so I did.
And then I started to get nervous. It looked small. I ignored it at first-- of course it looks small, it's bunched up on a 36" needle at the top, and drawn in by ribbing at the bottom. After a while, though, I couldn't take it any more. I slipped half of the stitches on another circular needle and carefully shimmied it over my hips.
It fits, but there is no ease.
So now I have to decide what to do.
Right now I'm thinking I should rip back and re-knit, leaving the shaping on the back (I'm kind of proud of that) but not doing anything at the front except maybe bust darts. Or maybe I should just rip back to the increases and increase back up to the largest size for a very hourglass shape. I can definitely block it a little larger (the swatches grew a little when washed), and the alpaca will probably stretch with wear anyway. It is soft enough to wear right next to the skin, so I don't need to leave room for layers.
I need to try it on again before I decide. And measure gauge on the actual sweater.
P.S. My email has been acting up for a while now. I type an email and hit "send" and it either sends or it vanishes, and I never know which. It also sends multiples of messages sometimes, or won't delete emails. Fun times. I think it has something to do with the .mac server. Every time I think it's fixed, it comes to light that someone else never got that email I sent. So if you've commented and haven't heard from me, it's not because I'm snobby. Either Blogger has hidden your email from me (which you may or may not have wanted -- check your settings) or I think I have replied but my computer ate my email. I do appreciate hearing from you.