Tuesday, August 21, 2007

If it's worth doing, it's worth doing three times?

It looks as if my husband's Tomten is following the path of the Bavarian Jacket insofar as it is requiring me to knit three sleeves, except this time it's not entirely my fault. When adapting a child's pattern to fit an adult, things don't always go as planned.

In my infinite wisdom, I left the pattern at home when I was knitting the Tomten during the long drive to the ranch a couple of weekends ago. In my defense, my goal for the weekend was to knit to the armholes, and I don't really need a pattern to knit a big garter stitch rectangle. So when things went faster than I had planned, I relied on memory for the next steps, and was very relieved when I got home to find that I had split for the arm openings correctly. I had knit thirty ridges to the shoulders, estimating about 10" for the DEEP armhole. According to the pattern, though, I needed to add another 6 ridges, or 2". I debated leaving it as-is, but in the end it's the armhole shaping that defines the Tomten*, so I followed the pattern.

And then there was the issue of the sleeve cap. How to make this thing fit an adult? Jared at brooklyn tweed shortened the armhole and used a sleeve cap much like the one on the Bavarian Jacket to remove the bulk of the sleeve. But I had other ideas. I would leave the iconic DEEP armhole and, instead of knitting a 'suspender strap' of a contrasting color, I would border the entire opening in the contrast color, mitering the corners in a very EZ fashion. This would not only emphasize the Tomten-y construction, it would also raise the armhole and take out some sleeve bulk. Then I would decrease along the top edge of the sleeve according to the pattern.

A three-ridge border looked about right, and I gartered my way down the sleeve. I had my husband try it on at various points, and the sleeve was worryingly loose, but it's hard to tell how loose is too lose when the last few inches haven't been seamed. So I knit to the wrist before admitting defeat. It turns out we have different ideas about how a jacket should fit, but the bottom line is that he wasn't happy with it. He is very picky, but I know that if I can make something that meets his specifications, he will wear it to death, so it's worth getting it right.

I reluctantly ripped back the sleeve and increased my mitered border from three ridges to six. Ironically, I'm back to my original 10" armhole. And it turns out that I vastly prefer the wide border to the narrower one. Very masculine, I think.

Adult Tomten

I also ended up casting off the bottom edge of the contrast band this time. Version 1.0 looked bulky where I had knitted the sleeve onto the live stitches, and I think a seam there will give a sharper edge to the contrasting band.

Without the contrast band, I would have 36x2+1=73 stitches, 50% of the body circumference for each sleeve. By adding the band, I decreased 6 stitches on each side of the sleeve: 30x2+1=61, or 42%. I decreased two stitches on the first green row, so I now have 59 stitches. I want to go down to 20%/29 sts at the wrist. 59-29=30 sts to decrease, or 15 additional decrease rows. The sleeve needs to be 27" long or 81 garter ridges. I want to do all of my decreases before a 6-ridge contrast cuff, so over 75 ridges. So I need to decrease 2 stitches after every 5th ridge (the last decrease row will be the first brown row).

Math: it's better than trial and error.

Also, blogging: so you don't forget what the heck you just did.

* Especially since my husband has opted for a hood-less version. He was on the fence about the hood, so I showed him the pictures in The Opinionated Knitter. He said, "No way! That pointy hood will make me look like an elf!" I said, "Yes, dear, that's the point [ha ha, the point is the point!]. I think it's cute like that, but I don't have to make it so pointy." He replied "I don't trust you." Eh, you win some, you lose some.

1 comment:

sophanne said...

That is a beautiful combination of colors. I'm working my way through the EZ videos right now. I'm so intrigued by how differently the garments appear based on the fibers that are used.