Monday, March 12, 2012

Progress has been made

This is going to be another long-winded knitting blog, so if you couldn't care less and would rather go and watch paint dry than hear me blather on for an age on this, know that I won't be offended if you bugger off for a while.  I'll let you know when it's safe to return.

I've been diligently working away on my Seamless Hybrid and have made a couple of important discoveries:
  1. You are never ever so good at something that you stop making mistakes.
  2. The mistakes just get more "interesting" (read: frustrating).
  3. As I would have known, had I taken the time to figure it out, performing a short row doesn't add ONE row to your knitting, it adds TWO.
To demonstrate:

The blue lines represent the regular, in-the-round knitting that form the body of my sweater.  The orange lines represent the short rows.  So when you do a short row, you're adding two rows to the section you're working on.  Right.  Lesson learned.

Apparently, I am also not past the point of accidentally twisting my knitting when I join to knit in the round.   I wasn't in the mood to knit a Moebius sweater, so I ripped it all back (2" worth of sweater) and started over.  Grrrr.

But who cares about all that?  I have some progress to show you.  First, I should probably tell you that I decided to make this sweater in a funny way.  My main area of concern was the bust area, so I decided to start with that.  It's not a top-down sweater, though, so I had to get creative.  I have no idea if this was a good idea or not, but I started with a provisional cast on at the armpit mark and started working down from there.  When I'm done with the body of the sweater, I'll pick up the yoke stitches and work up to the collar.  Smart?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  I'm sort of channelling EZ on this one and have taken on a devil-may-care attitude.  We'll see if it works: you'll be the first to know (well, after me, of course).

Admittedly, I have a bit of an advantage with this whole design-as-you-go process: I have a custom body form/mannequin to use as a reference:

The top edge is the provisional cast-on.  The bottom edge contains my needle cable (with the nifty little end caps that come with KnitPicks interchangeable needles).  The markers are helping me keep track of the sides of the sweater and the location of the back darts:

No, it isn't perfect.  I think I need to add some darts below the bust on the front (I pinned it there for these photos) and that means ripping back 2" of work to put them in.  I'm not worried about that, though: it goes quickly.  I'm so used to knitting with fingering weight that this worsted feels like rope.

But the short rows did the trick!  I'm not sure why I'm surprised because I've heard it from enough knitters to know that it SHOULD work.  Still, I'm pleased.

You can just barely make the ends of the short rows out in this photo (sorry, but I am kind of addicted to my iPod's camera at the moment and didn't feel like dragging out my behemoth Canon 40D for one picture).

To recap:
  1. This mannequin represents the best $200 I ever spent.
  2. I am going to rip back to insert some darts in the front.
  3. I adjusted my scheme for inserting short rows because I figured out that each one adds 2 rows of knitting, not just 1.  I knew I needed 9 extra rows (maximum) in the bust area.  I ended up putting in 10 (5 short rows), because the math worked out really well, but it was probably overkill.  I could have stopped at 8 (4 short rows).  Maybe when I rip back to put in the darts, I'll take out that last short row.
  4. The back darts are beautiful.


  1. Lovely! I am learning a lot from your description of work out the fit that's right for you. I recently finished my first sweater (a top-down) and the mannequin would have been a big help. Looking forward to seeing how the vertical bust darts work; I think I'd have been tempted to just sew them in at this point! o.o

  2. Hi Lynne, thanks for delurking! I promise, I'll keep you updated. It's really fun and I'm so incredibly relieved to have my mannequin - it was expensive and really difficult to set up correctly, but man, totally worth it!