A simple summer sweater

Post by Sarah
Tuesday, June 20th, 2006

So, I had this idea that I would make myself a simple little summer sweater, something I could wear with everything, you know?  I visited the stash (being the extremely good girl that I am) and came up with 11 balls of Reynolds “Tiara,” 70% viscose, 30% silk, worsted weight.  I swatched:

 eyelet rib swatch

I not only swatched, I washed my swatch and laid it flat to dry.  I not only washed my swatch, I measured gauge both before and after washing.  (See what a good girl I am?)  Now (and here is where the plot thickens), the only problem with this lovely little swatch is that I forgot to write down the size needle I used.  No doubt I thought to myself, “Oh, I will remember.  No problem.”  (Actually, I usually make little knots in the yarn tail to tell what size needle I used, but I forgot to do that, too.)  So, I revisited the yarn label, and it says to use a #6 needle.  Knowing that I habitually go down a needle size (or two) since I tend to knit loosely, I deduced that I had used a #5 needle on this swatch.  I immediately made five little knots in the yarn tail.

OK, what I haven’t admitted yet is that all this happened several months ago, because, you see, I was going to get a jump on that summer knitting.   So, when I picked up this swatch a week or so ago, I saw five little knots in the yarn tail.  “Oh,” I said to myself, “I used a #5 needle for this yarn.”

Earlier this spring I purchased a simple little sweater–short sleeves, scoopnecked, and form-fitting.  I decided to make this new sweater as a virtual clone, shaping-wise, of this commercial sweater.  I did exactly as the knitting experts advise you to do:  I laid the sweater out on the bed and took careful measurements.  Bust, waist, lower edge, armhole depth, neckline depth, neckline width, shoulder width, length, the whole deal.  Armed with this knowledge and the careful gauge measurements I made of my washed and dried swatch, I confidently cast on (in the round) for the lower edge. 

Knit, knit, knit.  Some time later (about 2 inches later) I realized that this wasn’t looking exactly right, gauge-wise.  Perhaps it wasn’t a #5 needle that I used on that swatch.  Perhaps it was a #4.  “Well,” I thought, “that’s really not a problem; I’ll just switch to a #4 right now.  After all, my hips are bigger than my waist and I wanted some waistline shaping anyway.”

 Knit, knit, knit.  Some time later (about 2 inches later) I realized that the whole thing was looking a bit, well…large. 

 too-large eyelet rib sweater

Hmmm.  I checked gauge.  I checked my math.  I checked the dimensions of the commercial sweater–now it was measuring three whole inches smaller around the bust and waist.  How could this be?!  Well, here’s how it could be–the first time I measured it was right after I wore it and stretched it out.  The second time was after it had been washed and returned to its rightful dimensions.  Nobody told me about this!

Rip, rip, rip.  Simple little sweater.  Pah.

(Oh, by the way, this whole “involvement with the CIA” thing has been blown way out of proportion.  These days I just consult.)   

4 Responses to “A simple summer sweater”

  1. Ellen Says:

    Well, it happens to the best of us…

    But the swatch is beautiful! Once the math is worked out, it will be a great sweater! Any notion about turning it into a pattern? You know, like say, for others to knit? Because everyone likes a simple summer sweater.

    On another note, regarding this CIA thing, didn’t I say yesterday that she was going to deny, deny, deny?

  2. lorinda Says:

    Hi Ellen, I just read your yoga comment on Yarn Harlot, and I laughed ’til I cried. I would have gotten kicked out of class with you for laughing. Thanks for the belly laugh. Sorry about your pretty swatch. ;(

  3. Ellen Says:

    Lorinda, glad you enjoyed my report of my misadventures in yoga! All true. I think I just don’t have the right temperament to last through yoga class with a straight face. I’m always happy to find someone else who has just the same, irreverent personality!

    Just for the record, the lovely swatch is my sister, Sarah’s. (It is lovely, isn’t it?) She and I do the blog together and post on alternating days.

    Come back and see us anytime!

  4. Tao Lee Says:

    I found you online. I am in China and trying to knit, but the needles are only big toothpicks that have been polished, no round needles, no big eyed plastic sewing needs, no crochet hooks – bummer. I am looking for more free patterns. Thanks.

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