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?Â Â 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.Â I swatched:
I not only swatched, I washed my swatch and laid it flat to dry.Â I not only washed my swatch, I measured gauge both before and after washing.Â (See whatÂ a good girl I am?)Â 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.Â No doubt I thought to myself, “Oh, I will remember.Â No problem.”Â (Actually, I usually make little knots in the yarn tail to tell what size needle I used, but I forgot to do that, too.)Â So, I revisited the yarn label, and it says to use a #6 needle.Â 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.Â 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.Â Â So, when I picked up this swatch a week or so ago, I saw five little knots in the yarn tail.Â “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.Â I decided to make this new sweater as a virtual clone, shaping-wise, of this commercial sweater.Â I did exactly as the knitting experts advise you to do:Â I laid the sweater out on the bed and took careful measurements.Â Bust, waist, lower edge, armhole depth, neckline depth, neckline width, shoulder width, length, the whole deal.Â 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.Â
Knit, knit, knit.Â Some time later (about 2 inches later) I realized that this wasn’t looking exactly right, gauge-wise.Â Perhaps it wasn’t a #5 needle that I used on that swatch.Â Perhaps it was a #4.Â “Well,” I thought, “that’s really not a problem; I’ll just switch to a #4 right now.Â After all, my hips are bigger than my waist and I wanted some waistline shaping anyway.”
Â Knit, knit, knit.Â Some time later (aboutÂ 2 inches later) I realized that the whole thing was looking a bit, well…large.Â
Hmmm.Â I checked gauge.Â I checked my math.Â I checked the dimensions of the commercial sweater–now it was measuring three whole inches smaller around the bust and waist.Â How could this be?!Â Well, here’s how it could be–the first time I measured it was right after I wore it and stretched it out.Â The second time was after it had been washed and returned to its rightful dimensions.Â Nobody told me about this!
Rip, rip, rip.Â Simple little sweater.Â Pah.
(Oh, by the way, this whole “involvement with the CIA” thing has been blown way out of proportion.Â These days I just consult.)Â Â Â