Saturday, July 12, 2008

Knitting myself sick

When we were at knitting camp a few weekends ago (very well summarised here, here, here and here, among other places), Jane had a go at fair isle. Unsurprisingly, it was successful. When commenting on her progress, she said 'I'm loving myself sick right now!'. And indeed, so she should have been.

On the other hand, I was plugging away at a knit so evil, that I was struggling to finish even a single round. 'I hate this knitting' I said, 'I want to knit something else'. Jane wisely said 'just finish that ball'.

By the way , anyone who says there are no knitting police obviously aren't afflicted with the voice of the Knitting Nurse Ratchet in their heads like I am. No knitting police, I wish. My whole knitting life is dictated by a complex net of rules and bylines, the matrix of which even I don't understand; the voice says 'knit project a, reward will be knitting project b. Finish project c for medicinal purposes, and just as a test of stamina, couple it with project e. You must ignore the cat-calls from project f until the ribbing is done on project z.'

Anyhow, this particular knit was so evil I was struck down with a flu to end all flus in the following week. I blame the cabling, enough to make anyone sick.

But I have recovered, and I have triumphed over the boringness and the trickiness and the mistakes and the crap pattern. So, I punch the air and say, as Jane said before me,

'I'm loving myself sick right now'.

Project Specifications

Pattern: Lion Brand Cable Luxe Tunic
pdf download purchase
Ravelry Link
Yarn: Sublime Cashmere Merino Silk Aran
Colour - Ocean
12 balls
(stretched terrifyingly when wet blocked)
Needle Size: 4.5 mm

Pattern Notes:

(A lot of detailed crap here, just click away (after making a comment of course) if you're not interested.)

The pattern is badly written, and it really only works for the smallest size. What they've done is test knit the smallest size, written up the pattern and then just added a given number of stitches to each step for the bigger sizes. And they don't work.

It instructs you to knit the yoke in inches, with each size roughly two inches larger than the previous size down - something like 'continue the medallion cable pattern until piece meausures 56(58,60,62,64,66)inches. Pretty normal for a knitting pattern really.

For the smallest size, this works out equal to sixteen medallion motifs. Seven across the front, seven across the back and one on each arm. This works out well, because the central cable should flow vertically from the centre of a horizontal medallion. Look at the pictures in the pattern to see what I mean. Perfect.

However, if you want to knit a larger size, the pattern says you need a wider (longer) yoke. So, the pattern says knit an extra two inches. But you have to knit a full medallion at the minimum - enter problem 1 - one extra medallion is more than two inches long. Enter problem 2 - you now have an odd number of medallions, so you can't make the central cable line up properly on both sides, whilst keeping the symmetry across the arms.

And even if you didn't care about the symmetry of the front and back across the medallions (problem 1), the number of stitches you're supposed to pick up for the bottom of the jumper just aren't there (problem 3) - there's sixteen side stitches per medallion repeat and the pattern asks you to pick up an extra 22 stitches per size (or something like that). No can do, even if the cables were only two inches long. The smallest size has the perfect number of stitches, btw. You'd have to do some mighty maths to work out how to evenly space the double pickups you need to get the bottom going properly - and be super vigilant that you're starting your sleeves at the same point on both sides.

Added to that the cables don't mirror each other (problem 4), and the central cable is UPSIDE DOWN! (problem 5) - I wasn't too worried about those issues but still they exist, and the pattern is written to be knit in pieces and them seamed, which is just unnecessary.

So I had to make modifications.

I knit the smallest sized yoke and picked up the number of stitches for the smallest size for the set-up rows.

I made the raglan seam longer to compensate.

I ignored the stitch counts, and knit the whole thing in the round.

I stole another jumper's neckline altogether.

However, without the pattern as a guide, I would never have knit this jumper. And I'm glad I did, because I really like it.

But now, PLEASE pass me some lace. It's been way to long, and I've missed it so.


Miss 376 said...

I hate patterns that don't work-you deserve a medal for persevering

PinkPorcupine said...

It may have been a pain, but the results are stunning. Now, go have a glass of wine and some cobweb weight. You deserve it!

Bells said...

Fantastic! So glad to see you stuck to it. You should totally love yourself sick right now. I heard her say that and it cracked me up.

The length is a nice feature. It works well.

Donna said...

It looks gorgeous, and I'm so glad you persevered. Wanna knit me one?

Katewillknit said...

Sounds like a painful pattern - but the results are great.

Michelle said...

I think it looks wonderful. You have every right to love yourself sick!

Rose Red said...

Oh yeah, you can totally love yourself sick every time you wear that!! Especially after all the mods you had to do - it looks fantastic.

Charmaine said...

The upside of all of this is that you can feel really proud (loving yourself sick) of this effort. It looks great.

julliams said...

Hi there,
Gorgeous sweater. You said that it stretched terrifyingly when wet. Did it go back to shape once dry or was it stretched out?? I have just made a sweater using this yarn, washed it according to instructions and not only did the water show that the colour had run, but the sweater is now way stretched and I'm worried that I have a $150 sweater that is far too big for me now.