Wednesday, September 30, 2009

OMG! It Fits!!

Squeeeee!! Look at that! Jim is the proud owner of a new sweater.

When I first joined the shoulders I thought that there was no way this was going to fit. That area looked so small! So the sweater sat in time out for a while. Jim would speak wistfully of his sweater, while I scorned the stupid pattern and cheap yarn. Sure it was a nice color, sure the yarn was soft, sure the design was unique. But look what wandering from the beaten path gets you, a no good-nik sweater with no shoulders to speak of. Then Jim would gently reaffirm his faith that it would fit, and coax me to just try. Just put the seams together before I gave up on it.

How could I refuse him?

I eased myself into the seaming. I set in one sleeve at a time. He tried it on and things looked a little more hopeful. So tonight I sat me down and stitched the whole thing up. You could have knocked me down with a feather when the darned thing fit! Want to see it again?

It was a close call, and it's a good thing that Jim is a slim fellow, or I don't think he would have been comfortable wearing it. Oh yes, he still would have worn it, just not able to move his arms much.

To give the pattern credit, I think I may have caused the problem by switching the cable designs from what was written. First off, I started knitting this design with the sleeves. The ribbing for the sleeves is set up to flow straight off into the cables. It's a nice design feature. When I started on the body, there was a similar set up with the ribbing. But the cables didn't flow with the ribbing, instead they went in the opposite to what they should have if they were going to match the sleeves. So I switched the cables.

The problem happened when I reached the armhole shaping. A signifigant part of the design is the addition and removal of stitches for the cables. If I had followed the pattern as written then the cables would have been at maximum stitches. See below.

Instead, we ended up at minimum stitches:

And that's what you get kiddies for trying to get smart with the pattern. Forget top-down raglans, my next sweater is going to be a vest.

By the way, from the comments to my last post, here is a very clear explanation of the relationship between heat and acid when dying yarn with food color:

Beadlizard said...
I love "The mordant is love. The heat is marriage." Wow.

In almost as brief terms, heat opens the scales on the wool, thus expanding the surface area, plus it facilitates bonding. The acid in the vinegar is an essential part of the bond.

You can get a feel for the process by playing with the order of things. If you mix the dye with cool water and vinegar, then add the wool, then bring up the heat, stirring gently, you'll get pretty level dyeing. If you hold it at the proper heat (just under a simmer usually) until the water is clear, then turn off the heat and let it sit until cool, *then* rinse, you'll get maximum take-up.

If you start with cool water, vinegar, and wool, bring it up to heat, *then* add the dye powder or stock solution, you'll get instant take-up, but ONLY where the dye contacts the fiber. This is how to get distinct sprinkles -- dry powder on a hot acidic bath.

To get darker colors you can go for full saturation -- use more dyestuff and the maximum take-up method (and plenty of vinegar). Or, add a bit of a darker hue like navy or black. We often use grape Kool-Aid to tint things darker.


  1. Hm. I believe that makes two -- TWO! -- sweaters that fit.

    You make it look easy. ;-)

  2. That is one sweater of awesomeness! Wowzers!

  3. That is an awesome sweater! Of course it doesn't hurt that your husband has the perfect slim guy figure. Anything would look good on him.

    What 'cheap' yarn did you use?

  4. Great job Laurie. Beautiful sweater! Love that cable design - very unusual.

  5. well done on both sweaters!!! each pattern is great

  6. The sweater is lovely. Of course it fit, you're an excellent fearless knitter.