Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Off to a slow start

Coraline is turning out to be much more of a challenge than I had initially thought. First, the issues with gauge (it always starts with gauge, doesn't it?). I knit a swatch and got stitch gauge (6 spi) on size 4 needles so I decided to go ahead with the 34" size as written in the pattern. Not having to tinker with the pattern sounded great.

Off I went and after knitting the inside portion of the hem facing, I decided to alternate skeins every two rows. As you can see, the skeins have a fair amount of variation in them and I thought it would be a good idea to try and even things out.

Two to three inches later, I decided that I really didn't like the look of alternating skeins but that I did like the gradations that appeared on the inner side of the hem facing. Not wanting to rip everything, I decided to cut the second skein and proceed with only one skein at a time. Cutting your own handspun is horrible, just horrible, so I strongly recommend frogging in order to avoid it. About 20 stitches into the next row, I decided that I couldn't live with the stripes and frogged back to the turning row of the hem. 

Fast forward several inches of plain, boring stockinette (but with beautiful color shifts in the handspun) and I start to think that maybe the piece is a bit wider than 34 inches. Lo and behold, my gauge had loosened up to 5.5 spi and now I was knitting a size 36. That's ok, I thought, I'll just add waist shaping to nip things in. I dutifully did the math and progressed another several inches with the newly added shaping. Then I tried the piece on.

It looked terrible. The shaping was too curvy for what is ultimately a swing jacket. And no amount of blocking was going to fix things (despite what I tried to tell myself). 

Lovely, no? Well, this was reduced to a pile of spaghetti when I ripped it all out this morning. As I was trying on my first attempt at Coraline, I realized that the shape that I really wanted was not a shaped garment but rather a swingy piece with a lot of drape - a lot like a lovely little linen cardi I had picked up from JCrew last summer. So several days later than I should have, I actually measured the linen cardi and found, much to my surprise, that it is a 32 bust with no shaping at all. That's not a number I'm used to using.

At least now that I am progressing forward again with the new size 32 numbers (I'm actually following the size 30 numbers to account for my slightly larger stitch gauge), the rows are a lot shorter!


Sel and Poivre said...

That yarn is lovely! I'm impressed with your determination to get on the right track before going any further!

elizabeth said...

Oh no! But your attitude is perfect, and the knit fabric is just gorgeous!!! Knit on!

Rachel said...

I'm hoping that since it took me a few days to comment that things are progressing more smoothly now! Even though it's been a hassle, the knitted fabric is really beautiful!

(after knitting multiple things too big, I finally measured myself a few months ago...lo and behold, I was 2-4 inches smaller than what I'd thought and been knitting!).