Sunday, August 5, 2007

Somewhat Cowl

Um, yeah. So you may have noticed that I said in my first post that I started a blog because I got a digital camera. And you may have noticed a distinct lack of pictures.

You may have also noticed the word "knitting" up there on the top of the page. And what we call a Lack of Knitting Content.

OK, so here ya go.


This pattern is Somewhat Cowl by Wendy Bernard of Knit and Tonic. If you're familiar with the pattern (or visit her site and see the picture of her Somewhat Cowl), you may look at my sweater and say to yourself what I said to myself all day while I wearing it for the first time.

"Hmmmm...that sure doesn't fit the way Wendy designed it to."

And this is my second attempt. My first attempt was huge and after a brief cooling off period, I decided to face reality and frogged it (aka Demoted it to String). I started it again in a smaller size. This at least fits like something that's reasonably close to my size.

But I still couldn't help but feel that I had let Wendy down somehow. She designs a sexy, close-fitting sweater and I produce something kinda baggy.

Mind you, the collar is dramatic enough that no one seems to have noticed that there were issues with the sweater when I wore it. I even got a compliment. But I still felt that I had done Wendy wrong and I had no idea why.

Then, through the miracle of Ravelry, I discovered the problem. I was not losing my mind, or imagining things. Several other people have made this pattern and commented on Ravelry that the instructions for the raglan measurement are too big.

For the uninitiated, the way this sweater is knit, is you start with some stitches that will be the top of the sweater, and then you add stitches at the seams around the armholes. You keep adding stitches until that line there by the shoulder (the raglan seam) is X inches long. Then you separate the sleeves and add armpits and you can try the thing on.

It feels like magic because you have a flat piece of knitting and then you have something 3 dimensional just like that. It's so impressive than when you try it on and the arm holes are clearly Way Too Big, you are blinded to the fact that this means there are way too many stitches and the entire sweater is too big and you need to Stop Now and Turn Back because this is not going to be OK and continuing to knit isn't going to change that.

And by "you", I mean "me".

I finished the entire body, the sleeves and the collar before I realized that self delusion wasn't going to make this sweater fit me. At this point, I could've found someone who the sweater would have fit, given it to them, and moved on.

But no, I wanted a Somewhat Cowl. That's the shade of green that looks good on me, so no one else is allowed to wear it. So I ripped the entire thing out and started over again.

I suspected that the raglan measurements weren't right for my body, so I made a smaller size and guessed at how long the raglan seam should be to fit me. I briefly considered measuring the back of the sweater to check how wide it was getting, but that would've required getting up off the couch, so it didn't happen.

Over time, I must have decided that the pattern was perfectly right and I was doing something wrong somewhere. And then I proceeded to do the same thing wrong. Again.

Apparently, I was incapable of knitting one of Wendy's designs without Screwing Up Royally. As she has a book coming out, full of designs I'm sure I'll want to make, this was Worrisome.

And then I uploaded the picture of my Somewhat Cowl to Ravelry and decided to have a look at other people's versions of the same sweater. And I learned that it wasn't Just Me Being Stupid. It was Me Being Obedient an following the pattern blindly instead of using my brain and measuring tape to figure it out.

Any idiot can realize that if something looks too big, then it probably is and something can be done about it. And finally, I am that idiot.

Oh, yeah, project stats--there were needles involved. And yarn. The exact details pale in comparison to the facts that
1. I have a Wearable Sweater,
2. I am Not Losing My Mind, and
3. Armed with this new enlightenment, I'll be able to knit any top-down raglan (including those designed by Wendy) with minimal wailing and gnashing of teeth.

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