Let's talk knitting shall we. I really do knit so I don't kill people and so that I don't inadvertently kill myself with my blood pressure. Of course, sometimes it doesn't work quite so well as we will see below. But it all turned out in the end.
I love a knitting challenge. I am assuming that is why I like what is called "colorwork" knitting. For the non-knitters who hang around here that means you are knitting with more than one color of yarn at a time. In the case of the sweater that I just finished it meant that for most of the sweater I was knitting with two colors as one time and in a couple of spots with three colors of yarn. It makes me look a lot more talented, knittingly speaking, than I really am.
I had wanted to do a Damejakka Loppa sweater for a long time. I love knitting sweaters. Love, love, love. I was also determined to knit this sweater from stash. How hard could that be? I mean I have, in some senses, reached SABLE as far as my yarn stash in concerned. SABLE being: Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy. I knew that I was going to use Knit Pick's Palette because I seem to have a lot of that. So I dug it all out and started to arrange colors and I realized several things.
- I didn't have enough skeins of yarn for the main color so I would have to order that.
- I didn't like any of the other color combinations that I was finding so I might have to order a skein or two.
- I didn't have the right color for the contrast cuffs and button band so I would have to order that.
So much for only using stash yarn. But I placed my order and then I realized that:
- I hadn't read the pattern correctly and I was short on how much I needed for the main contrast color
- I still didn't like my color choices.
Back to more ordering. Finally I was ready. I faithfully did my swatch, grumbling all the way because....I hate to swatch. I knit a bit looser than some, it's a Continental knitting thing, so I went down a needle size. And that is when I realized that:
- I didn't have the right length of cable for the needle size so I would have to order that.
- I didn't have the right needle size with the right cable size.
Once THAT order arrived then I was all set. I cast on and away I went.
Whoooosh! Before I knew it I was through the colorwork yoke and on to the miles of body. I was flying. But there was this little thing tapping at my brain saying something wasn't right. Something was off. I knew it and I didn't want to admit that my gauge was off. For the unknitterly of you, gauge is how many stitches you are getting to the inch. For some things, like socks and lace, I don't think that gauge matters all that much. But for sweaters, GAUGE MATTERS. It matters a whole heck of a lot. It makes the difference between whether a sweater is the size you expect or some other alien size. If knitters have any question about our gauge we like lie to ourselves and say things like...
"This will be fine."
"I got gauge with my swatch so it has to be right."
"I am sure that I can block this sweater to be bigger after I give it a good soak."
I was a half way through the body of the sweater when I finally sat myself down and had a good talking to myself. My gauge was wrong, even though my swatch was right. The sweater would be too small and no amount of soaking and stretching and blocking would make any difference. And so.....
I pulled the whole thing out. Oh the pain. Oh the tiny balls of yarn. But I knew it was the right thing to do. Sometimes gauge swatches lie to us. It was discouraging but what would have been even worse is to spend all the hours knitting this thing and then finding that it was too small. That would definitely raise the old BP.
I cast back on and got to knitting. Almost immediately I could tell that my gauge was right. The fabric just felt better. I made it through the yoke, I got through the miles of body, the sleeves when on without difficulty. And Monday......
My Damejakka Loppa was finished, blocked and ready to be worn. Of course on Monday it was also 93F so I quick put the sweater on, ran outside, had HHBL take some pictures, ran back inside and took the sweater off.
But Winter is coming and this is the first thing that I am going to wear when the weather is more cooperative. Now I am off to think about the next sweater to cast on. I have to use up the yarn from Maryland Sheep and Wool before I go again next year.