Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The proper way to begin a project

With the heartbreak of this sweater freshly in mind, this would be a good time to describe the proper way to begin a project.

Eric has requested a "fisherman's sweater" so we spent a great deal of time looking through patterns, which were narrowed down to three choices from Alice Starmore's Aran Knitting. After choosing a pattern we went to A Good Yarn in Brookline. Much yarn was fondled and a choice was made: Jamieson's Shetland Heather in the color Ivory, which of course the store didn't have nearly enough of.

I found one online retailer in the US that could supply me with the needed quantity of yarn, Kirtland's Yarn Barn, a one-woman show in Dellwyn, VA. Here is the exciting lovely yarn:

mmm, so pretty.

Before casting on in wild abandon, as I have been known to do in the past, I took the time to swatch. For the pattern we chose, Irish Moss, I made two swatches and neither came out with the correct gauge even after blocking. I didn't want to go with smaller needles because the yarn is too thick and I don't want this sweater to be able to stand up by itself.

The options were as follows:
1. Alter the pattern so the yarn could be used. I did some math and came up with ways this could be done.
2. Choose a more appropriate pattern.

Normally, I would not recommend choosing a pattern based on the yarn because that has not gone well for me in the past. However, in this case there were two other fine patterns in the running and I realized that the gauge in both patterns was appropriate for the yarn. St. Enda was chosen and I swatched again. Again - and I cannot stress this enough - I washed and blocked the swatch.

The gauge is ever so slightly too tight (a half stitch) but a more aggressive block could easily fix that. Also, the sizing on this sweater is even larger than the other, and the small is a little too big, so it should all work out. (What is up the 10 inches of ease that Starmore designs in her garments? You may as well wear a couch cover.)

I have cast on and will post a photo when I have knit enough that it's worth looking at.


Anonymous said...

Ha! Couch cover! :-) Of the two sweaters in a size small that my Dad has brought me from Ireland, I could easily swim in both. Guess it's the style? Looks like a fun sweater to knit!

MJ said...

What size needle did you end up going with? I tried it out with the recommended size (8) and it was HUGE... it didn't come close to gauge until I tried it with 2's. But 19x24 stitches isn't a square. Any words of wisdom????

3goodrats said...

Isn't it funny that I wrote a whole post about swatching and managed not to mention what size needles I used? Weird! Anyhow, I used 7s.

What yarn are you using? Also, are you on Ravelry? A lot of my project information is there, along with many other people who have made it. I just did a quick look through the project pages and it looks like people used everything from a size 3 to an 8.

MJ said...

You rock, thanks so much! I have no idea why I didn't even think to check Ravelry for this sweater. I'm under RetroVertigo. I just sent you a connection requestion...

MJ said...

I'm using the Jamieson's shetland heather in Moorit. I haven't blocked my swatches yet, but at this point the size 3 needles are winning!