Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Correct Size Matters, Especially With Linen & Cotton

There is nothing like spending months working on a knitting project and when that final moment of trying it on comes, it does not even remotely fit. Multiply that by the money you spent on yarn. In this case about $70.

Since mid-July I've been working on the Trellis & Keyhole tank by Connie Chang Chinchio. At this stage there is just the back pattern to complete and then the front pattern section. My first surprise was the color. Interweave shows the color as a wonderful deep, bright red. The yarn is actually more of a faded orange/red rust.

When ever I can, I use the suggested yarn. There's a big learning curve in picking a yarn that will replicate the weight, feel, drape, texture of another yarn. So far most of my yarn substitution mistakes have been with hats, wasting only 1 skein and a little time, but now I'm knitting garments.

I used Allegoro as called for, but still had a problem choosing the size. I've never knit with a linen/cotton blend. Figuring it would be less elastic, I decided on the larger size, with 4 1/2 " of ease. Later I learned, this stuff stretches like crazy and then does not go back Unlike wool, it has no memory.

In the this pic, you can see the first dozen of so rows complete, the work on waste yarn and placed on top of my fav Fruit of the Loom tank top. Does it looks too big to you, too?. After all the effort of a tubular cast on, I was hesitant to frog and do over. But, didn't want to put more into this and have it be unwearable.

Ravelry to the rescue. I posted a message on the Connie Chang message board. Several patient knitters gave me advice explaining ease and such. To my surprise and delight, the designer herself also answered. In short, she advised me to frog & begin again.

So I did. Very glad now that I am almost done. The tank size looks right now and a little stretch will be fine.

About a week or two later a fellow knitter messaged me that she had the exact same problem. I really don't know how people learned to knit without tons of frustration before Ravelry and the Internet.

Soon after frogging , I ordered a fabulous book, "The Knitter's Book of Yarn" by Clara Parkes, which I have since read cover to cover. Wish I had read it years ago.

My last note is that the Hindu Pillar pattern can be a bear to do if you don't keep the purl rows very, very loose. I usually wrap my yarn twice on my index, but wrapping only once seems to do the trick to allow me to knit three times into the same stitches.

Looking forward to finishing and wearing this... hopefully, before the weather turns cold.

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