Friday, March 31, 2006

Crafty Fucktard: Thinking Ahead of the Pattern Edition

Knitting Pure and Simple has a lot going for it. The notion of knitting a sweater entirely in one piece and thereby avoiding the dreaded seaming inherent in other patterns definitely appeals. There's just one problem. Either I have some kind of serious pattern-reading defect, or these patterns tend to suffer from at least one critical failure each. And, Crafty Fucktard that I am, I always, always, always miss them.

Take Le Murfle's Metrosexual Roll-Neck. At least this particular error happened early. Instead of, like any sane person would, having one cast on the proper number of stitches to begin with, the pattern's author instructs one to cast on a certain number of stitches and then increase in the first, pesty row (making holes all the merry way).

So, Crafty Fucktarding my way along, I followed the directions (see? this is why I NEVER read the directions for IKEA furniture, or computer assembly, or whatever) and ended up with something quite akin to eyelet. On a boy's sweater. Now, I'm open-minded about gender roles and all, but given that the perfectly boyish-looking Murfle already gets called a girl because he doesn't have a buzz cut at the age of three, fuck that ladies and gentlemen, let's try again.

Which I duly did, starting with the proper number of stitches at the cast-on. An hour of knitting later, it turns out that even at the gauge the pattern was written for, there aren't enough freaking stitches on the needle for a 16" circ to work at the point one is supposed to do the join. Haaaaaaaate. Haaaaaaate!

Ah, well. After that minor bit of frogging all was well. Murfle has a lovely, variegated blue Roll-Neck waiting for his Chanukah over-the-shoulder-tossing pleasure. (*which he duly did.)

On to the Weekend sweater, which I attempted for Wench last year and ended with something akin to a very warm, fuzzy, red circus tent. There were reasons for this. I was a measuring novice at the time, and didn't know I should send Wench off to measure herself in her favorite/normal bra and nothing else. Le sigh. The other reason, unsurprisingly, is in the pattern, which I discovered this year as I was knitting the Weekend Sweater Redux so Wench would have a knitted item from me that's appropriate for wear not involving fifteen layers of clothing under it.

All went well, until I was very near the roll bottom I'd added (broken-rib bottoms flatter noone). Then I noticed that the lovely alpaca seemed to resemble nothing so much as a warm, lusciously soft, cream....

...circus tent.

Cue wailing and gnashing of teeth as I measured and realized the freaking thing was eight inches wider than it should be. MOTHERFUCKER! So, I frogged, count them, dear readers, about twenty vertical inches of circular knitting. When I was done crying, I figured out that the flaw lies in the number of stitches the pattern author tells one to cast on for the armholes. Eight inches total, kids. Given the front and back gauge, it should be more like three. KHAAAAAN!

However. After running out of yarn (bless Blue Sky Alpacas. the dye lots are so consistent it's impossible to tell where I joined the Emergency Yarn Infusion), it's finally done. Now I just have to haul its four-pound bulk off to the cleaners.

The moral of the story? Knit KPaS patterns all you like--just be sure the gauge adds up.

Apropos of nothing, much kowtowing to Matilda for completing a sweater that includes intarsia. Woot!


Blogger Matilda said...

OOoh, dear. Was this not the yarn for which the gauge swatch alone, thanks to its weight, could have been used in a hip, retooled version of the classic story "Lamb to the Slaughter"? Well, at least you were getting your upper body workout in while wrangling the circus tent.

Speaking of circus tents, Tank Girl, she is finished as well. She is also . . . way too fucking big. I've dried her and hung her to drip dry (and hopefully reduce width by way of adding length). After that postproduction manhandling, she's near ready to go, but what's with our collective inability to knit to measurements?

4:15 PM  
Blogger Angeltiger said...

Only the knitting gods know. The cardigan I just finished is, natch, also way too big. :P Perhaps we tend to overestimate our own size. Wench has now been instructed to smack me with the nearest available set of large needles the next time I decide to knit a size up.

And apropos of nothing, yay for finishing tank girl--hope the downward stretch helps with the size!

9:09 AM  

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