How many times have you bought all of the supplies for a project to knit, and then changed your mind about the yarn, or pattern?
This seems to happen to me all too often. The above was a purchase several years ago. Somewhere along the line I decided I didn’t want to use the pattern I bought. I think it was due to the fact that I detest knitting a sweater in separate pieces and putting it together. I love to knit in the round.
I discovered this after finding my first Elizabeth Zimmerman book, Knitting without Tears! Her techniques and insistence on swatching for your gauge, turned me into a super sweater knitter. Her patterns were the first I could actually wear! Usually I would have to gift my knitted sweater to someone, anyone that was the size the sweater was. And while this had a certain excitement, and drama, I actually wanted a sweater for myself. Elizabeth's in depth explanation of gauge and how to calculate your size, finally made me realize how important gauge was, and what to do with “my gauge”, with her percentage system. I was off and running, well knitting. I would urge any knitter to read the above book if you haven’t. Her patterns are bottom up in the round, now I’ve discovered top down, in the round patterns!
Searching for a new pattern was a quest, I wanted a bulky sweater top down, knit in the round. In Fall of 2010 I found this pattern from Knitty, Iced cardigan by Carol Feller! I was tripped up with the gauge and “forced” my super bulky yarn onto needles that were much too small for it. Therefore, a terrible knitting experience. I was crawling along (with bulky yarn, no less, which is usually such a fast knit), and not enjoying it at all. Producing a sweater that was so dense it would probably hold water and deflect bullets!
Before photo, gauge too tight for this yarn, stiff sweater, ugh…
Finally I stopped and looked at it, and tried it on. (one of the benefits of top down knitting, and realized it was stiff and still too big, way big.
A frogging I go. Plan B, now I’m using a larger needle and knitting a smaller pattern size. For example, my gauge is now 25% larger than the stated gauge, so instead of doing some math myself. I can just look at the sizes, her XS is about 25% smaller than the size I want (at the stated pattern gauge). Hence, I cast on for the XS, and now I’m off and knitting! Of course this doesn’t work every time, but if you are in the average or medium size, this can be a great “cheat” especially when a pattern has lace or cabling etc.… in it.
After photo, gauge is more relaxed, sweater correct size.
"Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass... it's about learning how to dance in the rain."