Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Stupid !#$%@$#% Pattern

I really hate the Telemark Ski Sweater pattern from Knit Picks. It's an awesome design, both myself and my mother love it which is why I'm knitting it for her, but I really can't stand the pattern itself. First off, it's mostly done using the Elizabeth Zimmerman Percentage method of figuring out the sweater dimensions, which isn't a bad thing, but wasn't what I was looking for. I wanted a "Cast on X number of stitches for a size medium" instead of "Make a gauge swatch and measure it and cast on X% of the number of stitches you would need to go around the chest". It's a great way of getting a great fitting sweater, but not what I was looking for at the time. So after getting over that aspect of it, I decide to do a sleeve swatch.

I hate swatching, I hate wasting yarn on a swatch (though it isn't really wasting) and I don't like taking the time to do it (though it's really good practice especially for something like a stranded sweater). Instead, I cast on for a sleeve in the recommended needles. I knit the cuff, then two inches of pattern, and realized I was way off. It was huge. The recommended gauge is 7 sts/in, and the pattern writer got it using size 5s. Now, the ball band says 6 sts = 1" on size 3/4 needles. How in the heck did the designer get more stitches on such larger needles? Must have been pulling those floats rather tightly. I got 5 1/2 sts/in with the 5s, though as I got into the knitting, getting used to stranded knitting again, it was creeping over 6 sts/in. So I ripped back to the cuff and tried again, still getting just about 6 sts/in. I switched to 4s, and that gave me the desired 7 sts/in, and a really nice thick, dense fabric too. I ripped it all out, and started over again with the 4s.

Using the 4s, I've been plugging along wonderfully. I've just finished with the increases, and need to knit until 8" from the end. 8". Something about that just seems kind of funny to me. Now, if everything else about the pattern would be percentages and based on gauge, why is this number not? I counted the rows left on the sleeve. 48. So if you gauge was 6 rows/in, you get 8" left. But what if it's not? What is the row gauge supposed to be? The pattern doesn't say. What do you mean the pattern doesn't say? It only gives a stitch gauge, not a row gauge. What the heck kind of pattern is this? It gives you a recommended stitch gauge, then tells you how to figure out the necessary stitches using your own gauge, which could be different from theirs, but gives you no information on the row gauge and then assumes what yours is. I would have less problems with this pattern if they picked a style of directions and stayed with it, instead of jumping back and forth. I like how it is explained, very well I might add, how to use the charts and your gauge and measurements to knit the garment, but the fact that this is not done for height, only width, bothers me. By the way, my row gauge is 8 rows/in. If I were to leave off at 8" from the cuff to underarm length, then knit the 48 rows, I'd knit only 6" more and therefore be two, count 'em, TWO inches short of the desired length. NOT fudge-able. It is a good thing I stopped to check this one out before proceeding. Could have ended badly, for my mom. I probably would have realized it before finishing the sweater and all, but still, it would have angered me greatly to have to rip back the last four charts' worth of work to go back to the lice pattern where I can lengthen the sleeve.

Also, my mom is visiting us up here in New Hampshire this Sunday/Monday. I have exactly what you see up in the prior paragraph done on her cardigan (aren't the floats lovely?). I'm kind of hoping to have it done for her then. It's one of those things I want to finish while I'm still in the States, one of the larger ones, and if I can get it done by then it makes everything else look a lot more sensible. I'm also changing it from a pullover to a cardigan, and have never steeked or knit a button band before. This is looking rather not do-able. Wish me luck anyway!

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