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Falling into a Gray Area - Confessions of a Craft Addict

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May 28th, 2009


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08:57 pm - Falling into a Gray Area
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I'm at a point in my knitterly education where I'm in a gray area: I can reach a point in a pattern where an eyebrow is quirked, a puzzled look crossing my demeanor, and I think, "That doesn't look right...".

Experienced knitters frequently tell new knitters "trust the pattern", but I think it's just as frequent that the experienced knitters know when not to.

Sometimes, I can identify what the problem is and correct it myself, as I did with the actual shaping of the Sahara pictured above. I figured out all on my own how many actual decreases I wanted to do from bust to waist, converting the placement of those decreases from the row gauge of the pattern yarn to the row gauge of my chosen yarn, Classic Elite's All-Seasons Cotton (discontinued), and again with the hip increases, and was quite pleased with myself for doing so.

But sometimes, I can recognize there's a problem, might even identify what it is, but be uncertain of the best way to fix it.

The latter frustrates the hell out of me.

In this case, it was the nature of the so-called 'waist' decreases. I tried the shell on Saturday evening, just after I'd finished the three decreases I'd decided to use and the little nagging voice inside my head said "That doesn't look right..." Why were the decreases on the front and back of the garment, rather than on the side? Why were the decreases so bloody obvious? Is the front supposed to gap that much? Did I make the wrong size? And, perhaps the biggest problem I had: why the hell do the 'waist' decreases start at the widest part of my bust? That makes no sense.

But I talked myself out of frogging back to move the decreases to the sides, and bulled my way through the hip increases to the point where the final hem shaping would begin, then tried it on.

Again, those questions went through my head. Poke-poke-poke, you're not happy about this. You need to fix it.

Except I didn't know the best way to do it.

Frustrated and obsessing, I kvetched about it to kiyowaramiyuki and nathaniaapple, who looked at the photos with the pattern, identified the placement of decreases and increases as "princess seaming", and agreed with me that the initial decreases were in a dumb place. (Which I will qualify as "...for anyone with actual boobs.")

I brought it into the Shop yesterday and had a consult with Kiyowara while wearing it, and the expression on her face when she saw it on me validated all those doubts, which was reassuring. But more importantly, she has the skill and experience to be able to look at a design and a garment on a real person and recommend the changes to be made.

In this case:
  • Modifying the 'waist' decreases to start where, on the current garment, the second decrease exists--which is below the largest part of the bust. Where the body and the garment is starting to taper into the waist. Y'know, where it should be.

    Still doing the same number of decreases, but the three will be in the number of rows/distance between where the 2nd and 3rd decreases are were.

  • Modifying the ssk decrease to instead be a "slip as to knit, slip stitch back to left-hand needle, k2tog", because the normal ssk is creating a pull in the stitches making it look like a YO. This is likely, she explained, due to the nature of cotton yarn vs. wool, and this semi-twisted decrease should close the gap up.

  • Adding some additional rows into the center panel to prevent undue stretch in the fabric across the bust. Because the gap is just too wide, possibly due to me picking the wrong size (although the fitting through the shoulders, waist, hips, and the overall length of the piece look okay). We discussed a couple of options, from doing some increases along the neckline to add an inch to each side, down towards the bottom, to doing short rowing within the decorative lace panel which will be filling in the gap. I'd originally been resistant to the former, wanting to go with the latter, but I think upon further reflection I prefer the former idea as being more invisible.

  • And, finally, because I think it'll make me happier rather than Kiyowara actively recommending it, all the decreases and increases are going into the sides of the garment rather than the front and back. The 'seams' are just too frakking obvious in the predominately cotton yarn, and even if they're still visible on the sides, I think they'll look more normal as side seams.

    I struggled with the necessity, but I want to have something I'll actually be happy about and wear. My second biggest regret is that it meant undoing two entire weekends of work, but there was something oddly cathartic about the way I did it. I took the outside end of the ball I was currently working on, hooked it up to my ballwinder, and re-wound the ball, outside in. Then I kept going, ripping the hell out of the shell straight onto the winder, until a monster yarn cake was formed (of about 4-5 skeins). It took about 10 minutes, thereby once again proving that the universe tends towards greater entropy. :P

    Stitches are picked up, and I'm ready to start over again come Saturday. *sigh*

    But I still wish I could've figured it out sooner and fixed it as I went.
     
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