The Next Level
Some knitters chose a pattern, then select the yarn. I’m the other knitter, the one who buys yarn, then looks for a project. Since buying the Mountain Colors River Twist mottled yarn in November, I can’t stop thinking about what project it’s best suited for.
When the latest issue of knitty was published, I saw the perfect sweater, Spoke. I love circular things, especially circular motifs in sweaters. It was the Annie Modesitt twisted float shrug that convinced me to buy my first knitting magazine and I’ve been hooked on circular knits ever since.
Also, I’m proud to tell you that today I even understand what “twisted float” means.
This Mountain Colors yarn could look very beautiful in a twisted float knit, but I decided to go with the newly published Spoke pattern because it looks interesting to knit, flattering to wear, and practical for the everyday wardrobe.
Swatch? No. I jumped in using a US5 needle. I do love swatching, but the back of the sweater starts with stockinette, then moves into 1×1 ribbing, so… that’s good enough for a swatch when you’re ready to jump into a knit. After I had knit about 10 or 12 inches worth, I stopped to take a look at my work. At that point I was knitting with my local knitting group, so, as usual, I got to borrow someone’s tape measure to have an official inspection. OK, I guess it’s no surprise here that my gut was right. The gauge was completely wrong for the pattern. The fabric was lovely, the colors didn’t pool strangely and I liked the thickness and tension. But I couldn’t continue to pretend that it would work because this sweater would be way too small. Say it with me:
B A R B I E . S W E A T E R.
I did what all strong knitters do, I calmly and simply pulled out the needle, ripped out my work to the knitterly chorus of “NO!!”, and created a new, round ball of yarn.
I decided that a US8 needle would be the best size to produce the necessary gauge. After I knit the first stockinette portion, I measured. The gauge was close enough for government work; I could definitely block it to the right size. I quickly knit up the whole back piece. While knitting, it suddenly occured to me that this yarn would be perfect for a skirt in my queue, Norah Gaughan’s Snapping Turtle Skirt. Was this yarn made for the Snapping Turtle Skirt? With it’s lovely shades of green and autumn colors, it looks like a turtle sunning itself on a branch in an autumn pond.
I remeasured the gauge. The stockinette is 19st=4in. The pattern calls for 16st=4in. I could block it to the appropriate size, but I don’t like how loose the tension is. It’s almost floppy and sagging. Also in this gauge, I don’t like the color pooling along the upper back.
Will I be happy with this sweater? Will I be proud of wearing it in public?
I realized that today was my day to officially become an experienced knitter, to use my previous experiences and knitting knowledge to make a good decision about my project plan. My previous experiences told me that I wouldn’t be happy with this sweater and I wouldn’t wear it much. This beautiful yarn needs to be displayed in a way that highlights its interestingness and colorful beauty.
So I’ve frogged it. It could be a great Snapping Turtle Skirt.