Saturday, 21 January 2012

Life lessons in knitting matters

Two's company, three's a crowd

Guess what this is! Yes indeed, it is three sleeves (for my wrap top from the Rebecca magazine).

How did that happen?  Well, here's where the lessons in knitting come in:

Once you knit sleeve number 1 with specific needles, then do go ahead and knit sleeve number 2 with the exact self same needles!  It will save time and effort.  It will!

This is because:

  1. Even though short DPNs and long DPNs say that they are the same size does not mean they are
  2. Putting both needles through a needle gauge at the same size don't mean nuthin.
  3. When you find that one sleeve is way bigger than the other on the self same number of stitches: stop and think
  4. Instead of ripping back to the cuff and re-knitting the whole lot with less stitches: do check the cuff size against each other too.  This might just be a really good idea!
  5. Yes: when a sleeve is a different size with the same number of stitches as another sleeve, then the cuff with the same number of stitches as the other cuff is also a different size!
  6. And no: do not think that it'll be all right because a different number of stitches does indeed mean that you get a different result, only imagine!  What a surprise.
  7. And with all of the above having been said: do check the actual fabric you're getting by comparing what it feels like when you actually touch both sleeves!  You know: rub them a bit between your fingers - do the tactile thing.  Yes: the fabric you get with less stitches is lots thinner and even awfully more floppy than the fabric you get with more stitches!  D'uh!!

Longer DPNs on the left, shorter DPNs on the right


How could I?  I just kept on knitting, thinking: I am getting the same size now that I'm not increasing, I am, aren't I?  Surely it'll be all right?

Nooooo! It won't!!!  Don't be so daft.

I realised that I was getting knitted fabric where the stitches felt more 'spaced' out for want of a better word, and still: I kept on going!  I just don't believe myself.

Now, I am not convinced that those two kinds of needles really are slightly different in size - they are both supposed to be 2.5mm and seeing as the needle gauge also says they're 2.5mm I do tend to believe that they are.

But very obviously I am getting different results and the lesson has sunk in now: if you use short DPNs the first time round, then for God's sake: use the blasted things for the second sleeve as well!  What was I thinking?  Oh yeah: longer DPNs will mean that the stitches won't slip off the needles as easily as happened on the first sleeve.

Instead it might be a good idea to just use more of those shorter DPNs, I do have them after all (I like knitting two socks at the same time so I have two sets of most size sock needles). I wonder if the problem lies in stitches spacing out a bit more on longer needles?  Or the longer ones are indeed just a touch bigger?  At this thinness it could make a difference.  Regardless: I won't be making this mistake again.  I hope.

This is particularly galling because the front piece did not work out yet either.  I will blog this separately but I will have to rip this down quite a bit, or best yet like here: start over and keep comparing to the first version so I don't repeat my errors.

I am lucky that I have a tailor dummy in my measurements so I can pin a piece to it to check for fit.  No use for sleeves, but at least the re-doing of the front won't be a huge pain.

Having motored through the back in three days flat (including blocking! Wahey!) did set me up to think that this knit would be an absolute breeze.  Famous last words!

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