Sunday, April 7, 2013

Heartbeat Redux

I wasn't sure I really wanted to post this, but just in case there is a lesson here for someone else...

Quite a while ago I knit this sweater, a design from Just One More Row.  I had some frustrations with it -- all concerning the fit.  It's actually a very easy sweater to knit.  Here's the deal -- this is presented as a pattern that can be made in any size, any gauge.  To quote the instruction booklet "This unusual sweater begins at the center neckline and is knitted out to any size.  Vertical side panels fine-tune the fit."  Yardage information is provided for knitting a yarn at 5 st per inch in sizes ranging from 32" to 64".  There is a photo of a cute little top, shown on a flat mannequin (uh oh, could that be a clue?). 

So, here's my beef:  Yes, you probably can knit this sweater to a circumference of 64".  But will it fit any other aspect of your body, without adaptation, except the circumference?  Will it look like the photo illustration?  Because here's the thing -- this sweater is built geometrically.  As it increases in width, it increases in depth.  Unlike most human bodies.  Those of you who sew, and wear larger sizes, may be nodding your head about now.  How often have you lamented the fact that sewing patterns are (mostly) graded this way?  Just because you need extra circumference doesn't mean you are also 6 feet  tall.  And just because you need extra girth you may not need the extra length between your shoulder and bust or waist.

The first time I knit this sweater I knit it with positive ease.  A family of four could have lived in it comfortably.  My mistake, and one I make frequently -- adding too much ease.  This version has negative ease.  Its total circumference is 36".   That's not tiny, but it's also not incredibly large, as modern chest sizes go.  And yet -- even at 36" -- it was way too deep at the neckline for (my) wearing comfort.  The designer suggests working additional neckline edging to counteract this problem.  My neckline edging is 4 times wider than that shown in the pattern photo.  Due to my narrow shoulders, I would really prefer it to be wider, but it was beginning to look disproportionate to me so I stopped.

So, what did I learn?  Besides the fact that once a design has slapped me around I should probably not ask for a re-match?  Well, I think I can reliably say that this design is probably not meant (as shown) for those of narrow shoulders and larger bust -- unless you like the look of a yoked sweater -- because that's how deep that neckband is going to be.  And if you need a sweater with a circumference  that's a bit larger?  Be prepared to do some adapting to fill in those front and back necklines.  Unless, of course, you like a navel-revealing look!

Sigh, when will I learn?

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