The knitting gods have had another little joke at my expense. I started the week thinking that if I were diligent, I could have a Friday or Monday post called “One Sock, One Sleeve, and One Sweater”. In this post, I saw myself proudly modeling Liv and showing off my amazing progress on the other WIPs. And I’d declare that next week would be devoted to finishing sock #2 and sleeve #2. Rewind that scenario in your mind, because it isn’t happening.
The sock part looked on target after my knitting session on Monday evening. I fixed the gusset and got it to the point where I only have to pay modest attention to the pattern stitch to finish it.
Yesterday I was feeling uncharacteristically perky as I sat down to knit, and so I started the first red sleeve. After all, only a few rows needed attention. I had to count to see that I cast on the correct number of stitches. I don’t know how it is for you, but if I don’t count at least three times, there is a good chance I will have too few or too many stitches, and that results in some amazing swearing once I figure out that I’ve made this mistake. Then I have to increase the right number of stitches before switching from the cuff to the pattern. I usually get this correct because I do take the trouble to figure out exactly where I’ll put the increases and often sketch out the placement of the increases on paper. Then I have to set up the cable pattern. This can take one or more tries (it took two on this sleeve), but I’m willing to give myself a break and allow for a (minor) misstep—tinking a few stitches is ok, ripping the entire row isn’t. And so, it would be smooth sailing after that.
Well, it was smooth sailing until I looked at what I had accomplished before I headed for bed. My gauge doesn’t match the original sweater gauge. The difference is subtle, but it matters for the feel of the fabric and the size of the sleeve.
If I needed confirmation that I was knitting more loosely than I had in the past, this was it. I really can’t remember when I started this sweater. I know I haven’t touched it for two years, but it could be longer than that. There are things I did on it that I don’t do any more. When I attached the fronts and back at the shoulders, I saw that I didn’t hide the wrap on my short rows, and I had to knit across to do this. The side seam isn’t invisible. So the basic knitting took at some point in the past when I must have knit more tightly than I do now. Susan warned me that this could happen with knitting that you put aside for a while, and she was right. I don’t feel as if I’m knitting differently, and the stitches slide along on the needle as they always seem to. But the evidence is undeniable.
So what to do now? Swatch, of course. Tonight I’ll try smaller needles and different types of needles. While the swatches are drying, I’ll work on Liv’s sleeves. Perhaps I can have a “One Sock, One Sweater” post soon.