I knitted up a storm on Monday night and got up to the armholes on Sweater #2, Arbor Rose. And for a moment it seemed as if I could finish the front by Wednesday. If I did this, I’d have to figure out the front neck edge on a weekday night, and plan out the sleeve shape. So I thought, if I could do something less challenging this week that contributed to my 12-sweater goal, I could save the planning for the weekend, when I had more time. This thought bordered on the delusional because it looks as if I will have to work for most of the weekend, and if there is free time at all, it must go toward ordering seeds, or there will be no garden this summer.
But rationality is seldom my strong suit at about 10 PM, so I decided to swatch for the Morehouse basketweave sweater on Tuesday. A few repeats into the swatch, I could see that the pattern stitch, which comprises a 13-stitch repeat, was going to be too big for me, although it didn’t look as if it would from the picture. I’ve been somewhat sensitive to patterns that are too big for my 5’ 3” frame after some disastrous early sewing efforts. I soon realized at about the tender age of 20, that I should pass up fabric with huge flowers, particularly when they end up positioned over my bustline. And although tall, slim people of Nordic descent looked terrific in the Marimekko prints that were so hot in the 1960s, I appeared to be wearing a giant lampshade. So as I plan a garment, I always consider how it will look on me. I want clothes to enhance my appearance, and I don’t want to be a rack on which a garment hangs. Despite my other lapses in judgment, I knew that the size of the basketweave pattern wasn’t going to work.
I turned immediately to my stitch dictionaries and found an equivalent pattern in the new IK Harmony guides—called “large basketweave”. So I immediately ripped the first swatch and started this pattern (the bottom one in the photo).
When I was done, I looked at it in the mirror and thought “hah, this is it”. In the harsh light of day, I was less happy. When I held it up to me, the pattern was too small. It wouldn’t show off the beauty of the yarn as much as it should in a sweater, and even plain stockinette would be better. In a Goldilocks moment, I decided I’d look for a “basket” that was not quite as big as the original and not as small as the swatch, and I found nothing. I did contemplate that I could use three vertical stockinette stitches instead of the four on the original and two on the swatch and see what I got. Last night was a success. The top swatch has only a 10-stitch repeat, and it does make a difference (I get 4 stitches to the inch). I’ve actually been interested in tinkering with stitch patterns to change their scale, but this wasn’t the point at which I intended to run this experiment. I plan to give this 10-stitch pattern another try, and separate the horizontal bands with another row or two of plain stockinette.
While I was rethinking the sweater design, I considered that the bound off edge on the first swatch looked better than the ribbing in the original sweater, and so I tried a few rows of reverse stockinette as a cuff and edge:
I prefer this finish to a ribbed bottom, cuff, and neck edge, I’m thinking that this sweater need not be boxy after all. Perhaps it should have some side shaping and more fitted sleeves. Consequently, what was supposed to have been a quick knit to get me a plush, warm sweater for next fall or winter has turned out to be a production, as usual. The swatches are being blocked so I can work out the measurements and body shaping. Some modification would have been necessary anyway because the pattern expects you to get 4 ½ stitches per inch and I get only 4. But all I have managed to decide right now is that I should get back to Sweater #2 and get it done.