Although I really love the Philosopher’s Wool yarn, the Fair-Isle design, and the colorway (dark jewel) of my Colour Your Own kit, there are things about the sweater shape that are less pleasing. I don’t like the oversize shape, and before casting on, I made some decisions on how I’d fix the sweater so that it would look better on me. I know it is going to be boxy, but the body and sleeves will overwhelm my frame.
The main issues for me are
The main issues for me are
- The blousy shape of the body
- The largeness (length and width) of the sleeves
- The size (length and width) of the cuffs
- The neck shaping
One reason the sweater seems to billow out in the body is that the ribbing is only about 70 percent of the body circumference. That makes the ribbing pull in, and after increasing for the body you get a very blousy shape. So one very simple fix is to make the ribbing about 90 percent of the body stitches, which is what I usually do when I design my own sweaters. The ribbing is then only slightly smaller than the body and it doesn’t cause gathers in the fabric when you increase for the body stitches. (This percentage, by the way, conforms to EZ’s, although she gives an 80 to 90 percent range.)
As for the overall size, I have a finished sweater that fits as I’d like the PW sweater to fit. It is a sweater by Nancy Bush that I knitted some years ago out of Rowan’s Magpie (discontinued).
Over the weekend, I took out that pattern, which was in IK Fall 1997. I copied the schematic three times. On one schematic, I wrote down the Colour Your Own sizing; on a second, I wrote down the sizing I got from knitting the Nancy Bush sweater; on the third (which I’m calling “Colour Your Own Modified”), I wrote down the measurements I’d like to get for Colour Your Own. I would like it to be a little shorter than the Nancy Bush sweater.
The instructions for Colour Your Own have no schematic, and I find it almost impossible to knit without one—so I’ll be using the Modified version as my schematic. The brown sweater is not a perfect substitute for Colour Your Own because the one-color knitting stretches more than the color knitting, so I’ll tweak the actual schematic as I get a sense of the actual gauge on the sleeves.
For now, I’ve focused most on the sleeves because I’m in the process of knitting them. Because I have skinny wrists, I changed the 11-inch cuffs (cuff circumference) to 8 inch cuffs. I also don’t like rolling up my cuffs, and so I’ve knit only 2-inch cuffs (depth) rather than 4-inch cuffs.
To keep the sleeves from billowing out, I spaced the decreases further apart. Initially I thought I’d space a pair of increases every 6 rows not every 4, but it turns out to be much easier to increase on the many rows of just one color, so my true increases are just an approximation of this spacing. I also will have the top edge of my sleeve as 17 to 18 inches rather than the “18 to 20” in the pattern. I don’t think the shorter armhole length will matter that much.
I’m also concerned about sleeve length. Here the fix also will be easy. The sleeves on the brown sweater are 16 inches long, but the sleeves in the Colour Your Own instructions are 18 to 19 inches long. I worked out the number of rows I get for 16-inch sleeves, and it comes to 84 rows. The instructions want you to end with Band A, which is the same as the motif over the cuff.
So I’ll stop work on the sleeve when I’ve knit about 13 or 14 inches on both sleeves. I’ll then work on the body, even going so far as to complete the steeks and neck and then fit the sleeves so I know exactly how long they really should be. At that point, I’ll finish off the sleeve motifs.
That leaves the neck as a potential problem, and I will not deal with it now. I think I will want to do it like the neck on Sirdal, and so it is time to devote more time to it. The Colour Your Own instructions seem to have you machine stitch and cut away the excess fabric, and I don’t think I want to do this. I think I want to steek the neck as on a traditional Fair Isle. In any case, I have not studied the neck directions, but I know I need more skill for this modification.
So for now, my nightly knitting is set—Colour Your Own Sleeves and more work on Sirdal. We had two ridiculously warm, summerlike days this week, and I didn’t want to touch either project. This preview of summer weather made me appreciate the need to get both of these done before summer is here to stay.