Knitting in public poses a dilemma for me. I feel incredibly lucky to be a member of a group of interesting and passionate knitters who meet weekly and a group of library knitters who meet once a month. I enjoy sharing advice and tips and the general conversation about all sorts of topics. But these sessions require a particular kind of project. It has to be easy enough for me to knit it while not paying complete attention, and I have to know what I want to do. Therein lies the complication.
I designed my no-name jacket specifically as a knitting-in-public project, and it worked for a while. The stitch motif is ridiculously easy (two rows of ribbing punctuated by two rows of reverse stockinette), and I did not want to attempt to shape a sweater using yarn as heavy as this. I wanted a roomy jacket to wear over a shirt or blouse, so the body is just rectangular. But there have been instances in which I did have to pause and work things out. The pockets were one such diversion.
Before a session at the library when I was up to the sleeves, I wrote down what I thought would be the decreases for a fitted sleeve. This did not seem particularly complicated because I have another sweater with approximately the same measurements, and I could just (or so I thought) “wing it.” Somehow while winging it at the library, I lost count on Sleeve #1 (you could see that coming—right?). But rather than work out what I had done, I just plunged ahead. I should get someone to stitch me a sampler that says, “plunge blindly ahead now, frog later.”
The sleeve turned out to be a bit trapezoidal, and close to raglan shaping.
I wasn’t happy about this, but I thought, “Hey, I can ease this into the armhole, and everything will be ok.” Well, that bit of logic didn’t exactly work out either. I didn’t try to get it to fit in the armhole because another problem arose when I tried to get Sleeve #2 to match it. I knit what I thought I had written down, and Sleeve #2 didn’t match Sleeve #1. I ripped it and knit what I thought I ought to have written down. Still no good.
So true to my fashion, I ripped out everything (Sleeve #2’s cap and Sleeve #1’s cap) and started over.
While I was on my unintended blog hiatus, on one of those rare instances when my old Mac cooperated enough for me to do some web surfing, I came across this book.
It was described in a blog post (now lost from my computer forever) showing elegant shoulder decreasing—like that on an expensive cashmere sweater. And I thought, "Ooh, I've got to learn to do that."
The book is out of print, but available from used booksellers, and I borrowed a copy as an interlibrary loan just to be sure the $30 would be worth it. And oh is it. This book describes mathematically every bit of flat sweater designing anyone is likely to want to do. If you are as much of designing nerd as I am, you’ll find it irresistible. It complements all my other sweater design books and is a huge star in my personal knitting library. I’ll continue to sing the praises of this book in future posts, but for now, I just checked the fitted sleeve shaping discussion and used it to respace the decreases.
Sleeve #2 now looks like this.
This is much closer to the shape I really want in a fitted sleeve. And after last night’s session at the library, Sleeve #1 now matches it. So I’m on to the fronts to complete the neck shaping.