Knit Meter

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Are Sweaters Knitted From The Top Down A Bad Idea?

Yes, according to two popular designers and YouTubers. I watched their video as I was interested in what they had to say. Although there has been plenty of disagreement with what they had to say, early into the video they say “if it has been badly constructed”. But not enough was said throughout the video that not all knitted from the top down garments are created equal. I agree that the myth that top down sweaters are easier to try on for fit is just as much nonsense as toe up socks are easier to try on for fit.

Firstly, an unfinished garment does not have the same fit as a finished one and a top down garment will lack the weight of the finished item to judge fit. With either construction you can try on to see if it is too small or too big but the just right factor will be a little more elusive. I disagree that short rows are not necessary – as the back of the sweater will automatically adjust to be higher – this doesn’t happen. Is it a female thing? Anyway, there is nothing wrong with adding short rows to produce a good fitting garment.

The video goes on to explain the problems with top down sweaters, especially around the armholes but didn’t explain what the problem really is – hint – top down sweaters aren’t to blame.

The issue could be with the designer or knitter or both. Yes, dear knitter, it could be you. What happens if you get stitch gauge but not row gauge? Ignore it and carry on. That’s fine for patterns with no shaping and say work to a certain length but what about those items with regular increases or decreases? Suddenly your item is a weird shape. So with a raglan sleeve where the designer has decided that the increases should be every inch and the gauge is 28 rows, the increases would be carried out every 7 rows but if your gauge is 24 rows and you increased every seventh row, your increases would be more than 1-inch apart and your increase area would be longer.

Did you swatch? Truthfully? And you soaked and blocked it? So how on earth do you know if you’re anywhere near gauge or if you like the fabric? Are you prepared to rip out and start again? Having said that, gauge swatches do not tell the full story.

You’ve done your work, has the designer done theirs? How does the item look in pattern photos? Any areas covered up, model standing in a strange way, some parts not shown? These will hide a poorly fitting garment. Look closely, is this a style you will wear or do you just want to knit it or think it will be fine once it’s finished? There is nothing wrong with knitting something just because, just know that in advance.

Surely if the pattern has been published it must be OK. Um, no. How many patterns are there for oversized sweaters? Whether slightly loose or really baggy or the designs where you raise your arm and the body of the sweater rides up. Is this intentional or lazy designing. I feel that there are too many patterns out there that are written by knitters not designers. They understand their own body but cannot adapt for other sizes.

Also a published pattern does not mean a well written pattern. Has it been test knitted or tech edited.

So, no, sweaters knitted from the top down are not inherently bad but poor design is.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

My Second Oldest WIP

I feel like I will be writing that quite often as I am currently not working on my oldest WIP. It is a round shawl and I am working a knitted on border with beads; so it is fiddly. I have put it to one side for the time being and it is likely to be the last of my 2019 projects that I work on. It is my only project that is more than a year old and I’d like it if I could complete all my other projects within a year of starting. Which could prove interesting as a couple of my projects are not much further than cast on.

This year I had three plans for my yarn:- use the yarn I purchased in the closing-down sale, (I have shown a completed project and there are two more on the needles); finish WIPs, (2 down and about to show another); make for charity, (last month was the only month that I didn’t even attempt anything).

This project I started on vacation last year and then didn’t work on it again until March of this year when it was it’s time. There was no reason for not working on it except I had designated it a vacation knit, but I decided not to wait for a vacation to work on it as who knows when we will be able to go away. The yarn is one of my oldest yarns, a tencel yarn from Teresa Ruch Design with a lovely sheen.

The pattern I chose was Crystal Helix, written for one skein of fingering weight yarn, so, of course, perfect for two skeins of double knitting weight yarn. The pattern includes beads but there is absolutely no need to add beads to this shimmering yarn. The pattern is written for 130 rows but I managed 190 rows from my two skeins. I thought I had plenty of yarn for bind off but this didn’t prove to be the case and I had to be creative at the end. I have found that if I double yarn on shawl bind offs the edge is quite stretchy. This is what I did for this project, also I did not add beads to the bind off but I did do the picot part. With hindsight I could have gone down a needle size or two and still have had nice bind off. I finished with about two inches of yarn left which is really only an inch when doubled. But the “design elements” at the end are not noticeable and I love the end result. Bonus – it does not need blocking and I took photos.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

First of the Sale Yarn

Last year, I wrote about buying yarn in a going out of business sale and posted pictures of what I had purchased. For some reason I only showed what I had bought on the first trip and not on the subsequent trips. I went a second time with a friend when they had reduced to the biggest percentage and the third trip was to see what they had left on their last day.

My criteria for purchasing in this sale was that I had to have an idea of what I was going to make with the yarn I purchased. No buying because I liked it and then it sits in my stash until I give it away.

The last purchase was some Noro yarn (Noro Silk Garden Lite) to make a skirt. I have already made two Lanesplitters out of different Noro yarns and purchased what I thought would be enough yarn to make a third. Of course, this didn’t allow for me changing my mind when it came time to cast on.

My goal for this year is to knit the yarn that I purchased in the sale, so when I finished the gift knitting I started the skirt. As I said I decided not to make another Lanesplitter and chose instead Entrelac Swirl. I had seen this on display at Stitches SoCal. I think this will be another skirt pattern that I will make more than once as it will look different in different yarns. (Just make sure I buy enough next time – more on that later.)

As the Noro yarn is rather rustic I used some left over sock yarn for the waist band. The skirt is then knit in columns of entrelac squares. I made much fewer squares than the pattern which is very easy to memorize. And then – I ran out of yarn. As I was getting closer to the end I had a feeling I was not going to have enough yarn; I was obsessively weighing after each column. Luckily, a friend had bought the same yarn and as I needed only a small amount (5g as it turned out) she let me have some of hers.

I used a fine sock yarn for the seam and decided not to finish the bottom edge.