My project in question is the Blanche Too sweater by Susan Crawford:
I started it at the beginning of January, after the hideous, Xmas gift rush, and I have to say, it's not so fun.
For starters, though I may have said that I wasn't going to worry about fit, that I'd knit the pattern as written, I am apparently incapable of doing so. Truth is, I'm all too aware that my high-hip to waist span is short, that between my torso and base of the underarm, I require more length to serve (in the finished product) as depth.* I also know I need a shorter-than-average length from underarm to top of shoulder, where I am quite short. If you add to this the fact that I rarely get gauge (and certainly didn't with this project) - vertical OR horizontal -there was a lot of mathy thinking to do, even if it didn't amount to crazy alterations in the long run.
Moreover, the project is largely worked in stockinette stitch, knit in the round, and man, it's been boring. (Oh, and it's a bottom up knit so there's been no easy way to try for fit as I've knit.)
Having said all this, that's not even what really kills my buzz for this project.
What really kills my buzz is how mediocrely the pattern has been written. Frankly, and surprisingly, I feel the instructions are sub par, especially given the designer's reputation. Here's the thing: She provides directions for knitting this garment flat AND in the round, all in the same pattern, which does seem like a great idea.
Alas, the in-the-round instructions are an afterthought (perhaps unsurprising as author, Susan Crawford, is a vintage knitting specialist who values the art of seaming finished, flat pieces as in days of yore). Ironically, I can get with seaming. If I'd known how meh the in-the-round instructions were going to be, I'd have gone with the flat pattern instructions.
Furthermore, knitting this "in the round" amounts to knitting the tube of the body, to the armscye, and the tubes of the lower sleeves, to the sleeve head, in the round. (Note that, eventually, in both sets of directions, one picks up and knits the neckline detail.)
However, you still end up knitting your sleeve heads flat. You still end up knitting the armscye to shoulder "straps" flat. You still have to seam in the freakin' sleeves. Um, I appear to have saved myself mattress stitching 2 side seams (easy work, btw) for the pain of spending two hours trying to figure out where the in-the-round instructions merge with the flat pattern instructions.
See, it hasn't actually been clearly delineated where one - considering the flat pattern instructions, and having theretofore worked in the circular version - is meant to begin. And it's not particularly intuitive, though the two sentences provided on the topic would lead you to believe that it must be. At very least, would it have killed her to actually restate the flat pattern language, in the appropriate places, within the circular instructions?
As it is, it's only because I've gotten cozy with the math - and I've made many sweaters - that I have any idea of what's going on. Here's hoping I can finish this garment this weekend, if only to be done with it (and, optimistically, to have a new, fitted sweater from which I will get a lot of use).
Has any of you attempted this sweater? Thoughts or feelings? Positive vibes? Let's talk!
*On the topic of adding this extra length versus short row bust darts, the fact is that I'm too narrow in the torso for the bust darts to be of much use. When I add them, invariably the whole sweater gets too big. I find, and here's hoping the theory holds, that an inch of extra length from waist to armsyce tends to do the trick.