Saturday, September 24, 2016

Work In Progress: Sweet Jane Pullover

Brief check in. This week has truly kicked my ass and, as usual, it's couch-lock time for Krissie. I'm really looking forward to having some bandwidth again, if only to move the crafting yardstick forward. Sure, it's not like I need anything new - and I've even knit up many Xmas gifts to date - but I feel so lackluster without a project to engage with. In truth, I have 2 projects - the second sock in a pair (never have I stalled on a second sock - and this is circumstance, not aversion) and the Sweet Jane pullover - which is a lot of freakin' stockinette (albeit in the round). I've never made a non-fitted sweater before (much less an A line one) and, man, it takes a lot of extra work (and yarn) because the whole thing is, well, bigger. This one's being knit with sport-weight, so it's not exactly quick - nor is it stupidly slow as it would be were I using fingering-weight yarn. I'd show you where I'm at, but it's utterly boring to view a stockinette sweater in process... Imagine a sleeveless shell widening slightly under the bust. In grey. Instead, here's a photo of the designer's finished work:

Sweet Jane by Amy Miller
Of course, I've had to go totally off road with my version of this sweater because I did not even come close to getting gauge. Pattern calls for a US5 needle and I'm using a US2 - and my fabric is still 3/4 of a stitch per inch bigger than the pattern calls for (that makes a big difference over 38") and half a stitch off per inch, in row gauge. There's an argument to be made that this sweater is not for me, given that I cannot begin approximate the size range using the recommended weight of yarn - on any needle.

Here's the thing, though. I just sucked it up and redid all the math. (Note: Simply making a smaller size was not going to work because even the smallest size, as instructed, would produce an end product that's too big.) I knit 4 swatches, decided which fabric I preferred, and then started taking notes. Mercifully, it's not like I have colourwork or cables to concern myself with.

And, natch, this is one of those sweaters wherein row (vertical dimension) gauge really matters because the hem is asymmetric and you need to start it in the right place. Not to mention that the sweater is loose under the bust, and then widens as it moves towards the hip. To mess up gauge at the bust - vertical or horizontal - would produce a really bad fit.

Why am I knitting a sweater when I've said, numerous times in the last year or so, that I'm done with this form of hand-knits, that I prefer slim, machine knits in luxe yarns?

Well, I'm a knitter, and when a pattern calls to me I throw caution to the wind. If this sweater works (and I've lived long enough not to get overly attached), I'll have a totally fun tunic to wear with skinny jeans. Moreover, I'm unhappy with the fitted sweaters I've made in part, I'm sure, cuz they really don't work optimally with my current, transitional mid-section proportions. Lately, I choose garments to show off my shoulders, arms and legs and this does fit the bill, no?

Curious to know your thoughts about this pullover? I find it rather modern, almost RTW (in a plush way). Do you like it? Does it bore you? Would you knit it? Let's talk!


  1. I've decided not to knit any more fitted, fingering weight sweaters that I think will work for work, as I don't get much use from those, verses store bought, machine knit sweaters. But the thicker, unfitted weekend sweaters I've made are enjoyed. I think the one you are making was a good choice.

  2. I'm so glad to hear this perspective. The handknits I wear (other than the accessories) are the vests and shawls (weird patterns) that can act as top layer sweaters. They tend to have asymmetric or interesting things going on. I'll keep you posted on whether this new approach to sweater-making works for me...

  3. Oh, I hear you. I can't say it's interesting. But it's good for watching Netflix simultaneously :-)