Problem solving

You would think that after decades of knitting and ripping back pattern-related problems I would have developed a checklist of things to look at to make sure the pattern is correct. It must be that when I finish it all gets wiped from my mind. Last week the problems were solely mine. I was misreading and misinterpreting and the wasted time was all on me. This week, not so much.

I was five or six inches into the main body of the sweater (knit all in one piece) when I decided to make sure the width was correct. Regrettably, it was too big. By about 4 inches. Stop the knitting. Consult the pattern. Should have been suspicious when the specified finished sizes (in circumference) did not match the set of numbers on the schematic. But the schematic didn’t seem to show the button bands so I thought that was the discrepancy. Got out the calculator and did some simple knitting math: # cast on stitches for sweater body divided by gauge (stitches per inch) and I get the finished circumference specified in the beginning of the pattern (not the schematic). See the problem? Once I add the 1.5″ button band my sweater is 1.5″ wider than I expected. Which might have been OK except that I had to go up a size so it wouldn’t be too small for the intended wearer. She ideally wanted an in-between the two sizes circumference. What I had was too big.  So, rip back and start over.  Will be sending corrections to pattern writer as soon as I’m sure there aren’t any more.

And that checklist?

  • accurate gauge swatch
  • does # cast on divided by gauge = intended width of that piece?
  • Does my row gauge give me sufficient rows for shaping or do I need to recalculate the shaping frequency
  • After a few rows/rounds: COUNT!  Do I have the right number of stitches?
  • Now that I’ve knit for a while on a bigger piece, am I still getting gauge?

On the weaving side, I finished threading the plaited twill dishtowel warp.  I’ve just started the sample section.  The tie-up has me lifting 7 of the 8 shafts every other pick and when I try this I get all 8 and have to push one down.  That’s going to get old pretty quick so I’m going to flip the tie-up so I’m lifting one rather than 7 for those picks.  Need to do that and sample some more and then maybe I’ll be ready to start the towels.  It’s my first project with linen/cotton and I haven’t yet decided whether I like working with it.  Probably I’ll know by the end of two towels.


Had lovely sunshine yesterday and a high of 33 F.  Today’s high about 13 F and wind chill advisory for tonight/tomorrow of -40 to -30 F.


Author: Jennifer Kortfelt

Owner, Heron Pond Designs, a fiber and textile exploration.

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