Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Knitting Lessons

I am knitting a sweater for my oldest. It was originally planned for a birthday present, but is now online for Christmas (I hope!).

It's a cardigan from a 1999 Knitters Magazine. I really like the style of the pattern. See all the neat little stitch patterns? They are easy to do and look so nice in the picture!

Do you see any such stitch patterns in my work? Hmm. That's why this post is titled "Knitting Lessons". I'm learning a lot about knitting. Lesson #1 is stitch definition. There is no stitch definition in the biggest piece in the picture--it is knit on US7 needles. The middle piece, on US5's is better, but it's not until I used the US2's that the piece started looking, and surprisingly, feeling, like a sweater. (My photography skills leave a lot to be desired here. There really is stitch definition in the small swatch!)

One of the reasons why this sweater wasn't finished in time for the birthday was a concern about sizing. The big piece of knitting on the right is not a swatch. I was knitting the sweater and the body is halfway done. I got to looking at it and realized that it might be too small.

Lesson #2. Body measurements are not always the same as finished sweater measurements. Knitting Daily (www.knittingdaily.com) had some great comments about ease--positive and negative ease--in sweaters. I had inadvertently forgotten to allow for ease in this sweater! The big piece is headed to the frog pond.

Since I was going to redo the knitting anyway, I decided it worth my while to do a better job at swatching. I did swatch before...but I think I knit a sample on the US7's and said,"Oh. That will work!" and started knitting. This time, I want stitch definition. I want this sweater to feel comfortable cozy! I want the finished project to be worth the amount of time I'm about to invest in it! I think I've set myself up to do a cardigan on size 2 needles!

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