...became these three balls of Cascade Pima Silk again...
I have loved this pattern from the beginning, and decided to add it to my 2006 Spring/Summer Must Knits List. I am a loyal reader of Grumperina's blog, and truly admire her attention to detail. I have also knit the infamous Jaywalkers, and loved that pattern too. I know that her trademark is incredible attention to detail and commitment to get it right, so let me just say before I go on: the following blog entry in no way reflects on the quality and accuracy of the pattern as written. I am simply making minor modifications to make the garment using the yarn I want to fit the body I have.
I picked up the Cascade Pima Silk at Sophies last month and got down to swatching this week. Three or four needles and multiple flat and circular swatches later, I still wasn't really getting gauge. The pima silk is thicker than the Cathay the pattern calls for. I do love Cathay, and used it for my Fiery Bolero last summer, but I rarely re-use a yarn. Why reuse when there are so many others out there to love? And Pima Silk is truly worth your love. Soft to the touch, very even stitches, withstands a lot of frogging.
Taking a close look at the schematic and reading the pattern multiple times, I noticed that I fall between the sizes of this pattern. This sweater is supposed to fit snugly, and as I looked through the Picovoli Gallery and the KALs, I saw how many knitters said that they wished they had knitted it a little smaller.
So I dug out the calculator, and the knitting notebook, ready to recalculate, and then I decided to just knit the size I thought was closest with a needle that I thought was a little smaller than the one I'd need to get gauge, and, this being a top-down sweater, I would just try it on, and frog if necessary. I would obviously rather knit and frog half a sweater than re-do the math.
When I did finally get to a point that I could try it on, it was a little too big, and going down one needle size should be all I need to get it to fit a little snugger without being sausage-like. So, we have fix #1 -- adjust needle size down to get better fit.
I was actually relieved that it didn't fit, because there were other things that I wanted to change about this sweater -- like the picots, for example. The pattern calls for using a provisional cast-on, and sewing the picots down later. I do my picots as I go along (there is a good video of how I do it here), and could see that I would not be happy with the neckline on the finished object -- the picots were floppy and rolly, and no amount of blocking would keep the neck from rolling. So now we have fix #2 -- knit the picots one needle smaller than the rest of the sweater.
Is there anything more beautiful, anything that makes you feel more like a fancy-pants knitter than a beautiful raglan line on a sweater? This is not one of those raglan lines, so this, too, must be adjusted. Not quite sure what the fix is there, but have an idea...
Finally, the armhole was a little low, and I was definitely sporting a little bra-flash through the armhole. It will firm up a little when the picot trim (on a smaller needle) is added, and hopefully, my row gauge will tighten with the smaller needle.
So, Picovoli #2 hit the needles this morning. Will keep you posted!