There’s good news and bad news about this Tag Team Sweater Project. The good news: I get to knit with an amazing yarn I’ve never knitted with before. It’s Swans Island Pure Blends, undyed merino and alpaca, and it is heaven. It’s knitting up into a sleeve so luscious I can’t stop pausing to pet it and slip my forearm in there. The bad news: I don’t get to keep it! Anyway, here’s where things stand on my end:
You guys know I like to let the sleeve be my swatch, so I cast on the prescribed number of stitches on US6 and knitted the first cuff. My garter gauge for this puts the cuff at 8″ circumference instead of 8.75″, but Anna and I agreed that’s a good thing — especially with garter’s tendency to splay. So then I forged ahead into the stockinette on US7. Two inches in, it was abundantly clear I’m a tighter knitter than Anna and Carrie Bostick Hoge, whose pattern Lila is. The pattern gauge is 19 stitches per 4 inches. I was getting 21. Anna is getting 19 on 7s, and I’m now knitting loosely on 8s to match it. Interestingly, I thought the fabric was a little loose at 21 sts, but seems perfect at 19. Go figure.
So now I’m obsessing a little bit over sleeve length. The hardest part of a bottom-up sweater is getting the sleeves the exact right length. It’s always a bit of target practice: You’re knitting up to the underarm, but you don’t know exactly where that underarm will be. You’ve got a pattern schematic with a yoke depth measurement, but that depends on your row gauge matching the pattern’s row gauge. Thankfully, Anna and I are both matching row gauge here. So last night while she was trying to write her blog post and put her kids to bed, I was pestering her to measure a sweater she likes the fit of. (I wish you all could see this string of texts.) It had an armhole depth of 7 inches and a sleeve length of 18 inches. Since her row gauge matches Carrie’s, we can have faith that her yoke will match the pattern’s armhole depth of 7.25, which means I’ll knit her sleeves to 17.75. And hopefully that will hit the mark. I really don’t want to be responsible for her having a sweater with sleeves that are the wrong length!
Pattern gauge for Trillium is 20 stitches per 4 inches. Anna swatched and got 19 stitches on 7s and 21 stitches on 6s. My gauge for Acer using Shelter and 7s was 21 stitches, and I’m pretty reliable about that — see above, for instance — so we decided to knit this sweater at 21 stitches instead of 20. (For both sweaters, we’ll be knitting on different size needles to get the same gauge as each other.) The size we’re knitting is about 4 inches of positive ease on me, so there’s some wiggle room. And there’s always blocking.
I cast on my first sleeve as well, to make sure all is well at the outset as she’s starting on my body. And all is not well. This is the first time I’ve ever had the benefit of having tried on the sample garment before knitting from a pattern. Apart from the sleeve length (my arms are really long) I loved the way it fit. So I went into this thinking it would be a no-brainer — just knit the sample size and stick to the pattern. But the surprisingly big cast-on count got me scrutinizing the schematic after all. Turns out the cast-on count makes sense with the schematic: The pattern is for a 10.5″ cuff. But that’s not the sweater I tried on. My wristbone is 6.25 inches. You can see in this photo (and another taken that day) that no way is the cuff 40% bigger than my wrist. What gives?
There’s no problem adjusting the cast-on count for the cuff dimension I like, but it’s unsettling. If the sleeve cuff on the sample doesn’t match the pattern, does the rest of it? We shall see.
Meanwhile, there’s another matter on which Anna and I agree: This twisted broken rib is the slowest thing on earth! Dear Anna, let’s only knit 3 inches of it instead of 4 — deal?