I didn’t realize I was almost done with the yoke by the time I finished auditioning my color combinations. Now we’re just flying along!
Remember I said that I hadn’t done a proper gauge swatch? Yeah, that. The stated gauge for this project is 5.5 sts/inch. Now that there was plenty of knitting on the needles, I could see that my gauge was varying between 5.5 to 6 stitches/inch, depending on which color work motif I was working. I was bouncing between holding both yarns in my right hand, and holding a color in each hand, depending on the motif, so that also added to my inconsistency.
I’m going to take a moment here to digress about color work yarn management, and yarn color dominance. You can put a color on each side of you, left and right, and pick up and drop each color as needed. Don’t twist them around each other as you work. This is how I teach my beginning color work class. Another option for yarn management is to carry a color in each hand, so you’re knitting continental/picking with one and throwing/English with the other. The third option is to carry two colors in one hand. Here’s how I carry both in my right hand. (I still can’t manage both in my left.) This is an old video, so it doesn’t address color dominance.
Yarn color dominance! For most knitters, the yarn coming from the left is going to be dominant in your knitting. It’s going to show up more because it’s coming from underneath the other color, which makes the stitch a tiny bit taller because it has to travel further to the needle. See how my white stitches look bigger than the green ones on the vertical stripes on the left, and vice versa on the right? So choose which color you want to be dominant in each 2 color section, and be consistent!
Okay, back to the sweater. I hadn’t washed and blocked a swatch, so that’s another level of the unknown. I’m guessing that the 6 sts/inch section (1×1 vertical stripes) will relax a bit when I wash and block the sweater, so that’s fine. If the piece is a little too narrow, I can block it a bit wider. If it’s a little too wide, I can block it a little longer, which will steal a bit from the width. It’s superwash wool, so it can be very stretchy when it’s wet, and I can play with all that. (This is a big experiment on my part; I’ll let you know how it turns out! You’re my companion in this adventure.)
Anyway, I had planned to work the body in just the Iris (light purple) color, but when I started knitting it that way, it was boring. And the fabric was so much lighter in weight than the color work yoke. So I’ve decided to put in the white flecks for interest. But not the dark purple ones, because they barely show up, so it’s not worth that effort. This all means I’ll have more plain Iris stockinette rounds, which is great for multitasking/reading while I knit.
But! When I checked my gauge on the plain stockinette, I was getting 5 sts/inch, which would give me a 44 inch sweater, rather than the desired 40 inch sweater. My options were to either go down a needle size or two, or to refigure the number of stitches in the body. Since I knew my gauge and liked the fabric with my current needles, I opted for THE MATH. Which wasn’t hard.
When dividing for the sleeves, I needed to make sure I ended up with 200 stitches (instead of 220) for the body. I could do this by casting on fewer stitches at underarm (3 instead of 9), and putting a few more of the yoke stitches into the sleeves instead of the body. Done.
Oh, one more thing? The pattern has the beginning of round set at the center back, so there’s a jog there. That’s kind of pleasing, in that it’s very symmetrical. I like symmetry! But I didn’t really like the jog being so visible. So I moved the beginning of the round to be on the back, where the sleeve division occurs. (So from the beginning of round it’s right sleeve, front, left sleeve, back, instead of beginning and ending in the middle of the back.)
The only thing I wish I had done differently would be to put one more plain round between the white flecks. But I’m not going back again.
Test knitter Ann’s Hopscotch
Onward! I’ll keep knitting, but first I need to get ready to publish my Hopscotch Scarf pattern tomorrow. I’m planning a class at Twisted with this pattern to teach syncopated brioche, and that class listing goes live tomorrow. I know what I’m doing this afternoon…