Sunday, April 19, 2015

Swatching and thinking…

Sometimes I think I spend as much time thinking about knitting sweaters as actually knitting sweaters. I have to keep reminding myself that I knit quite a lot of socks before I understood fit well and nailed it almost every time. (I just peeked at Ravelry and OMG I have knit 136 pairs of socks!!!)

IMG_5634I bought a swatching skein of Quince & Co. Chickadee while I was at Twisted in Portland last month. This is 100% American wool in a springy, tight-twist sport weight. I knew that S1 wanted her next sweater to be in a skinnier-than-worsted yarn, so this was a good contender. Plus, it comes in 55 colors! This one is Malbec.IMG_5834It knits up beautifully. I washed and measured the swatch, and put the numbers into the CustomFit website. Once S1 decides what her next sweater will be, I’ll be ready to match pattern to swatch to measurements and generate a pattern.

First, though, I want to take care of another knitting request. When I was home last Christmas, my mother asked me to knit her the Sebasco vest. Some of her friends have it and she likes it. When I realized it was available as a CustomFit pattern, I printed out a measurement sheet and took her measurements. The original pattern calls for Berroco Ultra Alpaca, a 50/50 wool/alpaca yarn in worsted weight. That will be entirely too warm for my mom in Texas, so from the beginning I thought about subbing yarn. For a while I thought I’d use Shelter. But when I saw how beautifully S1’s Cushing Isle sweater was wearing, I thought about using Silky Wool. And when Silky Wool went on sale at the WEBS Anniversary Sale again, it seemed like a sign. I consulted with Mom; she selected a few colors she liked: Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool - 56Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool - 58Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool - 83

Then I took a look at the measurements I made in December. That’s when I started to pull my hair out. Given how different my initial measurements were from the Twisted version, I distrusted the ones I took of mom. I checked the CustomFit website to see if I could send her to a CustomFit LYS to be measured… but alas, in Texas the only two shops are in Midland and Katy. Not convenient to Georgetown at all.

So I went to Plan B, which was to forget about CustomFit. Sebasco was available as a regular pattern before it was added to CustomFit, and I had a copy of it (my mom’s friend gave it to her). I tried to do the usual math magic I do when I’m subbing in a yarn with a different gauge than the one in the pattern. The only problem was that I needed something between two sizes that were pretty far apart, and the lengths didn’t add up right at all.

Then I went to Plan C, which was: TOTALLY MAKE IT ALL UP. More specifically, I looked at 3 sets of CustomFit numbers. I considered the difference between my first numbers and my Twisted numbers, and then I (sometimes) adjusted mom’s numbers to make a 4th set. Mostly I changed the upper torso and the armhole to waist and hip measurements. I took a deep breath, plugged the numbers into the website, and generated a CustomFit Sebasco pattern. Then I ordered 5 skeins of yarn. (I picked the green, because I love that kind of green.)

Then, because the pattern says that the Daisy Stitch border needs to be worked on larger needles than the rest (in stockinette), I grabbed some of the Blackcurrent Silky Wool I had left over from S1’s sweater and swatched: IMG_5838That daisy stitch is a bugger to work. It looks nice, but what a pain!!! Again I questioned the wisdom of continuing with this project. But I will forge ahead. Both swatches use a US 4 on the stockinette. The one on the left is a US 6 on the daisy, and the one on the right is US 7. I’m going with the US 7.IMG_5842 I can’t help but notice that not a ton of people have made this pattern in Ravelry. And many of them complain about how hard the daisy stitch is to work. Wish me luck, people.


  1. If anybody can make this Sebasco work, it's you. I do wish you luck and will watch your progress (with a bit of trepidation and nail-biting). 136 pairs of socks - wow!!!

  2. Don't worry. You'll get through this -- fresh as a daisy stitch! I like the green, too. And 136 pairs of socks? That's insane. And of course, I just had to check. 38. So you have to stop knitting socks now while I knit another 98 pairs to catch up. Put the needles down NOW!