Thursday, September 6, 2012

Swatch this

I've been meaning to make Glade (Ravelry link) by Marie Wallin from Rowan magazine 40 which came out in 2006. I've made lots of things from this issue and I bought the yarn for Glade years ago so it was about time I started it.

Glade by Marie Wallin
It uses 3 shades of Rowan Tapestry, sadly now discontinued, and 3 shades of the ever popular Kidsilk Haze.  I was drawn to the ripply pattern and lovely muted shades.

I looked at versions completed on Ravelry and one thing was obvious - sizing was a huge issue.  Quite literally in fact!  So I did my first swatch with the suggested 4mm needles.  It was an inch too wide and the stitches were very loose.  I undid most of it before I thought to save it to show.

Then I went down to 3.5mm needles and the gauge was spot on with much better stitch definition and a firmer fabric.

So I cast on the required number of stitches for the back and as I did I kept thinking that there seemed to be an awful lot more stitches than I'd expected given a gauge of 27.5 stitches to 4".  So I did a few rows and then measured it - 22".  That would mean a lower edge measurement of 44" which is 8" more than my hip measurement so would be incredibly baggy.  

I checked the pattern for the final measurements in case I'd done something silly.  I was working on a size 14 as my bust measures 38" and the diagram showed 18.5" after blocking.  Something didn't add up.  I read through the pattern, had a look at Ravelry to see comments from others and then I suddenly noticed the shape of the diagram in the pattern - it was like a bell; wide at the lower edge and tapering gradually to the underarm.  

Ding dong!

As you can see, the width arrow doesn't go right across the bottom so the measurement is referring to the underarm measurement.

I hadn't spotted that on the photo (above) as it's taken from the side and it looks as if it goes in at the waist and then out for the bust.  It doesn't and I suspect that's one of the reasons some knitters have been disappointed with their finished sweaters.  That shape is not good on anyone with a larger bust.

So, I've reduced the number of stitches at the bottom and changed the shaping to go in a bit at the waist and then out for the bust.  Hopefully that will work.  The other thing I will do is reduce the length of the sleeves as even on the model they look a bit too long for my liking.

The moral of this story is to always do a gauge swatch and read the pattern all the way through before you start so you are sure it does what you want it to do.

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