Monday, 26 September 2011

A tale of 2 underarms

Fooling around with patterns is required if I want things to fit properly and that is an interesting and continuing journey.

The Watershed and the Cerisara are great examples.

Cerisara, knit from the top down, was changed a lot at the underarms.  The directions for the size I knit for a good fit through my shoulders, said to cast on 13 stitches at the underarm.  I cast on 30.  BIG difference.  

I changed the number because though my shoulders might be relatively narrow, my chest is not.  I knew that if the numbers are not on the front and back of the knitting and I need them and don't want to play lace games, then the only place I have to pick them up is at the underarm.  As I found, it is a tricky thing.  My original cast on of 42, a number that was perfect for my gauge and the number of inches I wanted the sweater to be, led to saggy underarms.  My bodies depth could not support 42.  I had to opt for an open sweater - less inches than I wanted, but as an open garment, it seems to fit nicely.   On Cerisara, there are no increases in the lace section. I picked up all the stitches I needed for the 'skirt' fit after the stockinette section was begun.  

On the Watershed, I stuck with what the  pattern said. It is meant to be an open little coverup.  I didn't anticipate any fit issues so I set aside 12 stitches for the underarm.  I ran into the problem of having too many stitches to get rid of and not enough vertical room to do it in.  My measured length between shoulder and bust apex is an inch shorter than an average person and that inch is a lot of knitting space I didn't have.  Watershed turned out wider than ideal at the neckline.  In order to wear it so it looks nice, I have to fold the lacy collar over.  It still looks nice but it isn't the look I thought I would get.

The perfect place to have gotten rid of those stitches was at the underarm.  I could have avoided a too wide upper chest and collar, had I remembered the lessons learned in Cerisara and applied them.  In fact, I still might rip Watershed back and have the perfect sweater for the price of a days worth of work.

I took a class once.  I learned so much but it didn't answer every question.  I asked a question about underarm stitches and came away with the answer that more than 4 inches cast off is just never done - the fabric would sag.  I instinctively felt that something was missing.  It seemed too absolute.

I'm starting to understand the missing stuff.  On my body, more than 4 inches might be just the thing.  My bust and body depth will support more but there is a limit to it.

In a perfect world, I would know exactly what to do in a given situation, but with the vagaries of knitting and the impossibility of perfect worlds I suspect that it will be a lifetime full of lessons. And ripped back knitting.

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