Thanksgiving Sweater

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

I began knitting my most recent sweater, Flax by Tin Can Knits, on September 12th.  It took 2 months + 2 weeks to the day as I feverishly knitted away these past few days hoping I would finish just in time for Thanksgiving dinner at 4 pm today.  I’m so glad I finished!

First, I’ll talk a little about the yarn used for the sweater.  This is Woobu by Blue Moon Fiber Arts in the colorway Pond Scum.  If Thanksgiving could be described by only one color, I would say this would be the color in my opinion. At first glance in the skein, it is very unassuming, but once it is knit up into fabric, it transforms into an entirely different look.  I like this sweater best with navy or medium colored blue jeans, but I think it would also look wonderful with hunter green, burgundy, and many other fall colors.  Anyone familiar with Woobu knows it comes with great yardage for the price – 620 yds. per skein! So needless to say, you can make a nice sized average adult sweater with only 2 skeins. That’s my kind of yarn.  More bang for your buck! I had 142 grams left to the second skein and figured out that I used about 850 yds. So, I still have about a little less than half a skein left.

Second, I’ll talk about the pattern.  Flax is part of Tin Can Knits free patterns that they offer. It is a very well written pattern.  But, you will notice my sweater is knit up differently than the way Flax is written.  I definitely didn’t intend for that but totally my fault because instead of paying attention to only making a center panel of garter stitch for the sleeves, I knit the sleeve caps in full garter stitch.  So when I determined that, I was at a bit of a standstill because I didn’t quite know what I wanted to do for the rest of the sleeve.  For fear that my arms would look too bulky, I decided to just knit the rest of the sleeve in stockinette stitch.  While I would have loved to knit the Flax the way it was written, once I realized my duh moment, it was too late and I had to make the best of it. And I can say I’m happy with my choice.

Next, I will talk about my lesson learned.  While this is my 5th sweater I’ve knit for myself this year..4 for me and 1 for my sister…I will say that this sweater enlightened me about gauge swatching.  Yes. Always make a gauge swatch for any garment that needs to fit you nicely.  What I learned was something very elementary when it comes to gauge swatching but what always confused me.  Since Flax calls for a worsted weight yarn and I was using a sport / light worsted, I knew my gauge was gonna be off right from the get go.  I was getting 22 stitches over 4 inches when the pattern gauge called for 18 stitches over 4 inches. I thought no big deal, if it’s a little big then great…if it’s a little small so what, it’s meant to be form-fitting.  Well….well…………..well.  Here’s where my kick myself moment comes into play.  When I measured the body, I got between 14-15″ across which converts to a 28-30″ bust. I’m 36″ across. Whoops.  I was able to quickly steam block it to a size 33/34″ so that it could be worn today.  I’m hoping that when I block it for real and soak it that it will block to a size 36″.

Big lesson learned- if you are getting more stitches per inch than the gauge, your garment will end up smaller because the stitches are smaller so you would need to go up in needle size.  If you get less stitches per inch, then your garment will end up bigger than intended because the stitches are bigger and therefore you would need to go down in needle size. I can’t believe I didn’t ever realize that!  But in my defense, a prior sweater was a custom fit sweater by Amy Herzog 🙂 so I didn’t have to worry about it and my summer short sleeve sweater I had gotten gauge on the first go around.  Another lesson I learned was that I need to pay better attention to the yarn weight the pattern calls for and use the same weight or at least do some math if I use a different weight of yarn.

Here is a great article that explains some of the above and hopefully can help someone in this predicament.

Now it’s time for me to start my Christmas knitting.  Luckily, I don’t have much to complete, but I will be returning to sweater knitting afterwards.

Happy Holidays!

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