Friday, January 27, 2012

Knitting help!

 I've been knitting away and finished a sweater. It's a 1930s sweater pattern from A Stitch in Time Volume 2.

It fits pretty well in the front. It's supposed to be a bit blousey and there's not shaping between the arm hole and the ribbing on the bottom.

But just like my last sweater, the back (and neckline) mysteriously grew when I blocked it. So I reblocked it and the back was smaller for about 5 secs then it stretched out again. This sweater is knit in three pieces and then sewn together so I'm seriously tempted to unsew it and unravel the back and knit it up in a smaller size. I really can't see myself wearing it as is. The neckline is huge and my bra straps keep peaking out. Plus if you look closely at my right shoulder, it's a slightly different color. I ran out of yarn had to go get more, but they were out of my dye lot and this was the closest match I could find. So if I reknit the back, I'd probably have enough leftover yarn to reknit that part of the sleeve too. And I could knit the neckline in a smaller needle to make it tighter.

*sigh* But that'd be a lot of work. Advice would be appreciated.

In other news, I have a Dressing Downton piece almost done and I'm itching to size up a pattern from The Edwardian Modiste (probably a chemise or slip to start with). And tomorrow is set aside for party dress sewing!

Have a lovely weekend!


  1. That does look awful big on you. I think knitting a smaller size, since you said you wouldn't wear this, might be your best option. And hey, who doesn't like to hear they have to do down a size?? :)

  2. I had the exact same problem with my Cadence sweater. After getting a couple of suggestions, I recruited my best friend, who is a crocheter, to knit a single row of crochet around the top of the neckline, through every other stitch of it, to tighten it up. (Figured I'd let the pro handle it!) It seemed to work pretty well-- I wore the sweater a second time after she did that, and I didn't have any trouble with it falling off my shoulders or the neckline creeping down! So that might be a good quick fix for you.

    1. Thanks for the tip. My Cadence also has the same issue and I think I'll try this on it!

  3. Crochet stitches would help to stabilize the openings for sure.

    I do have a few questions for you though before I jump to any conclusions...

    1.) What type of yarn did you use (weight, fiber content, brand)?

    2.) Did you knit this in the round or flat with seaming?

    3.) What is your blocking process?

  4. I see you knit it flat and then seamed it...

    I have another question for you...

    4.) What size needles did you use for the body and/or ribbing.

    1. 1) I used Stitch Nation by Debbie Stoller Full o' Sheep which is an aran 100% wool

      2) It's knit flat and seamed except for the neckline which is knit in the round.

      3) When I block, I let it soak in luke warm water with a smidge of detergent then rinse with cold water. Then I lay flat to dry making sure that the flat measurements are what I want or as close to as possible.

      4) The ribbing is knit in size 6 and the body is knit in size 10 needles.

      I did knit a swatch with the size 10 needles which gave the correct gauge after blocking.

    2. Perhaps I should mention that I seamed it before blocking. Not sure if that would make any difference.

    3. I don't think you did anything wrong if that's any comfort.

      When I wash my items I do it with something called "soak" in luke warm water. There's no rinsing required and you really don't even need to swish it around much (so it really prevents felting). Anyhow... when it's all wet I gently squeeze the water out when I have the piece in a big ball. And I gently transport it to a towel. I flatten it out a bit and roll it up in the towel like a big burrito to get rid of the excess water.

      Afterwards I just lay it flat on my couch, ottoman, ironing board (whatever surface is free) and reshape it gently.

      I always do my seaming after blocking my pieces and I block each piece after I knit it so I'm not waiting around for my knitting to dry at the end.

      When I block my pieces, I pin them out on my blocking board, them spritz them all over with water. Then I use the steam from my iron to block. I let the iron hover over with only 1/2 to 1 inch between the iron and the piece.

      I can think only one of three things happened.... You may have stretched out your piece in transport from the sink to your blocking surface, you may have blocked it too large, or you just knit it a size too big.

      Since you seamed it, you can do a few things.

      Take the seaming out and try reblocking it piece by piece. I block my pieces on a blocking board that has gridlines marked on it so I can be sure I'm blocking it out to the correct measurements. The ribbing sections are never supposed to be blocked (technically) so they remain as stretchy as possible.

      You can stitch it together as small as you need to make it to fit with your sewing machine using a small zig-zag stitch. And you can cut your inside seam allowance down to reduce bulk. (Craziness I know!)

      The last idea is risky, and I would try it out on your gauge swatch first... but you could try dampening your swatch lightly and throwing it in the drier at 5-10 minute increments to try and steam shrink it (without felting it).

  5. If you're only concerned about the back neckline gaping... I have some more thoughts for you. :)

    1.) You could just unravel the back neckline and knit it using a smaller needle size.

    2.) You could employ some sewing strategies like stitching on some elastic to help the neckline retain it's shape and stretch.

  6. Hum. I'm in no way an expert on knitting so this is me hypothesizing, but if you say that this exact same thing happened with your Cadence, too, it may be more of a size problem than a blocking problem? I'm thinking that knit top patterns may be sized for B cups similar to knitting patterns, so if you have a bigger cup size, the resulting garment may be a little tight in front (which in a loose style wouldn't be that apparent) and loose in the back. My take on a FBA in knitting would be to knit a size bigger for the front part and a size smaller for the back. Since the front fits you, going down a size for the back sounds like a smart idea, even if it is extra work... The front really does look good, though! :)

  7. Wow wonderful. You really got down to business this week. I am impressed! Great job!