- That gauge swatching with ruthless honesty is really important.
- That wet blocking is miraculous enough to stretch a sweater from size 33" to size 37".
- That stretching wool like this in blocking gives it a weird drape and no bounce.
- That none of these things matter when you have knit your first adult-size sweater, and you are just blissfully happy to wear your handiwork to school.
I discovered after seaming up my Bristow that what looked like it was going to be too small really was too small. As in, the size a twelve-year-old might wear. I also discovered the source of the problem: although my gauge swatch seemed to be knit at a tension of 4.5 stitches per inch, the finished sweater turned out to be knit at 5.5 stitches per inch. In retrospect, this was probably the case with the gauge swatch too, I just didn't want to admit it. So that meant that what was supposed to be 18" across the back turned out to be a little less than 16" across the back.
I resigned myself to ripping it out, but decided first to block it and see how big I could make it with stretching. The answer: it is now actually a little too big. I am going home tonight to re-block it and stretch it a little less -- which would be a good thing, because stretched as it is across the upper back right now, it's actually looking a little threadbare, and I'd like those stitches to plump back up and fill in the gaps. This is, admittedly, both a mean way to treat your fiber and a poor solution to the problem, but I don't really care. It's still significantly nicer than anything I have knit before, and I kind of like the fact that it isn't just perfect.
Oh, and another thing I learned: don't let your student photograph you outside in -20 F windchill, unless you want to look like a walrus with a weird hairdo:
Pattern: Bristow, from Knitty, size S (and then super-small with the blocking debacle)
Debbie Bliss Merino DK, color 202, overdyed with orange Kool-Aid
Size 4 and 7 Knitpicks options needles
Project started February 8, 2007
Project completed March 3, 2007