Miracle #1: I made a new swatch using smaller needles and I got gauge for the pattern! This takes some guess work out of choosing which size to make. A few people including Bonne Marie Burns (thank you Bonne Marie!) left comments suggesting I try smaller needles and I don’t know why I didn’t do that first, before I did a whole lot of math. I’m now using size #4 and #5 circulars to make the sweater.
Miracle #2: The knitting shop exchanged some circular needles. I first bought Crystal Palace circulars in #5 and #6 (the pattern calls for two size needles). The size 5 were sticking at the rotating joint. I phoned the store to see if anybody else had reported this trouble as I couldn’t find anyone online having it, and they said they would exchange them, so I threw in the request to exchange the as-of-yet unused size 6 while I was at it. And they agreed! They even checked to be sure my new pairs were working correctly before I left.
Ok, those weren’t miracles so much as exaggerations of small happy things.
Next came testing out casting on. The pattern calls for both 2×2 rib and 3×1 rib, which creates an odd number of cast on stitches for the back (the first piece I’ll be doing). Tubular cast on, which I’m using, calls for starting with half the number of stitches. When you’re casting on odd number you add one, then half that number. You deal with the extra stitch at, uh, some point. I figured that in my pattern at the point that I switch from 3×1 rib to 2×2 rib I have one stitch to deal with, one stitch that won’t allow me to just do a 2×2 tubular cast on all the way across. I did a test swatch and found that if I just added a third knit cast on stitch at the at point it would work out fine:
When I did the swatch I completely forgot to deal with the very last knit stitch I’m supposed to knit into from the bottom (as explained in this tutorial, picture #7). It doesn’t seem to be unravelling so I called it a solution to the extra stitch.
I went ahead and cast on using the #4 needles:
I have not clipped out the initial stitches yet, I’m sort of afraid I’ll stretch out the hem prematurely.