Somewhere between the last sweater update and this one I’ve managed to finish both halves of the front, start a sleeve, and discover I’ve made a devastating stupid noob mistake. The mistake caused me to create extra wide ribs along the center front of the cardigan. Here you can see the top of the right front panel with the sleeve and neck shaping. That rib on the right edge (where the zipper will go) is supposed to be only four stitches wide:
The mistake came from knitting while sipping wine and watching Dr. Who in the evenings, this combination obviously does not serve me well. With some help from far more experienced friends I figured out that I was reading the pattern incorrectly.
This is something like the line in the pattern:
Row 1: P2 (4, 4, 6, 6, 8), [K3, P1] 5 (5, 5, 6, 6, 7)
times; [K2, P2] 5 (5, 5, 7, 7, 9) times; K2.
For the size I’m making I was reading the beginning to myself as “purl 2 four times”. I thought this was a complicated way of saying “purl 8″, but what do I know? I figured it was the standard way of communicating directions for different sizes. With that decided in my head I forged on, all the way through both front pieces before I discovered that mine was the only Ribby Cardi in the whole wide world with larger ribs at the center front. In fact I didn’t really suspect anything was wrong until I was getting ready to cast on for the first sleeve and my brain was getting bruised trying to figure out this line – P0 (0, 0, 0, 1, 1), which of course I was reading as “purl zero: zero, zero, zero, one, one, times.” But, my head screamed, zero multiplied by one is zero! The whole thing doesn’t make sense!
To recap. I was reading this:
P2 (4, 4, 6, 6, 8)
As though it were written like this:
[P2] 2 (4, 4, 6, 6, 8) times
I was probably further confused because cast on directions are written ever so slightly differently in the same format. Here is my confusing-making line and the same line written as though it were a cast-on line in the same pattern:
P2 (4, 4, 6, 6, 8)
CO 2 (4, 4, 6, 6, 8) stitches
For whatever reason that cast on line doesn’t confuse my poor little head.
And here is where we get to the grandiose demand. This little incident has made me feel quite sheepish and instead of laying that blame squarely on myself where it belongs, I hereby demand that we change all knitting pattern writing standards immediately and forever so that this:
P2 (4, 4, 6, 6, 8)
Will instead be printed out as this:
P 2 (4, 4, 6, 6, 8)
This slight change will save me from any further embarrassment. One teensy extra space makes so much more sense to me, and therefore to the rest of the whole world, and is therefore Law.
Calming down a little from my white hot desire to be the ruler of the universe I find that Knitty publishes such lines as P2[4, 4, 6, 6, 8] and peeking inside of Stitch ‘N Bitch I find it would be written p 2 (4, 4, 6, 6, 8). So, it might just be the way it’s written in this pattern that so managed to confuse me. And I would like to emphasize that, it wasn’t the fault of the pattern, it wasn’t the fault of the pattern writer, it was me. Me being a noob knitting her first sweater and being confused by all the parentheses, brackets and commas. Are there standardized pattern guidelines somewhere? Anyone know? In any case, it was the type of lesson that will render all further pattern reading crystal clear to me and I’m not unhappy I went through it. Learning things the hard way: the only way I know how.
There is no chance I’m going to rip out both center front pieces and start over. I think they’ll look fine. If they don’t, just don’t say anything about it.
Notes to (mostly) self:
– For all the parts around the neckline I’ve bound off using #8 needles, normal bind off. Would a tubular bind off be better, even though I’m going to be picking up stitches and knitting a collar?
– I had detailed notes about the 2×2 tubular cast on for the left and right front pieces which in light of the big, silly mistake above they are rendered moot. But for the record, for both sides I cast on the number of stitches and did p2, k2 to the end then p1, k1, and then started with directions for Row 1. I did the same cast on for the sleeves, again ending with a p1, k1.
– Further considering the big, silly mistake above: how in the world did I get the correct amount of ribbing and the correct number of stitches and still end up with one extra wide panel??
– I determined that what I would be doing most while wearing this sweater was sitting down – to eat, to sip coffee, to relax on a ferry. So I made the body as long as a sweater I own now. I did 103 rows before I started the armhole shaping and followed that for both front sides. I also decided to add two inches to the sleeves. While the prescribed way of adding sleeve length is at the part in the pattern that says something like “work until the sleeve measures so long” I want the length to be at my hands and I don’t want the increases to start too early, so I added two inches, 13 rows, before I started the increase rows.
– For the increases in the arms I’m doing make one left and right slant on the appropriate sides for knit ribs, and a simple bar increase for the purl ribs. I’m at the point in the knitting of a sweater where if I flub an increase I just keep going. If it were earlier on I would probably rip back, but now, eh. Besides which, I’m thinking ahead to a version knit in as many solid pieces as possible and I’ll save my perfection energy for that one.
– I’ve been leaving very long tails at the beginning and end of each piece, this gives me reassurance that if I need to rip out at least I won’t be running out of yarn.
– So far the back took two balls, and both the front pieces took one ball. In all three cases I have a small yarn balls worth of yarn left. At some point in the past I worried I hadn’t bought enough yarn so I have a total of ten balls of the Cotton-Ease. If the sleeves take four balls total, I might have gotten away with eight balls but I’m glad I bought more.
– I’m planning on doing a mock-length collar. I’m hoping the zipper will help it stand up.
– Hey, I might have this sweater ready to wear by October!