Friday, April 25, 2008

need fashion advice

I decided to knit the Gathered Cardi the moment that another shopgirl gave me permission. :) Ok, maybe I sort of knew all along that I wanted to knit it. I really like the pattern, but since it's so similar to the Patti cardigan I just finished a short time ago, I didn't want to put my heart and soul into this one. So I grabbed some Lion Brand Cotton Ease (actually, I really enjoy knitting with this stuff) and my size 8's and got to work on what I thought would be a quick, painless project.

I mentioned in my previous post that I made a slight modification to the sweater already. Not to the design, so much, but to the technique for creating the gathering. In the magazine photo, the bodice of the sweater seems to spread out where it meets the gathered portion of the body. I was definitely not digging this. So to create a nice, crisp line between the smooth portion of the cardigan and the gathered portion, I decided to bind off the stockinette stitches between the seed stitch borders (on the WS row right before the increase row) and then picked up AND increased the stitches at the same time to create the gathering on the RS row. It was indeed painful. It killed my hands. And it took forever. But it worked like a charm! I have what looks like a nice, neat seam and the gathering looks perfectly bunched. At this point, I strongly suspected that perhaps I was a genius. So off I went, knitting over the 300-some-odd stitches for the body. Heh, so much for quick. And so much for genius...
I also mentioned before that due to my laziness and arrogance (a lethal combination) I didn't do a gauge swatch. Sure, I glanced at the measurements, and I know I always knit a little tightly, so I took that into consideration, but it's not like this cardigan is fitted, by any means, and I did make sure to try it on after finishing the increases for the armholes. I mean, it's knit top-down for crying out loud---what could possibly go wrong?!

Well. Even though I tried it on to make sure it fit (which it does), I was not paying attention to where the gathered seam hit on my body. In the magazine photo, it looks like it's supposed to hit below the bust, although it's hard to tell on that model, since the cardigan looks too big on her to begin with. But the gathering will hit me above that point, since I did the gathering right after connecting the armholes. I should have done some more stockinette at that point, but I didn't. Instead, my brain (the non-genius part that's full of yarn) said, "YAY the armholes are the right size let's get going and knitknitknit so we can finish this thing and wear it nownownow!!"

I have seen garments which are seamed this way intentionally, and I even like the way they look, but I'm not sure how that style might look with a handknit garment. Or on me. And after the trauma of my little bind-off-then-pick-up-and-increase stunt, I do NOT want to rip back. Ideally, I would be able to achieve the correct measurements by blocking the heck out of this thing, but then I run the risk of getting the gathered seam almostbutnotquite in the right spot, which could look worse. (How much does cotton grow when you're blocking? Do I have a prayer?) My other option is to do some deep yoga breathing and just make peace with the seam hitting across the upper chest rather than under the bust. I don't know what to do. And I already have a fantastic button for this cardigan, too.


Blogger shopgirl said...

Wow, I didn't realize I had permission granting abilities! I feel so powerful right now;)

Sorry about your sweater dilemma! Mid-boob seams are pretty tricky. I think you have to have pretty small knockers to pull it off. However, in my experience cotton does grow a lot, especially vertically during blocking, and it seems like that seam must be really heavy with all those genius increases. Seams like you need at least another inch- right? If it doesn't grow enough, perhaps you can boldy snip the yarn a few rows above the fancy seam and then add a couple stockinette inches, sneaky style. It's looking to cute to abandon now!

1:01 PM  
Blogger knottygnome said...

just throwing in my 2 cents: i just made a garment with cotton-ease and it didn't grow at all. i was expecting it to, but it didn't. which for me was a good thing...might not be so much for you.

good luck with whatever you decide.

1:10 PM  
Blogger Ivete Tecedor said...

I can't tell from what you wrote exactly where the seam is going to fall, but I wanted to share a sweater I made that is gathered at about the mid boob, here's the link:

It doesn't gather as much as yours, but I personally love it. I'm actually knitting a second version of it in thinner yarn. I modeled both after shirts I bought that have seams at that point.

BTW, I am definitely busty and I think this style makes me look smaller -- as long as the gathers don't dip in between the girls, otherwise it makes me look like I might be breastfeeding ... good luck!

2:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boobage and sweaters... ooi. This is why I never knit for myself. I would end up crying and throwing the whole thing away.

Here's my penny's worth... I have some shirts that gather above the girls and when I wear them everyone asks when I'm DUE.

I bet if this sweater really is heavy though, you could soak it hot and block the heck out of it. :-S

2:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate to say this, but I knit (by machine) a similar garment last year and just LAST night gave it to a less bustier (and higher hanging, harumph) friend because the seam was hitting me right across the boobage. (And it looked horrible on me. Like giving myself 4 boobs as if I was wearing a bra that was to small. And I have a B cup).

I am sorry!

3:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd have to say I'd agree with shopgirl and try snipping the yarn and adding a couple inches before the seam. Still a bit of work but less than ripping that seam or worse, knitting a whole sweater you won't wear!

3:42 PM  
Blogger soknitpicky said...

I think you *are* absolutely genius for picking/up increasing that way. I am sorry to say, though, that the things I have made with Cotton Ease haven't really stretched out. I vote for Shopgirl's idea too.

4:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hrmm I'm not sure how much stst you have between the gathering and the armholes, but if you have enough I would cut a row out, knit the length needed, and then graft the two pieces together. the only other way I could think of doing it, without undoing the gathered section, would be to undo the cast on, rip down and then knit back up...but that's more of a pita than anything.

4:43 PM  
Blogger Hilary said...

It would be an utter shame to rip out that PERFECT gathered seam, and I wouldn't want to redo it either. I do like the idea of snipping out one row, knitting more length, then grafting the pieces together. I think TECHknitting had a tutorial on this recently. I would wait until you've finished, though, so you can try the whole thing on and see exactly how it looks. It could be that the bottom portion will pull down the top and it might be perfect!

12:32 PM  
Blogger Dorien Ruben said...

congratulations on the gathering,
it looks so much better than the original! if I were you, I would keep it on the same hight.. I don't think it would look bad.

12:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still think your a genius, regardless. Are you a good grafter? I am not. My Cotton-Ease baby cardi didn't grow at all, but I wasn't really trying to make it grow. Plus it is so small it didn't weigh anything, whereas an adult sized sweater will. Were I in your shoes, and hell-bent on troubleshooting, I think I would take Yahaira's approach. Although I kind of think that a sweater than flares high on the bust has less of a maternity look than the empire waist, below the bust flare-out. Somehow. Defying convention, a little, kinda.

2:27 PM  
Blogger melissa said...

ok, this may be totally crazy but... could you rip out the cast on edges for the tops of the sweater, rip out some rows and knit upwards to lengthen the top portion? i did something like that years ago, and if i remember correctly, it worked out ok.

the gathered seam is genius! it looks fantastic. no wonder you don't want to rip it out!

8:08 PM  
Blogger Melissa Wood (née Hazelton) said...

You poor woman! Your gathered seam is totall fabulous, I wouldn't want to redo that myself. I don't however think you should leave it as is. If it's bothering you now, it will only bother you more by the time it's done - that is certainly how it works with me. For my 2 cents I think a mid boob gather would look absolutely horrible, I would never wear anything gathered there. I don't know exactly how it will look on you, but I do think it would look so much better if it was below the boob... I've made things with cotton and they did stretch big time, only not vertically, just horizontally.

I think you should consider either ripping out the top, or grafting if you have the room/skill. I don't have that level of skill, myself, but I think I would try grafting first just becuase well, it seems like less work.

Whatever you decide, good luck! :)

Oh! also, beware the "I will decide later". Consider, if it't not long enough in the boob when it's all done, and you want to change it then, you will be adding inches and the bottom hem will hit you differently, and you might not like where it hits you... Just something to consider...

12:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I say finish it, try it on, wear it a bit and see if you are comfy with it the way it is. If not, then snip, knit, and graft. And if you are, then you have anguished over nothing. Not to worry, this isn't a huge problem in the grand scheme of knitting!

3:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The gathering bit looks fabulous. If you ever wanted to do something similar again, you might consider using a crochet hook to pick up stitches. If you have tranferred the stitches from the cr hook to the needle, leave two stitches on the cr hook, this makes it easier to continue. alternatively you could just take a needle in your right hand and use your left hand to hold the garment (so use only the one needle) I always use this method when picking up stitches for button bands, it is a lot easier on the hands as you don't have to handle two needles in one little opening.
Before you try snipping and grafting etc, why not try on a similar garment in a clothes shop and see how it looks, maybe it suits you very well the way it is.
Good luck, I am looking forward to seeing the end result.

12:42 PM  

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