If you were to read the notes of knitters who have tackled this project, Fretwork designed by Shiri Mor, you would be struck by a few common strands of thinking. The first common thread is one of curiosity over the sweater’s construction. I was no different. In viewing the pattern, you can see how initially it looks like a cabled sweater but then looking more closely you see detached cords that are woven so of course, curiosity sets in as you wonder how in the world does one knit that?
And, then the conversations take a turn to the fit of this garment. Some say to knit a size with “negative ease” while others suggested knitting a size larger. Others were frankly honest about their end product not fitting at all. Well, I do not know what negative ease is and I can’t take a chance on randomly knitting a size up. Why would you not knit your size? What I mostly made of these comments was that it was of utmost importance to pay particular attention to the finished size of this garment and that how it fit was quite relevant to the happiness in the end. The pattern did say “close fitting”, so that was the start point for me.
I set my mind into motion wondering what the designer’s concept of close fitting was (everyone has a different idea) and how close fitting did I want mine? I know from experience that if a garment is in any way pulling or hugging tightly to my body, I will not wear it. On the other hand, if the measurement is too loose fitting, will the woven cords droop? I did consider dropping the idea of knitting this altogether as another aspect of this project, a basic crewneck, is not a shape I prefer for my body type and truthfully is not exciting enough for me to pour my energies into. However, there was this knitting/weaving combo thing and we go back to the inquisitive nature of knitters.
In the meantime, I just happened to purchase a book entitled Good Measure, Knit a Perfect Fit Every Time by Deborah Newton.
I am very much a fan of hers, her patterns and techniques are specific and thoughtful and this book is as comprehensive regarding construction, fit, and design of a garment as her other books have been on their topics. Wow, perfect timing I thought. And, there it was, pg. 51, a definition for close-fit: “a close-fitting sweater can be slightly smaller, the same as, or up to 2 ” larger than the body measurements, depending on the thickness of the fabric and the elasticity of the pattern stitch. A close-fitting sweater often has shaping to conform to the body’s dimensions, but does not cling.” OK, now I have something to work with and immediately I knew the size I wanted mine. And, of course the size I wanted was not one that was written in the pattern.
Not all is lost when you know about gauge. I know that this is always a sure fire way to get the size garment you want. ok, I noticed the front and back were pieced or constructed in 3 parts, 2 sides and the center panel. So, I began knitting a side panel with the recommended needle size to work up a swatch. I knitted quite a ways up as I’ve learned a more accurate gauge can be gotten with a larger swatch. I might have learned that from Deborah Newton, as well. Also, it gave me practice in cord weaving. According to the schematic, my swatch measured no where near even the smallest size! It measured much, much smaller or narrower. Oddly so. So, narrow was my swatch that I changed to the next larger needle and cast on the number of stitches for the medium or the 41″ size given in the pattern. When I measured this second swatch, I noticed I was getting gauge for the smallest size or the size 34″. ok, I thought . . . getting closer but I wanted 36″ (up to 2″ larger than body measurements and not clingy). What to do . . . So, I studied the pattern to see where the designer worked in the stitches for the larger sizes. I noticed that she increased the number of stitches on the side panels. So, I thought if I added 4 stitches or another grouping of 2k2p on each side panel, that when sewn together would give me the added 2 inches, 36″ from 34″, I wanted while keeping the design elements of the sweater in tact especially the lovely woven cables that edge the sides of the sweater. I love the way those woven cables just edge the set-in sleeve seam.
I knitted the entire garment making those changes. Imagine the size my sweater would have been if I had not taken the careful and necessary time to knit several gauges and figure that out!
Other than measuring and re-measuring along the way making sure my gauge was staying consistent and that I had not made a mathematical error, the knitting of this was not so bad at all. Process and Tips here! The shape, a basic crew neck, did not pose any further challenge.
I love the color, it fits exactly as planned, and will be a very practical comfortable addition to my wardrobe. I do need to work on finding a shirt that will stay in place underneath, however.
The photo shoot was at historic Chautauqua Institute. I wore walking shoes (this is the exact location I broke a bone in my foot a few years, back wearing non-walking shoes). I wanted to change into the heels that are in the bag I’m holding but hubby encouraged otherwise. And, while I’m talking shoe wear, can you believe I ran across these? I have not purchased them….. yet.