Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Conundrum

So, I was a good knitter and swatched for my Ivy League Vest. I even swatched in the round, which is a bit of a pain, what with all the loose ends hanging every which way. And I even used two needle sizes! Here's what I got:

That's with a flash so you can see what the stitches look like. This is without a flash and a better representation of what the color combination looks like:

Amazing how one little swatch can cause so many problems. You see, the bottom half of the swatch, which is knit on a US 4 needle, gives me gauge (7 stitches/inch), but I don't care much for the loosey-goosey appearance of the fabric. There's a chance that this may have been exacerbated by the swatching technique and that the fabric might not be so loose when I'm knitting "for real" in the round. The top half of the swatch, worked with a US 3 needle, gives me a fabric I really like but at a gauge of about 7.6 stitches/inch. I did a little math and figured out that, at the smaller gauge, I can knit the largest size and wind up with a vest that will be approximately my size -- approximately being the key word here.

So I can use the needle that gives me gauge but risk getting a fabric I don't like or use a needle that gives me a fabric I like and keep my fingers crossed that the math works out. Add to this the fact that the pattern specifies that the v-neck accommodates up to five inches of negative ease and I'm really confused. I'm hoping some of you will have advice for me or at least a strong opinion, especially those of you who've done a fair amount of colorwork before (Rebecca and Pat, I'm looking at you!).

In the meantime, I'm focusing on the second half of my mystery stole -- should finish clue 1 tonight! -- in the hopes of having it done to wear to my office holiday party a month from today.


  1. I have a strong opinion! Loosey-goosey fabric in this pattern is going to suck, so I would cross your fingers, take a deep breath and hope that the math works out. :)

  2. i agree with jenn.

    i do have a question, though: how do you swatch in the round if it wasn't really in the round? it's a flat swatch. this is something i have never understood.

  3. You bring the yarn around like you're going to do an i-cord, but you don't pull it tight.

    How horribly painful would it be to start the vest on the larger needles and rip it back if you don't like how it's coming out? I know that my actual in the round knitting is tighter than the gauge swatch, but that might just be me.

  4. Just driving by to say that I love the final color combo. :)

    Ever used this yarn before? I'm wondering if the fabric will loosen up a bit when you wash/block it anyway, which always seems to happen to me. If so, I think I'd definitely go for the smaller needle.

  5. I don't care for loosey-goosey myself, so I would say trust the math! and also swatch as you go along to verify that it is indeed the size you want.

  6. Be careful, girl! Once I get going on the actual large project the gauge I get differs from my swatch gauge...if you go with the large size you just may end up with a large size. I don't mean to scare you here but proceed with caution LOL.

  7. I say trust the math. Blocking can help if the size is slightly off, but bad drape lasts forever.

  8. Swatches never tell the truth (in my experience) good luck either way :-)
    I think I'd go with the fabric I liked though...although too tight and the vest will be stiff - Ivy League vest is a gorgeous pattern ...have fun!!