Saturday, May 7, 2011

While My FLS Gently Blocks

So much to post, so little time lately.

First stop, my poor long suffering February Lady Sweater has finally made it to the blocking mats.  I love this sweater.  I love the simplicity of style, I love the lace, I love the history of it, I love the yarn, I love how easy it is to modify to my taste and body, I love how forgiving the lace pattern is.  I enjoyed every minute of knitting it, and would knit another in a heart beat.  I think this is the first sweater I've made for myself that will really fit me well and I'll be proud to wear in public (still got my fingers crossed here).

Ravelry Project Link Visualize Whirled Peas FLS

I am simply at a loss as to why it took me from July 2010 to May 2011 to make it.  How did I let myself get distracted over and over again with another project (or 2 or 3 ... )?  For that matter, how did it take me a full month to block it after I finished?  I understand that my 198 yds of heavenly malabrigo was on the mats when I finished FLS, but still, that was done blocking in 2 days.  Sometimes I don't understand myself at all.

I learned a lot from this sweater, and that learning carried over to the blocking.  I have a very firm preference on where the yoke ends and the lace begins; I want that line to be between the middle and bottom of my breasts.  So after reading other knitters comments about how their FLS grew when it hit water, I made a conscious decision to stop the yoke about 2 inches above where I wanted the yoke to end  - roughly 10" vs 12-13 -- expecting that the weight of the yarn and lace body would pull the yoke down that much.  Likewise, I bound off a couple of inches shy of where I wanted the sweater to fall at mid hip -- 22" vs 24-26.

So, I gave the sweater a nice bath,  squeezed the water out in towels and plopped it down on the mats, where it measured 26" long (perfect), but still precisely 10" at the yoke.  Hmm...  

Then it hit me, in a classic "duh" moment ... when I changed the yoke from garter stitch to stockinette, I completely changed the angles and degree of stretch.  The lace body stretched because it is so open and, well, lacy.  Plus, last year when I learned that EZ got the same gauge on a size US 6 needle that I got on a US 9 (and read her comments about new knitters knitting too tightly), I followed her advice and made a conscious decision to loosen up a bit, so the gauge on my lace was looser than the gauge on my yoke.  This was fine with me because I want to make sure the sweater overlaps a bit in the front, but I should have included it in my calculations.

So instead of the easy just-lay-it-out-and-smooth-a-bit blocking I was expecting, I had to do quite a bit of gentle stretching to bring the yoke down to 12-13" from shoulder while gently "smooshing" the body to maintain the 26" length. 

Just a thought, but am I the only one who is surprised that my measurement from shoulder to mid-breast are exactly half the distance from my shoulder to mid hip?  I always thought I was short waisted and joke that my ribs practically touch my iliac crest when I sit, but I think this confirms it.  I swear that on nicely shaped women (like my friend Gayla),  mid boob would fall about 1/3 of the way to her hips.  I'm going to try very hard to resist the temptation to run up to women with a tape measure this week ...  

Next time, I know to knit the yoke to desired size without expecting stretch. 

And this ends today's lesson.  Now a word from our sponsor, the jolly short-waisted 5'5" giant:

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