Thursday, October 8

Tweedy Schematics

Knitting math. Or how to think for oneself. Or, you don't really need circulation in your arm anyway, do you?

Frankly, I should be knitting out in the sunshine instead of doing this. But it just keeps bugging me. I thought about posting it on ravelry, but there's too much "only say nice things" etiquette there. I thought about posting a review on the Interweave Knits storefront for the pattern, but I'd have to create an account and it seemed like a hassle. I ought to do that anyway though, I would LOVE to know if IK would allow such candid comments in their review.

Pattern: Tweedy Aran Cardigan
Designer: Norah Gaughan
Source: Interweave Knits 2001 and then in a special limited release free e-book and now available for purchase at Interweave Knits.

Pros. This is a really cute cardigan with nice attention to detail. The waist shaping in particular makes for a professional look. A combination of twisted rib, "fancy" rib (a rib created with alternating left and right twists, like mini-cables) and some elegant and simple cable motifs.

Cons: Unfortunately, you will not know it's cute or that neat shaping from Interweave. The only photos are of a size 42.5 sweater on a model with perhaps a 32 inch bust and stick arms. She's probably petite as well, as the sleeves are way too long. There are no photos of the back or the sides that would show the nice waist shaping detail. Ravelry is your friend here. Lots of very well fitting sweaters AND photos of the details.

There are three problems with this pattern. The first seems well known (from browsing ravelry projects) although not listed officially anywhere. The waist shaping decreases 5 stitches from each side of the back (and five from each front), all in the twisted rib section. This is a crucial design element. However, in the 33.5 inch size, there are only Three stitches of twisted rib on each end. If you follow directions, you end up cannibalizing the cable. Oops.

Following the directions will result in the elongated cable lying right next to a column of twisted knit stitches. This is wrong. One really ought to have at least one column of purl stitches next to the cable. I put one column in (by starting and ending the twisted rib with a purl instead of a knit), and now that I am about half done the body, I wish I had put two columns. If you look Very Carefully at the original photo, it sure looks like there's a purl column there where it should be.

Now here's an issue I haven't seen noted elsewhere. (Although, several knitters on ravelry did have trouble getting their sleeves to fit, and some reknit or added a gusset.) The sleeves are pretty narrow, and get more narrow as a percentage of bust size as one goes to larger sizes.

The 33.5 size sweater has sleeve size (measured around upper arm) off 38% of bust, or 12.75 inches. The 51.5 size sweater has a sleeve size of only 30% of bust, or 15.5 inches. For a cardigan designed to be worn with a shirt underneath, with some positive ease, these numbers don't make a lot of sense.

For numbers that make even less sense, look at the schematic (you can click and make it bigger). This is from the ebook edition and matches the original magazine version exactly. (The ebook did correct and errata in the cable instructions.) For anyone who likes math and likes being appalled at arithmetic errors, enjoy. I just have to say WTF? Either Norah or some tech editor at Interweave is either pretty stupid or is making a nasty comment about their audience.

How to lie with arithmetic

1 comment:

Gwyndolyn said...

Hi! I originally found your blog through Erika (Redshirt Knitting). I come back for the maths. I don't particularly like math, so don't practice much. I LOVE your clear explanations of story problems, shawl endings &c.

I have not made a sweater (and don't plan to), but I used to sew. I sure as heck want to know what my garment pieces look like, how large they are expected to be at points X, Y and Z.

I didn't see what you were addressing in the schematic that you published -- but I looked only briefly and the enlarged text was still Very Small. (squint, blink-blink, ow)

I'm Gwyndolyn on Ravelry. Hi. :-)