Monday, July 2, 2018

The Mysterious Case Of A Vanishing Jog

The story of this sweater is rather bizarre but it has a happy ending so there is no need to worry.
Back in April, contemplating my stash, I found quite a few balls of Rowan Pure Wool 4ply leftovers from my last year experiments – Juno, Blue Improvisation, and Sunshine.
I had about 6 balls in Gerbera colorway, some white, blue, and a bit of yellow balls. My obvious choice was a colorwork pattern where I could use maximum of the yarn while still having enough for a whole garment. Still, I wasn’t certain that the quantity of the main color (Gerbera) would be enough and decided to try another top down just to be on a safe side.

I picked this old French knitting magazine – again! –because
1) I love it!
2) I’d made the best patterns from it before (from some cheap yarn) and the fit was great.
3) its patterns are classic = timeless
4) I like to make something unique and original, and what can be more original than remaking the old patterns in the modern way?
My goal was to make this pattern, which is written as a bottom up and supposed to be knit in pieces, into a top down with short rows (yes, I am still having fun with Japanese short rows, they are flawless, and I’ve been incorporating them pretty much everywhere).

At first, everything went as planned: I began with tubular CO (stretchy and polished!), made short rows and increases. Yes, I had adjust the pattern a bit for my size, but after having made Birkin and Elk Meadow pullover, I felt much more confident in my numbers and it wasn’t a completely guessing game.
Fortunately, the pattern’s yoke includes three fair isle motifs separated by plain stockinett. It gives an opportunity to incorporate the increases more evenly plus is handy for short rows. Honestly, I got a little bit carried on with the short rows here… But back to the sweater.

The colors looked so lively and vibrant together that I literally couldn’t put this project down as the end result had a promise to become spectacular (ha-ha, can I say it about my own work? Sure, I can since I like it). That is why I didn’t bother trying the finished part on till I reached the armholes. And then an unthinkable happened, the jog (this place where a previous row ends and a new row begins, and where knitters have to be most careful in avoiding a ladder effect when switching colors) turned out to be right at the front of the yoke.
It was a major blow. A really huge one. I was so happy with my newfound pattern rewriting skills, the yarn, and the colors. I was so looking forward to finishing this sweater. Actually, I thought of gifting it to someone (if I had enough yarn for the sleeves). No more gifting and the overall prospects were bleak since I couldn’t imagine myself wearing it knowing about the yoke and the jog.
I even asked the knitting community on Facebook for help but most of their advice was to carry on and finish this project. And I couldn’t even look at it at the time.
So I started another colorwork pattern – Asbury – that was timely finished and gifted while ruminating about the fate of this potentially beautiful but flawed project.

When we came back to Florida in June I took another look at it and it occurred to me that I could still finish it and then just keep for further references (and not to make this stupid mistake again).
Even though it is a top down I divided it after the yoke (and more Japanese short rows!) in four parts that I knit separately. From my previous experience I knew that this yarn becomes exceptionally stretchy when knit in the round. Actually, it is very stretchy even with seams, you need to be extremely careful while blocking it. Working in the round speeds up thing and make a knitter’s life much easier but I’d rather suffer while working on a garment than while wearing it.

After the body was finished (with tubular BO on the ribbing), I had very little yarn in the main color left for the sleeves. I used a kitchen scale to divide it as evenly as possible in two parts and made the sleeves as long as the remaining yarn would allow me. I didn’t have enough yarn for the tubular BO. And seaming was tricky since I’ve never had so little yarn to work with.

When everything was done I put the finished sweater on and… a miracle! The jog was right where it was meant to be from the beginning – on my shoulder. I still don’t understand how it happened. When I tried the yoke on the first time the jog was clearly at the front. And with all those Japanese rows there couldn’t be a mistake about the front and the back. I was incredulous, more than pleasantly surprised, and went to my husband to share my wonderful news.
His reaction wasn’t what I expected. He wasn’t happy for me. Do you know why? Would you be happy if a builder working on your house would joyfully but unexpectedly discover that the roof is exactly where it was meant to be after all, on top and not on the side? Probably, you’d start looking for another builder.

Apparently, my pattern rewriting skills need much more honing in. And I really want to understand better the top down construction so I’ll keep working on it. It is fortunate that round yoke sweaters with colorwork are still fashionable. Actually, for me they’ll always be fashionable. The question is how many round yoke sweaters one person can own at the same time?
Now, the Mysterious Case of a Vanishing Jog covered (as usual, more details on my Ravelry page), I can write about my #summerofbasics projects and more adventures in knitting design.

Talk to you soon,


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