A reasonable knitter

It took a few days, but the knit-a-palooza has started, and I don’t know about you, but I think there’s nothing more stupid than a brilliant tank top finished in January, so first up is getting all the summer knitting off the needles before the summer ends.

I’d finished the back of Flow (or the front, they’re both the same) a few weeks ago when I was in Oakland, and all that was left was to pound out the other piece, sew two seams, put a couple of little bands on it, and there you go.  It would me be in another fetching top.  I’m sure I’ve mentioned it about a hundred times, but I love the other Flow I knit.  It’s comfortable, wearable, matches just about everything I own, is a little dressy but not too much… it’s perfect, and it’s not just me who thinks so.  I wore it to dinner in Montreal the other nice and got four compliments on it.  It’s a great top, and a lot of it has to do with the yarn.  Seduce was the suggested yarn, and perfect for it.  It’s a little slinky, heavy, drapey… so when I decided to make another, I went looking for more Seduce.  None of my local shops had it in stock, and it turned out not to matter because I didn’t really like any of the other colours it comes in, and all of that added up and because I’m not the sort of person who apparently delays gratification well, I ended up buying a substitute that I’m not as wild about.  Samea.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I don’t think this is a bad yarn at all.  As a matter of fact, I think most of the time this would be a yarn that I chose over Seduce.  It’s got less shine, less drape… and usually those are things that this less flashy knitter prefers – but for this top, I think I might not have made the most awesome choice. For starters, Seduce is primarily rayon, and Samea is primarily cotton, and I don’t know if it  was desperation or fumes, but while I was in the yarn store, neither that nor the fact that I don’t much care for cotton seemed to matter and I bought it and left, and now I think it’s catching up with me.

See, I’m having trouble telling if I’m being reasonable or not.  As I mentioned, I love my previous Flow.  The idea was to make another one exactly the same, but in another colour.  So, I did a swatch, made sure it matched, started knitting the same size.. the whole shebang.  There’s a series of decreases in the body of this top to make it that swingy  A-line shape, and then when you get to the right number, it says to knit until it’s a certain number of inches.  Well,  since I want this top to be the same as the last one, I ignored that number of inches, and I took out the old Flow, and used that as my measurement.  I made them match to the underarm, then proceeded boldly with the rest of the directions, because my gauge is right. (I’m standing by that statement.)   When I was done,  that front looked too short.  Now, I’m a reasonable knitter with good instincts, so I listened to that little voice, and I did several things that reasonable knitters do. 

1. I re-measured.  I checked the old top and the new top to see if they are the same.  They are.

2. I lay the new front on top of the old front to see if they are really the same.  They are.

3. I thought about gravity, and then held up the old top and the new top at the same time to see if they are functionally, actually the same. They are.

I decided at that point that I was just getting jerked around by knitting again because knitting is like that, and I started the back, but this whole time the idea that the front is too short has been bugging me.  I can’t stop looking at it and thinking that something isn’t right.  Now, once again, I’m a reasonable knitter with good instincts, so I double checked.  I did the following.

1. I washed and blocked the finished front to see if it was hiding something and wasn’t really the same but was actually a dirty lying sneak of a yarnthing.  Then I repeated the steps above to see if they were still the same. 

They are.  They are the same. They are the same width, length… gauge… They are absolutely the same….  So tell me, why do I have this feeling that there’s some chicanery going on around here?  I’m up to the armpit on the back, and I feel like I should add a few centimetres, then rip back the front and do the same.  There’s no reason on earth to think that these aren’t the same, and now I’m wondering if I’m just being uppity because the yarn isn’t the same, but maybe the fact that it’s not the same is what’s bugging me.   I keep measuring it to see if it’s the same length, and telling myself "All right. Look at that – it’s the same" and then some other part of me screeches "Same? Does that look the same to you? Are you kidding me?  Seduce doesn’t even have cotton in it, you moron!" and then I measure it for seven more hours, and it keeps being the same, and now I’m stuck. 
I’m a reasonable knitter, and I’ve done what reasonable knitters do, but I still think this top is too short, even though there’s zero evidence to support it.  I’d yank back and add a bit, but I bet then it will be too long – because dudes, it is the same length.  I swear it is. 

As a general rule, I trust concrete evidence over my own feelings… but..this is yarn, and yarn doesn’t play by all the rules of the material plane.
What would you do?

170 thoughts on “A reasonable knitter

  1. It might be that your feelings are a little achy still(biking not just affecting the behind…)and measuring is a lovely thing. And, I hesitate to mention this, but have you tried it on in its partial state?

  2. Maybe that rayon, like silk, will grow in length, while cotton may shrink (I’m currently doing a sweater that I need to knit 15.5″ on to end up with 14″, assuming that the swatch didn’t like to me).

  3. Since most of the wearables I have knit come out almost big enough to be a cozy for a small car, I have no advice to offer.

  4. I would keep going, sew it all up, try it on and then, maybe go back if I had too.
    But I am a much less reasonable and more foolishly-optimistic knitter than you are.
    Maybe this is just a lesson that we should never expect lightning to strike twice!

  5. What about finishing it as you are, then instead of seaming, pin or baste them together really fast and try it on. If it is THEN too short, then you can rip out the too short bit and re-knit without also having to undo any seaming or finishing.

  6. If there’s some kind of trickery, it may work the other way as well. If you add 2cm, it’ll magically be 5cm too long. I’d leave it, finish the back, and attempt to tack it together so I could try it on. Then I’d go from there.

  7. If they are the same size, that’s great, BUT if the second one feels shorter then maybe that’s a good thing because it’s cotton and may well decide to stretch when you’re wearing it. So maybe leave things alone and finish it as is!
    Happy knitting!

  8. Hi Steph.
    I think perhaps your instincts may be correct. The Seduce has weight and drape, which probably help it feel longer when you are wearing it. The cotton is unlikely to hang the same way, and will not gain that extra centimetre or two in drape.
    I tend to listen to that inner voice.

  9. I have an engineer father and I almost became an engineer (and did become a computer/IT person) and yet I knit (and I’m a guy). So go with the measurement.
    Here’s one possibility if you’re still not sure — finish the back as you did the front and before you put it finally together, pin it together and see. If you’re correct
    and it’s too short then you have twice the ripping, but if your measurements hold, you should be able to get an idea if its correct and you’ll save yourself any ripping but
    before you’ve committed yourself to the completed product.

  10. It’s the same. Finish, sew it up, try it on, and then, if it’s not the same, figure out what to do… But I bet it’s the same.

  11. I would stick with reasonable and the multiple measurements, but that wouldn’t keep me from continuing to fret about possible “wrongness.”

  12. Trust the measurements! If you redo it now and it wasn’t too short, then you’ll end up redoing it twice. If it does end up being too short, at least you will only have to redo it once. As others have suggested, pin it and try it on before fully finishing it. Then you can see if the cotton drapes differently, too. I bet it’s fine! Good luck!

  13. I would leave it, and start accepting that it might be too short, in which case, you can add some kind of a border to the bottom. Lace would be nice. (I realize that this would be defeating the point of knitting one exactly the same, but I think you’re already walking that fine line.)

  14. I would stick with the measurements. Did you hang them both on hangers and measure that way, also? That way you can see how the weight of one vs the other will pull the fabric down? (Does that make any sense?)

  15. I’m trusting your instincts here. Drape vs non-drape making the difference? Which yarn will stretch more over time (I’m thinking cotton, but that’s a guess; cellulose yarns aren’t my hands’ thing.)

  16. All I know is that I am always tricked by the length of things until I have them on. Running shorts for instance? They always look like they’d be just fine when hanging on the rack. But when I try them on, they become running diapers. The only reasonably reliable way I’ve been able to really know if they’ll work without trying them on is to examine the crotch and inseam, which I’m sure makes me a very interesting customer at the store.
    Of course, I assume your tank top doesn’t have a crotch, so that’s probably a pointless anecdote. Other than to say, sometimes you just don’t know until you try it on.

  17. If you decide to believe they are the same based on what your eyes tell you and it turns out they’re not, what’s the worst that will happen? Looks like you’d have to unpick 2 pretty narrow shoulder seams, drop down to the bottom of the armhole, knit a few more inches and finish up. I’d keep going in hopes that you won’t have to do even that much.

  18. Don’t know about the size, but I bet you end up gifting it away. Sounds to me like you just don’t like it.

  19. Since you made and have worn the first Flow several times could it be “users stretch?” A garment that stretches out after being well loved (which is why it is well loved?”
    I would go back to your original notes. If it is the same, your fine. Just plan wearing it along to get it broken in!

  20. Longer lengths are back in style. A delicate lace, picot edge crocheted to bottom would be lovely. The recipient, if you decide to gift it away, would be very lucky.

  21. Most cotton I have come across shrinks in length not width. Maybe your ESP is seeing thetop afterafewlaunderings?

  22. It might just be the colors. The green one is not so bright and that could be deceiving you. It’s a common thing when you study different colored lines that are all the same length, but appear to be different lengths.

  23. I laugh in the face of logic and facts. Go with the gut. (I say this because cotton just has never been my friend.)

  24. You answered your own question…. ” Seduce was the suggested yarn, and perfect for it. It’s a little slinky, heavy, drapey… ” and re: Samea “It’s got less shine, less drape… and usually those are things that this less flashy knitter prefers – but for this top, I think I might not have made the most awesome choice. For starters, Seduce is primarily rayon, and Samea is primarily cotton”
    Rayon is heavier and has more drape than cotton. So while you may be spot on regarding gauge and inches knit, the cotton won’t have that drape that adds that little bit extra that rayon does.

  25. I think that the cotton will stretch with wear, unlike the Seduce. So even if it feels a little short, it will feel a little long after you’ve had it for a while.

  26. +1 to everything Chris said. I finished a shrug earlier this summer using Rowan Summer Tweed, and I kept worrying that it was too small. But I trusted the measurements & gauge and it fits great. It may not drape like Flow #1, but it will be the same size.

  27. Made Flow based on your earlier post. In Seduce in the greyed brown tone. Love it! Love it! Perfect shape and the neckline is fabulous particularly for someone with a mastectomy without reconstruction. Flattering on many body shapes. Three people from my knit night group are knitting it after they tried on mine and I’m half way though another.
    I knit mine in the round so I could try it on when I had reached the pattern shaping directions for armhole. Added another two inches and additional decrease for a better fit.
    Your new yarn has a different “hand” so it will fit differently. It may even be better. I would baste the sides and try it on. You can’t use a formula in either sewing or knitting for fit. Use math and gauge to approximate then fit on your body.
    PS. Creative Yarns at Ellesmere and Warden carry a large inventory of Seduce. Long bike ride but at a TTC stop from the York Mills station. Good knitting time.
    Hope the Flow works out. Great top. Thanks for suggesting it.

  28. Did you try it on, does it look right and feel right, if yes, enjoy !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  29. You said that you measured “from the armpit down”. Are the bodices the same…from the armpit UP?
    The Samae looks heavier, so you have probably lost the swingy drape of the prior Flow.
    But I am with the optimistic group that would finish with what I have, baste it and try it on. It may not be EXACTLY the same, but you may like this new cottony version…just in a different way. Like kids…

  30. I know this is a sleeveless tank but the color is beautifully fall. Go with the measurements–they don’t lie. As someone posted earlier–Leslie F–it may not be exactly the same but you may like it better.

  31. I would finish it up, sew it together (but don’t weave in the ends yet, just in case), block it out and try it on. If your hunch is right it is nothing to take back the cast off and add a bit more. If the measurements are right all you have to do is weave in the ends.

  32. This is a long shot, but is the width of the top the same? Perhaps your eye is objecting not to the length but to the proportion.

  33. Is there a shoulder seam? If you didn’t factor in a little bit extra for the seam allowance, that could be the problem.

  34. Cotton grows during the wearing – don’t change it or you’ll be angry with yourself an hour after putting it on.

  35. Wasn’t Flow the top you knit and had an issue with gauge? If I remember correctly you had the width gauge down but your length gauge was off? Maybe the sweater seems different because of that.

  36. I would remember that cotton grows when you wear it, and just keep knitting as is.

  37. Interesting! What, I pray, is going on? You must tell us when it’s over. Anyhow, cotton knitted items are notorious for stretching down (in the direction gravity is pulling them), and for that reason, whether or not it actually is short now, I wouldn’t add to it. But I really know nothing about your project. We’ve got to see you in this soon (I hope). Thanks for all you do!

  38. You asked, “what would you do”…I’d try to get out my head and just knit the dang thing.

  39. I was inspired by your recent Flow post. I’m going to be a mother of the groom next year and hatehatehate clothes shopping. I thought if I could find yarn that was fancy enough, I could get away with Flow and a stole/shrug over a long black skirt. (My darling DIL-to-be is not responding to my suggestion that we all wear jeans to the wedding.)
    At first I bought Seduce, but it made me crazy. Too slippery!!! After I misinterpreted the (really very simple) pattern instructions and had to tear out about 4 inches, I ended up with a tangled, unruly, infuriating ball of mess and determined it was a no-go. I love the colors of Seduce and have been, yes, Seduced into trying it on a couple of items. Now I just have to grit my teeth and keep chanting to myself, “You will hate yourself for wasting time on it. You will never finish. You will throw it away before it’s done.”
    Next I tried Samea in Dark Blue. My Samea Flow is very nice but not dressy/sheeny enough for a MOG. The colors of Samea are a little on the subdued side. But I did love working with this yarn. I like how it’s a little bit thick and thin.
    Now I am doing one in Chiara. It’s draping nicely, I added a couple of inches of length, and we’ll see.
    Thanks, Steph, for turning me on to this pattern!

  40. Could it be looking wrong because cotton is not really your thing, and the reasons for that are behind all this?

  41. I never met a cotton yarn that didn’t shrink up and get wider with washing — sometimes after more than one wash. I’d make it longer.

  42. I would keep front and back on circs, baste the sides together loosely, put it on my body and see if I liked how long it was, taking into account that cotton will shrink a bit. I have a beige Flow, and I love mine, too!

  43. Try it on. Hold the front up to your front w/shoulder seams in place and see if it’s too short. Also, yes about the drape. Rayon is heavenly in that way, cotton is not even at the party.

  44. It seems like most people here agree that it’s probably drape…but it’s odd that it’s not clear which fiber will stretch the most. I would take your swatch and weigh down one end of it for a day or two and see if that’s changed anything.

  45. I agree with Joan @1:09 — it is drape.
    I know I’m a few days late, but great job on the bike riding! I was at a party and squealed “THE YARN HARLOT FINISHED HER SIX DAY BIKE RIDE TO MONTREAL FOR PEOPLE IN TORONTO WITH AIDS!!!!!” I live in California, and when I looked around, people were gaping at me. I always forget that some context is vital, especially if the sentence begins with “yarn harlot.” Anyway, you are my hero, and the people at the party were impressed once I explained.

  46. Maybe, just maybe, even though your measurements are exactly the same, and the gauge is exactly the same, it will look different, feel different, behave different, because it’s not the same. No matter what you do to it, it won’t be as good as the first one. And there is nothing you can do about it. You loved the first one so much, and did such a wonderful job on the first one, that you can’t repeat it, no matter how careful you are. It’s the reason I can never knit the same pattern twice. No matter how much I loved the pattern or the yarn. Once you have done it once, and done it correctly, something is lost the second time around.

  47. I think it’s not that the new Flow *is* different, it’s just that it *feels* different, psychologically, because of the yarn. The only way to know if you want this one longer is to try it on, so I’m on the side of finish-the-front-pin-it-together-and-try-it-on. Love love love the colour.

  48. Is it just me, or did you maybe use a different cast on for the Samea Flow? It looks like it might be wanting to curl upwards, just a tiny, infinitesimal amount, but that might be just enough to tweak your perception of the length.
    It’s weird that there are so many schools of thought here on which way cotton will stretch, or shrink, or not.
    I vote for “try it on” – and then go with your instinct. You are, after all, the Yarn Harlot. 😉

  49. Try it on, Steph. I have a large bust for my short size, and if I don’t try on as I go I invariably end up with a gaping gaposis below the bustline depending on the drape of the yarn despite careful measurement.

  50. Have YOU grown? (Physically, I mean — you’re already the most psychologically-growing person I know.)
    Maybe it was the bike ride.

  51. I vote try it on and do what will make you happy and wear it. I’m sure the cotton just doesn’t drape as nicely as the other, since drape and cotton just don’t go together!

  52. I would keep going. Cotton stretches and grows so it may end up being far too long if you lengthen it now.

  53. If you’ve measured the pieces (and it sounds like you did several times), maybe the differences in the yarns are just making the Samea piece appear shorter. The gauge of the two pieces might be the same, but in your picture the stitches in the Seduce piece appear lacier and more open. The stitches in Samea look bigger, more substantial. Maybe it’s like what happens when you put really big pieces of furniture in a room — the room feels a lot smaller even though the size of the room obviously doesn’t change. If your instinct is to make it longer, maybe you should — even if it means your new Flow is longer than the original. Whatever you choose to do is OK because one of the great things about knitting is that if you don’t like the end product you can always take it apart and start over. : )

  54. Keep going. Worst case scenario and you have to rip back to the armpits and add length. Unlikely, but possible and a relatively easy thing to do. Best and most likely scenario has it finished and you scratching your head, puzzling over it while you wear it and look lovely and then you shrug your shoulders and let it slide because knitting is just like that sometimes.

  55. Finish it up just like the original. If it does end up being too short,pick up stitches from the bottom and knit down until you get the length you think it should be. Maybe a nice lacey border is the answer?

  56. I’m sorry, I can’t help but “lol” at the two camps in the comments – one saying that the cotton will stretch and grow downwards, and the other saying it will shrink and grow widthways. I say who cares which way the cotton will grow. You clearly don’t like how it’s tuning out, which means you’ll never wear it, so either frog the lot and start again with the right yarn, or finish as is and gift to a friend!

  57. I Love the pattern and the color. Perhaps it will become my personal bit of “Karmic Balance” (hint, hint). Oh wait, Harlot is just this tiny thing and my bust is north of a 40DD. Never mind.

  58. Finish top #2. If indeed too short, add fancy bottom edging that will both add the required length and make top #2 different from top #1. Move to next project on list.

  59. Is it just possible that the secret word is “slinky”? Could it be because the cotton doesn’t have the “slink” factor and doesn’t really “flow” in the same manner? Like the difference between cotton velveteen and silk velvet? Same weight, but completely different skin feel. And, more importantly, will this nag at you forever? Just saying.

  60. DRAPE – not the same. Actually, major difference. Same length, but they lay different – Cotton will feel shorter because of it.

  61. Dude, this is why I don’t knit sweaters.
    I can’t STAND this about knitting sweaters.
    I could knit a sweater that would fit…. someone…. somewhere, and be perfectly content to watch it grow on my needles, but I can’t take the pressure of trying to knit a sweater that will fit ME.
    This must be the reason they pay you the big bucks.

  62. My dear,
    Your instincts are phenomenal. We don’t have a way to scientifically measure what you are sensing. It is called, as others have mentioned, Drape.
    Cotton and rayon are not the same beast, one is a slinky snake and the other a fuzzy caterpillar.
    My advice; add some length to the center front or since it is A-line to the overall hem. It will never feel the same as the rayon but, it won’t feel too short anymore.
    BTW, cotton doesn’t shrink or stretch in both directions evenly. I wouldn’t count on shrinkage or stretching to change the drape.
    Love you and your work! Bless you for staying on the bike!!!

  63. I can understand siren attraction to Seduce…it’s so pretty but **expensive**….I love it too, but it really doesn’t like to be frogged honestly. It loses a bit of that shine…and I’m certain even more shine would be lost during a wash or two. I’m almost thinking Seduce can never be washed…and I don’t even want to think about Dry Cleaning!

  64. I’d add it to my pile of UFOs and start something else. I’m not suggesting that you do what I’d do … just answering the question.

  65. The gut is probably right. Even though the measurements are the same the cotton may not fit the same. Fingers crossed for you.

  66. It is cotton. It will grow as you wear it. Don’t let it fool you into adding extra length.

  67. Being terminally gauge challenged, despite good honest efforts, I understand your trepidation. My guess is that it will wait until you have sewn it up, and have gone out to a nice place for dinner, and then start to either grow or shrink (ask me how I know). At that point, your only recourse is to rip it, set fire to it, and dance around it naked. Anymore, this is often my go to position, as I am trying to save time.

  68. It is cotton. It will grow as you wear it. Don’t let it fool you into adding extra length.

  69. I’m thinking rayon drapes more so it ends up longer on the body when vertical, but when you compare the fabrics on a table they measure out the same.
    What about overdyeing another colorway of the rayon yarn to something you actually like? Would Tina be able to help you with that? Kinda like the dirty cozy fierce orange experiment 😉

  70. Um, the cotton might shrink after a second blocking. I’d rip back & go a smidgin longer. Couldn’t hurt.

  71. Sad, but I would rip. Spent too much time making ugly things and I’m never going back. There’s more to be said for instinct than we typically own up to. Uh, I’ve also been known to turn every darn thing I hate into a bag so that’s also an option. Great bags can come from the strangest projects.

  72. It’s about the yarn!
    How much do you have extra to reasonably lengthen the garment, or is this discussion all for naught?
    I’m of the opinion that cotton will grow, regardless of what you do to it in the washer/dryer.

  73. While it’s definitely not the same, that might actually be a good thing. In my experience, cotton is tricky, as it grows with wear…so depending on how you abused the swatch, you may be better off to ignore your instincts. Definitely do as others have suggested – hang it on a hanger (or clothespin it up) and then baste it on and see what you think.

  74. Get thee to a yarn shoppe! Buy more yarn and start another. This one can be resigned to the UFO basket.

  75. I say trust your measurements Steph. Finish that baby up and then try it on. If you still feel it’s too short, then pick up and knit a little lace detail around the bottom.

  76. Knit the rest of it and, if it doesn’t fit, put it into the Christmas gift pile. :o)

  77. I work with cotton a lot and usually enjoy it. It does tend to shrink lengthwise and grow widthwise with washing. I know this sounds horrendous but it works: if you’ve made it and love it and it shrinks lengthwise and grows widthwise, wash it again, roll it in a towel (or spin it in the washer) until it isn’t dripping and then hang it on a cushy hanger to dry. It will slim back down.
    In your case, you could use this method to add a cm or so without reworking what you’ve already done. The Samea may not be as fancy but it’s going to look great with jeans: blue or black.

  78. Maybe it’s a color thing, maybe it’s a texture thing? They are different yarns, right?

  79. I like that this question has become a poll of your readers: Right or Left brained?
    Also, it won’t ever be the same because of the different yarn. You knew that from the beginning…besides, whatever the end product turns out to be, you will have more “material” (groan…) for your writing.

  80. Drape and gravity. I’d take the one I’m not sure about and hang it for several days in good humid weather and see what happens. You could use one of those pant hangers with clips.
    And (belated) congrats on doing the bike rally. One of the guys at our Spring knitting retreat did it again this year (I think he’s done it since forever). I’m hugely impressed and humbled by those of you who succeed at what I think of as superhuman challenges.

  81. Remember, the new one is COTTON. And the thing about cotton is that it STRETCHES. A tad short now may be a blessing after you have worn it twice.

  82. I think it comes down to the inherent qualities of the two yarn fibres. Cotton staple is ‘squiggles’ and will return to that shape, I don’t ‘know’ rayon, but from the photos it looks as though each stitch slides on each other, giving length and drape rather than ‘squiggles’. (Think what happens to cotton T shirts).
    I think the two Flows are going to be different because of the two fibres, even though you have the same gauge and measurements, the way the two yarns wear are different. I would be inclined to knit more length into the cotton because of the ‘squiggles’ (but you will get more width) – but others will have more ‘cotton experience’ than I have.
    I will be interested to hear what the science of wearing is on this.

  83. Well, it might be the yarn or have you thought that this Flow is going SO good, it’s turing out the same as the original Flow, that there might be a tiny little voice in your mind saying ‘this is too good to be true’ and that you are expecting something to go wrong?
    Then again, it might be the difference in yarn. Rayon and Cotton do come from two different fiber families and both have their own way of shrinking/stretching/feel/texture/how they wear over time ect…
    I’m with the ‘try it on then finish or fix it’ party. It’s better to be safe then sorry. 😀
    P.S. You rocked that bike ride! You got out and did something new and exciting and you rocked at it! Sure you hurt like there’s no tomorrow, but in the end, it’s worth it. 🙂

  84. I bet this is just a test from the knitting gods. Do you dare to doubt? As my grandma used to say, “finish the damn_______(insert project name here).”

  85. If I’ve learned one thing about knitting, it’s to trust your instincts. If you think it’s turning out wrong…it is. Let us know what happens.

  86. From the photos, it looks like Samea is a bit thicker than Seduce. I think that’s why it feels shorter, even though it’s the same length. You know when you lose some weight, you look and feel taller? That’s what Seduce is doing. That’s my theory, anyway.

  87. finish it and try it on. if something’s wrong, then rip it back. you’re a speedy knitter, small, and it’s only a tank. if you need to rip, it wont be that big a deal.

  88. You’re too emotionally invested.
    Take it to knit night. And let someone there tell you. I suspect that you’ll be very disappointed if you add extra inches – you’ll end up with a flowing orange sack, the weight of which will pull the top down so the collar line is hanging around your nipples. Then you’ll be really annoyed.

  89. Don’t look at is as your tank top that failed, look at it as tank top that someone else will love. See? Christmas knitting done.

  90. I have found that cotton knit garments often grow in length when worn (I don’t think it will shrink, because I don’t see you throwing it in the washer and dryer!), so I would keep calm and knit on. Your old Flow wouldn’t lie to you.

  91. I vote for finishing it as it is and basting it together to try on. If it turns out that it doesn’t work for you, I like the idea from Carole at 5:29 – the bag — especially since a tank top is essentially two straps and a bag that only need be sewn at the bottom.

  92. I’d keep knitting. If it really feels sucky when you’re done, you won’t want to wear it, so I’d find someone else who will love it, and make another in the yarn from Flow #1.

  93. I say leave it, but I’ve read your blog long enough to know that when you blog about it again, you will tell us you altered it in some way. Then you will tell us that you should not have altered it. 🙂
    Can’t wait to see some FO’s, I’ve missed your FO photos.

  94. For next time, Creative Yarns has Seduce. They’re at Warden and Ellesmere, which probably isn’t super-local, but it is TTC accessible.
    As for the current piece, totally keep knitting it. Even if you don’t love it, you might think of someone who would appreciate it!

  95. Long day…too tired to read all comments…please forgive if I’m repeating someone, or if I’m not understanding the word “drape.”
    We measure things in two dimensions (where the knitting is laid out flat out on a bed, so you have length and width), but we wear things in three dimensions (imagine laying out the knitting over a teddy bear sitting on the bed, giving you length, width and depth).
    Could it be that the two yarns will act differently in a three dimensional world? I mean, when you put it on, perhaps the cotton will flow over your breasts differently than the rayon. Perhaps? Again, please forgive me if I have just defined “drape.”
    Congratulation on finishing your ride. You truly are an inspiration.

  96. If it ends up being wrong raffle it out for short waisted people and make a late donation to your bike rally. Easy peasy.

  97. You KNOW in the hidden recesses of your knitterly memory that cotton will knit to perfect gauge, length, and width, and then when it’s done, will get “shorter and wider with time, as we all do” as a cheerful round knitter friend of mine once said (she was right).
    I’d make the top part a bit longer to account for the shift to come, but be careful with the length of the armholes.
    The cotton is a pretty color, and will be comfortable, too (I think)
    (and ultimately, it will fit someone, and if it isn’t you, you get to find another lovely yarn next summer and do it again! What’s not to love?)

  98. 1) Have a beer. 2) Get some rest. 3) Flip a coin to see who in your family will be the delighted recipient.

  99. I agree with the folks that are saying, a. “drape” and b.”shrinkage.” I know cotton sometimes gets longer as well, but there’s a good chance it will be in the wrong places.
    Is there another option you could go with? Use this yarn for another project?
    You could go with your gut (I would), or ignore it, and then give it away/frog/whatever once it’s done, if it doesn’t work. Only you can decide that.
    But, if it were me, I’d stop now, and look at another yarn: Valley Yarns Longmeadow, one of the Tencel blends from WEBS, or one of the viscose/microfiber yarns on sale from DBNY/Adrienne Vittadini. There are reasonably priced alternatives…just saying.

  100. I would give it to me. I would look great in that color and I love cotton.
    Just kidding – it is not the same yarn so it will not be the same, same, same – but clearly it bears the same measurements. If the same measurements in that yarn mean that you don’t like how it drapes, then I would do the old “binder clips at the shoulders” try on and see how the front drapes now – then make the call.

  101. It just drapes differently, even though they’re the same length. How do you want it to feel?
    You can finish as is and baste the shoulder seams, don’t put trim around the armholes, and see what it looks/feels like. But go ahead and finish first. I do this all the time, the fussing to make it just right. It’s worth it.

  102. What I would do is not likely what you would. Put it away until next summer. Time heals…..

  103. Omg Robin@1:20: running diapers… I laughed so hard I spewed my wine! Luckily, the red wine missed the blue socks I’m currently working on.
    Stephan: trust your gut, but maybe a funky border at thebottom would work? Sounds like you are not entirely too keen on this one. I too predict this will be either a) something else entirely, or 2) finished & gifted away.

  104. rip it, whenever I don’t follow my gut, I have he regrets, and rip it any way…..guts all the way

  105. First of all, this is my first comment in a while, so let me just say congratulations for your brilliant work at the Rally. You are an enormous inspiration to me.
    Secondly, if I were you, I’d keep knitting the back, then tack it together and try it on. But, a hundred people have suggested that already. Either way, I hope you find a solution that makes you happy. 🙂
    Thirdly, I want you to know that the last few sentences of your post made my day, and I will be using that reasoning to explain all yarn-related mischief for the rest of my life. Thnk you for being brilliant!

  106. Well, even though it is not shaped up yet, I’d put it on my body and see what happens; see how it flows over the curves, especially as you have a reference in the other top. Cotton is wierd. I knit a lot with it (many many Daisy sweaters), but it can bulk funny and not stretch and then streeetch, but doesn’t bounce light back.

  107. Provisional row in the same color. Add an inch or two afterwards if you need it. Ignore, if not.

  108. Now, I have no idea how it shapes up, and how it feels (we would have to see bigger piece of the knittint to be the judge of teh shape, and touch it personally abut the feel), BUT… I LOVE that orange yarn. I fell absolutely unreasonably in love with it. So, if you end up finishing and hating it…you know whom to give it to 🙂

  109. Ok… I havent read absolutely all the comments, but here is what I would do (yep, truly, even though it sounds totally odd… becuase knitting keeps me awake at night…). Here goes – I would try my original flow on, and pop a wee safety pin (or use that scruffy bit of chalk from the drawer ’cause I can’t find a pin when I need it)to show exactly where the hem length comes to on my jeans (or whatever one is wearing). Then, take the original Flow off and hold the new Flow up, and see if its own hem is sitting about where I marked it… the no-frills way to see if drape, or colour, or any other influence is mucking with my instincts on length. It could work, right?

  110. I think it’s all about the drape of the rayon and the structure of cotton. You’ll have two different flows, but each will be wonderful. You might end up liking the Samea better in the long run. It has more durability and may even be more fun as it ages.
    I knew everyone could count on you on the bike rally. It was all of our support behind you and your internal drive for the cause.

  111. I think it is drape. It could be that since cotton is not stretchy at all that the horizontal pull across the body is going to cause it to ride up more than the original one, so it seems shorter. The one thing I would suggest (to assuage your nagging feeling that is probably right) is to put a lifeline in, baste the side seams and try it on. Try both it and the original on and see what is weird about it. You know it will take much less time to do that than it will to rip the whole thing out 🙂 It won’t be entirely accurate, but it may give you a hint that the tape measure can’t.

  112. If the worst happens, a turtleneck underneath and winter will cure it. Leave the combo on the back of a chair and a daughter roaming through will claim it.

  113. They are ALL right. It is DRAPE,it is DIFFERENT from the first one, it is COTTON not rayon and my personal favorite…it LOOKS DIFFERENT IN THE PICTURE PROVIDED….it does not look at all as if the gauge is the same. If you are going to continue on, make sure you leave yourself an out so there is MINIMAL frogging to be done if your instincts (and mine) are right.

  114. Its stockinette. If its too short, you can knit down without compromising the stitch pattern. You may want to leave the last inch of the bottom edge to sew together last, just in case.
    I think its is going to look smashing.

  115. This particular issue has bitten me on the bum several times in my knitting career. I tossed or gave away several items that didn’t perform as expected, then finally learned as I ripped out another one.
    Your instincts are good. But it’s not the length that’s going to be the problem. It’s the drape. And when those beautiful tops are hanging up, side by side, I’ll bet the cotton one stands out wider than the rayon one — which makes it look shorter, even though it’s exactly the same length. So, perhaps the question isn’t, “Is it long enough?”, but instead, “Is this going to fall over my hips the way I expect it to?” Followed immediately by, “Does it matter?” If it does, rip it out and knit something else with it.

  116. I’ve looked at all the photos including your previous version, and IMHO the way it fits through the shoulders and bust is crucial, and you sure got it right the first time! We know the new one won’t “slink” the same because the fiber is different, but if you baste it together when you’re through with both pieces and it feels right through the shoulders and bust, I’d go ahead and finish it.
    I did see that another knitters’ version looks considerably longer than yours, and if you don’t mind it turning out a bit longer when you’re through as long as the shoulders/bust fit really well and you have enough yarn, then pay attention to your intuition and add the extra.
    Being petite has it’s issues: if your new top is longer than the first will it feel wong? If I wear a sweater with dropped shoulders I look (and feel) as if I’m a kid dressed up in her mom’s clothing.
    Howzat for having it both ways? Oh, well!

  117. It’s fear Steph. Fear of the new stuff. Fear of leaving what is known to you. Fear of the “not sameness”.
    It’s just fear dearest. The same fear you had of the bike ride. It’s all so unknown to you.
    This fear too; shall pass.

  118. I expect that while you feel it’s too short, which it doesn’t seem to be since you measured, it’s really the fact that it’s “different” that’s bugging you. I would say it won’t be too short, but you will never like it the way you like the first one. I know you’re almost done, but I would think of something else to make out of this yarn and re-do the second flow with the same yarn as the first one. (If you can’t find another color that you really like, make another one in the same color.)

  119. I might think about basting together (or pinning it) what you’ve got done and trying it on before making any decisions.

  120. You are so right…they do look different and it is likely because of the yarn. The cotton top appears to be much tighter. Like others have suggested I would pin the pieces together and see how they fit. I hate stitching things together and having to take them apart, so I wouldn’t go,that far.
    Good luck.

  121. That Aliceq (fourth comment) is a genius. And your knitter’s “third eye” is unerring. Cotton is going to shrink lengthwise and grow widthwise. It may measure the same as the Seduce version now, but it won’t after a couple of soaks.
    If it were me, I’d go ahead and finish this up and gift it to a friend who’s a bit shorter and wider. There is a beautiful deep rich color of Seduce called cinnabar lacquer. You will look awesome in it even though it will take you out of your comfort zone. Ask a local shop to order it for you and start your next Flow in February. Even before it begins to warm up, it will look great over a scoop-neck long-sleeved black T – preferably in a rayon blend. You could pair it with a comfy black skirt and go visit the queen, you’ll look so totally elegant!

  122. Grab a beer, put away your measuring tools, finish the little bugger, give it a good home, and reward yourself with a new beautiful yarn that has same fiber content as the first…or accept the first as a one-and-only, which would make it all the more special.

  123. I will only say that I have played out this scenario many a time, and I have never been happy about my decision to carry on when I knew something was wrong.
    The problem is sometimes I can’t figure out what it wrong, and I’m unwilling to wait, so I forge onward! And live to wish I had just slowed down, maybe stepped away, had a drink and thought some more.
    This is the reason I have a beautiful, steeked Autumn Leaves cardigan on the needles somewhere that is about….oh, 3″ too small across the bust. Awesome.

  124. I would thread a needle up both sides of the sweater & try it on as is, if it fits keep knitting, if not frog away. It will never be “the same” this is a new friend you will have to go thru the introductions then decide if you hit it off or not. This one may stay as an acquaintance you have coffee with from time to time not a true beer buddy like your last one:-)

  125. Am I correctly recalling a similar gut feeling with Flow the First? And that you kept knitting anyway and it was perfect? Hmm… Congrats again on your amazing cycling accomplishments!

  126. I’d add the extra length. It might not be such a bad thing to have something slightly different. . .
    I’m stuck, on my Flow. You’re totally right. It’s an awesome pattern, & it looks great on every type of body I’ve ever seen it on. But I’m knitting a bulky wool cable sweater right now. Why? No clue, but for some reason it’s been yelling at me to finish. My Flow will probably be done in January. Which I guess means that I’ll need to take a tropical vacation then.

  127. Have read some but not all the comments, so forgive any duplication in my suggestion. I might try Flo in Elsebeth Lavold’s Hempathy (41%cotton, 34% hemp, 25% rayon, DK weight, 8 ply/11 wpi). It has some drape, a tiny bit of sheen to it and comes in lots of colors. I find it a dream to knit with.

  128. I would check my notes on the original. Did I add bust darts? Was there some tweaking of the pattern somewhere along the way?
    If not, then I’m guessing the color is throwing you off. Colors are sneaky things, especially in yarn – double sneaky! I don’t think I’d add anything as cotton stretches like crazy and I’m positive if you add length it will be too long.
    If it all goes to crap – give it away! 🙂

  129. I would knit it and then use safety pins to attach the pieces and try it on. If it feels too short on, then you can rip the shoulders back and do a couple more centimeters. But if it correct then you will hopefully have more confidence before seaming up.

  130. Ravelry helps. Using a cotton yarn hasn’t been posted much as a finished project on Flow – I think this means it either hasn’t worked for knitters (quite likely) or nobody has tried a yarn that is less expensive (unlikely). Otherwise, refer to previous post regarding cotton making ‘squiggles’, unlike rayon.
    (Unfortunately not an original thought – see ?Manis work, recently mentioned in Mason-Dixon Knitting with her third book on handmaking clothing out of previously loved T shirts etc) when in her first book she mentions the inherent qualities of cotton.) I borrowed this from library – it is useful to dip into, and found it very informative.

  131. I’m hoping this post goes through as others haven’t. The two sweaters don’t look the same to me either because the yarn is different , however they’ll likely fit in a similar manner.
    Good luck.

  132. Cotton will never feel or look like rayon any more than an orange will look and taste like an apple. Find some rayon yarn in a color you like…save the cotton for the next bike tour giveaway…I don’t like knitting or wearing anything made of cotton yarn.

  133. Remember that cotton will stretch over time. Trust that as you wear it, it will get a wee bit longer.
    Also, it is a really autumnal color, so even if it is a little too short, it would look great under a scoop neck sweater in the fall.

  134. I would do this: I’d talk to myself and say the following, ” Self, you are a very smart woman but you may have had an episode of average intelligence when you thought this would work. Remember Self, that cotton will stretch. That nagging thought that it is not quite right will eat at you and that tank will stay in the closet because you will come do view it very negatively. Self, do the only rational thing. BAIL.”
    But then, being super smart, I will save that cotton and use it for something lovely and cotton appropriate. Something that does not have the words flow or drape anywhere.

  135. The gauge is the same but the wool strand look fatter and more even on the cotton one, so visually the stitches look bigger and make it look shorter and wider.

  136. Whenever I make the same pattern twice I ALWAYS end up changing something…..even though I decided to make it again because it was such a perfect fit etc and I just loved it!! Doesn’t every knitter look at a pattern and say “I really like this, but I would use a different colour and maybe chang the sleeve a bit? It’s because knitters are creative!!!!!

  137. You’re being a reasonable knitter, but not a reasonable seamstress. Rayon drapes, cotton does not (well, this one doesn’t). Drapey things drape :-). I had some of the same thing with a friend last week – she brought a t-shirt she loves. We used a pattern that’s loose, and fabric that drapes well. I made her cut it 4″ longer, against strenuous protests. She likes it. I know it does that, because I’ve made that loose shirt before.
    Conclusion: go with your instinct. Make it longer.

  138. If it’s a smidge thicker, the same won’t look the same even if it is the same. It will look shorter. Thicker sweaters need to be longer than thin sweaters in order to read the same, imo.

  139. Perhaps one of the other commenters said the same thing, but the weight and drape are probably quite different, and that may be causing the different perceived length. When hanging/wearing, the Seduce may actually BE longer, as the stitches may elongate. I have had this happen with Rayon, one reason why Rayon knits often “bag” with wear and need frequent re-blocking. I have lengthened sweaters and dresses by as much as 2-3″ by hanging them wet, and with little apparent change in girth(by the garment, not me!) Also, a slinky drapey fabric may skim over the body, and appear more flattering at a as it hangs and moves. You could try on the two Flows and mark your jeans where they hit with chalk to see if there is an actual, or virtual/pretend difference in length……

  140. Remember: “Knitting Loves Crochet” so grab your crochet needle and add what is needed to all around with something lacey/swingy as a wide edging to even things out and enjoy wearing it! Handkerchief edges are not even either…

  141. When I went to block it, I would Stretch the dickens out of if so it FELT like the right length! You are dealing with how it feels on not what is correct….. It’s another Left brain sabotage situation I think. And we all know our Right brain speaks Our truth!

  142. I’d rip it out and start again using different yarn. Life is too short and knitting is too slow to ignore your instincts.

  143. It may just not have the same drape either. So Seduce might just slither down better while on.
    I’d find a more Seduce-like yarn to make another one and see whether the cotton grows on me (pun intended) later — like next year. You can always give it away.

  144. About your FB resistance. Cave. I’ve found it pretty dang wonderful for actually establishing some connections I would not otherwise have renewed. It provides the perfect amount of socialization for the introvert that is I-in some cases. Remember that it’s not the tool that creates the triviality… it’s the people using the tool. You are ultimately in control of how you use FB. It’s not a replacement for relationships. It can help the process of creating relationships and it can help facilitate them, but don’t be concerned it will trivialize relationships you already have. FB isn’t using you (well, if you wanna go into the marketing aspects… that’s a whole ‘nuther ball of wax…) but rather, YOU are using FB. I think as long as you maintain an awareness of your actions, you’ll be fine….also…what makes FB any more trivializing of relationships than Twitter?

  145. Judging by the picture the stitches are more open on your old one than on the new one. Maybe the slightly denser knitting plays an optical illusion on you…
    You can try two more tests:
    1: put on the green one, take a good look in the mirror. Is it too short?
    2: pin the new front to the old front and put it on. Does it look good?
    3: Pin the new front to the old one once more, but this time you shift the new one a few centimeters down. Put it on and check the mirror once again.
    I hope this can give you the answer with minimal effort and not too many scratches from the needles….
    Happy knitting!

  146. I’m thinking that the difference in fiber means the ‘slip’ for lack of a better word, is different. You could always pick up at the bottom and add an eyelet band?

  147. If it still feels too short when you finish, why not add a little lace edging to it. That could add a little somethin’ somethin’ to it and make it long enough.

  148. it is not too short; go with the measurements. Plus, being cotton it will stretch with wear. Gravity does that when you wear it, not when you measure it.

  149. Trust your instincts. You’ve already washed and blocked the front; I’d give it a time out and pin and hang it for a bit (48 hours or so) and see what Samea wants to do. It won’t be the same as the first, but different might still be OK.

  150. Pack it in a box, mail it too a random location. Most likely south as opposed to north. Order new YARN in the RIGHT kind and start again. Refusing to acknowledge that the other one may have ever existed.
    But, I don’t pretend to be reasonable.

  151. P.S. – the more reasonable answer would have been. The DRAPE is missing, hence the thought and actuality of it seeming shorter cause, there is no DRAPE and flowingness (<— knitter term).

  152. Honestly, it sounds to me like you just don’t want to knit that piece in that yarn. I know you’ve come far, and I know I have far less knitting experience, but I’ve knit a couple sweaters in the last few years that I finished and realized I found difficult to knit because I no longer wanted them, or no longer liked the yarn.

  153. A heftier yarn might move in a “bigger” way than a lighter yarn. Kinda like how a button that is the same width, but thicker, would need a bigger buttonhole. Maybe?

  154. I found many small bleached spots on my clothes which I’ve finally traced back to sprays of toilet cleaner somehow coming back to me, somehow! Hope you find your culprit.

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