Randomly on a Thursday

1. All the parts of my sweater are done.

2. They are not all dry. 

3. When I was at home, I washed the pieces as I finished them, and blocked them flat on a rack that fits in my dryer.  This was super fast.

4. Last night, I washed the final sleeve, and laid it out flat to dry in the hotel.  It looked a lot bigger than the other sleeve.

5. When I compared the two sleeves, it turns out that the reason the wet sleeve looks a lot bigger than the dry sleeve is because it really, really is.

6. There is no reason for this.  Same needles, same number of stitches, same number of rows.  All same. Totally the same. Absolutely the same. I am sure they are the same every way that it is possible for a knitter to be sure.

7. Yet, they are not the same, which shouldn’t really shock me, because sometimes knitting doesn’t care about things like "if you knit two things that are the same in the same way they should be the same." Knitting’s bad ass like that.

8. I think maybe they aren’t the same because one is wet and drying on a hotel duvet, and one is dry and was dried on a rack in the dryer. Maybe that matters?

9. So this morning I decided that it would be a really great idea to sit on the floor of my hotel bathroom with the sleeve,  a cup of coffee and the hotel room hair dryer – and try to dry it like that. 

10. For the record, this is an incredibly stupid and ineffective way to dry a sweater sleeve.  Just in case it ever comes up.

120 thoughts on “Randomly on a Thursday

  1. lovely colour! One of the best tips my Mom gave me was to knit both sleeves at the same time on the same needles – pretty well insures that they will be the same size! I do the same thing with fronts on a cardigan – knit both at the same time while reversing shaping.
    Hope you do not have to reknit it!

  2. Can you sort of “scrunch” the bigger sleeve down as it dries to match the size of the other one? Or are we talking a monumental difference in size that cannot be scrunched?

  3. Agree with #8, thanks for the advice (#10) I would have tried that. I very likely would have spilled my coffee, probably ON the sleeve. Clearly you are more talented than I. (NOT a late-breaking news-flash.)
    Knitting is not only bad-ass, it is the honey-badger of crafts. See “Honey Badger don’t care” on YouTUbe.

  4. There’s only one possible reason: it’s not a sleeve, it’s a large, filthy, lying swatch.

  5. I think it is because one sleeve is wet and the other is dry. Many times I have been horrified when I have taken a hand knit sweater out of the bathtub to block and it has almost doubled in size. As long as the wool isn’t superwash it always shrinks back up as it dries. There’s hope!

  6. Well, it had to happen some time with all the smack talk you were throwing the fates. At least you can get the older sleeve and the new sleeve and block them togather so they match really well. Only then I bet they’ll be the wrong size for the armhole *snerk*

  7. Where are you and what is your dryer? Maybe there is a knitter nearby who knows of a dryer you could use. Knitters are like that.

  8. That’s why I knit sleeves at the same time, if I can possibly do it! (See also: sweater where front and back didn’t match even though same needle, # of stitches, etc., etc.)

  9. What if you soaked the other sleeve and repeated the process so they’re the same size?
    Of course, this is probably not a good way to do things but, you know, just a thought….

  10. Does the hotel room have an iron? If yes, then I’d thoroughly wet the smaller sleeve, stretch it to match the bigger one, and iron them with a dry towel over them. It would help get them dry and they’d be the same size. Good luck!

  11. Oh no!! I’ve never blocked anything before, but it sounds like the two different ways you’ve blocked the two sleeves has made a big difference.
    Hope it all works out 🙂

  12. It may be ineffective, but it has to be better than the oven… The sweater parts are beautiful….

  13. I agree with Laurelharper. I hope though that you are able to make the sleeves come to a consensus on how big they should be compared to the body.

  14. Sitting on the floor with coffee and a blow dryer beats sitting in a conference room discussing what I’m going to be discussing later this afternoon. It’s one of the few faculty meetings where I cannot knit.

  15. This is why I always knit both sleeves at the same time on the same needles. Not only do they come out the same size, but I avoid second sleeve syndrome.

  16. And that’s the key to your charm — I would totally try drying something I knit with a hair dryer, and I love reading that someone as talented and clever as you tried it too!

  17. I’ve had that happen with gloves, but I figured it was because I was more confident with the lace on the second glove and knit it looser.

  18. FYI: A more ineffective way to dry a sweater sleeve is to use the hand dryer in any washroom.
    I have not tried it as a blocking method but as a “Needed to wash the sleeve to prevent stains and still want dry clothes” method. Hair dryer beats this hands down.
    For this: Are you sure you weren’t more relaxed doing the second sleeve?

  19. A duvet is a terrible place to dry anything. The wet duvet keeps the wool wet, and it doesn’t allow air space underneath. If there is open air space on both sides, wet wool will dry over four times faster than with air on only one side, and that’s even without a fan. The hair dryer is a good idea but it needs air space for the water to go to. Maybe you could ask the hotel to supply an electric fan.

  20. First, you need more coffee. And a blow dryer is better than an oven. As for the difference – could you wash both again, and dry in the same manner? Good luck – the pattern is striking.

  21. I agree with Deborah C.
    And today is Thursday…which means you still have nearly 48 hours before said Rhinebeck sweater needs to put in its appearance…and at least one night when you ought to be able to sew it together.
    At least you have a Rhinebeck sweater. I have re-done corrugated ribbing so many times, I should have a second sleeve at least done.

  22. The pieces are gorgeous. Love the color! But perhaps designating it as a Rhinebeck Sweater has jinxed it. I too would try reblocking the smaller sleeve.

  23. Why don’t you just reblock the smaller sleeve and let them both dry the same. Would that work?

  24. Could you explain about the drying rack? My dryer only tumbles dry. Is there some technology I should know about (that might dry my Fibonacci Neckerchief before I hop in the car to Rhinebeck tomorrow)? And didn’t you get into trouble with trying to hasten the drying process last year? Just saying…

  25. Its easy easy easy
    Its Rhinebeck you are not ment to have or make a new sweater for it.
    Just accept that and move on.

  26. I agree that the only way to go, is to soak both sleeves and block them at the same time. You still have many hours left before Rhinebeck, you can do it!!!
    I also wonder about that drying rack that fits IN your dryer?
    Knitters need to know about those things… 🙂

  27. Put me on the list of wanting to know about this “drying on a rack in the dryer” situation.
    I HAVE a dryer; where does one get a rack to fit it?
    Inquiring minds want to know….

  28. I really, really hope that it’s because of the different blocking methods, not because of anything else (such as the number of stitches on the second one actually being 75 instead of 57, or something like that).
    It’ll be fine, though–even Gwendolyn came out beautifully, and she was kind of a tragic story for a while.

  29. Have you tried knitting two at once? I find that frequently if I have things that need to be the same size (like socks or sleeves, if I knit them at the same time on long circulars then even if my gauge changes it changes the same on both of them and they come out even.

  30. The Rhinebeck sweater posts are always the best. Is it bad that I giggle over your struggle? Because I can’t help it. So funny.

  31. Yeah, I like to knit sleeves, socks, wristlets, etc. at the same time. I am terrible at the “second anything” syndrome, I would never finish anything except scarves and shawls if I always had to knit the same thing twice.

  32. There are dryers that have a rack that fits in the inside of the drum; spring loaded I think. These dryers also have an “air only” function, which just circulates room temp air through the drum. The rack stops the dryer drum from spinning around, so there’s no agitation. Because your knitting, sneakers, boot liners, mittens etc are on a rack, the air flows through and the item dries faster. The ability to dry boot liners is a blessing to those of us with small children in snowy Canada. I had one when I had small children, don’t have one now and miss it.

  33. I would totally be doing the hair dryer thing if it were me, too.
    I agree with the suggestion to reblock them both together if that doesn’t work, before ripping anything out.
    Hope everything works out!!!

  34. Yep, must be the wet and dry difference, or, what I initially thought: other type of wooldetergent or maybe, it is the hotelwater. harder, softer than at your home. Or you were so frustrated by the passport, cables, luggage items you just knitted the snot out of the second sleeve (your own words).

  35. I knit a sweater in one piece in the round and still the left side is significantly longer than the other, even after blocking the heck out of it. There is no way for this to be true, and yet it is….

  36. Yup – just like my slippers, knit exactly the same, with the same yarn, same every which way and still one is bigger than the other. Hope felting evens them out just like I hope drying evens yours out. At least it’s not singed.

  37. One way to speed up drying is to roll it in a towel and twist it, or walk on it.
    However, if it ends up being bigger, simply figure out which of your arms is bigger, and set the arms in accordingly. Hint: If you are left handed, your left arm might be a tad bigger, etc.

  38. #10 is equally ineffective on sink-washed cotton underwear when you are on a business trip and miscounted the number of days you would be gone.

  39. I just love the artistry of showing disembodied sweater parts! And who can’t appreciate the beauty of hand-knit items against mundane hotel decor. As always, your photos are just as amazing as the knitting.

  40. Hmmm…I have a dryer that came with a drying rack and yet I have never utilized it for anything at all including my blocked knitted items, but now I will! Now that winter’s coming in my part of the country things take much longer to dry on a blocking mat.
    Thanks everyone who mentioned this ~ can’t believe I was too dumb to think of it myself! By the way, Steph, the sweater is a beautiful color and I agree with Renee Anne that maybe you could try blocking the first sleeve again in the same way as the second ~ it might work!

  41. To get that air space underneath the sleeve (as mentioned by Tamar at 11:14 AM) you could whip up some netting with the extra yarn you must have lying about, stretch the netting over the arms of that chair I see in your photo, and place the sleeve upon the netting. Voila, perfect place to work your hair dryer magic.

  42. Really, trying to dry it with a hair dryer is a bad idea? It seems so sensible.
    Also, Leslie who commented at 2:14 might just be a SUPER GENIUS.

  43. This may be the dumbest question ever but . . . are you sure you blocked the first sleeve? You remember blocking as you went but are you positive you remembered to block the sleeve?
    Either way, I’d do as others have suggested by reblocking the first one to match the second.

  44. Knitty Naughty…. it’s all there in the language:
    knitting is size spooky and full of counting demons
    Knitting is the Trickster we cannot live without.

  45. IMHO it’s the disgusting, lying swatch gods at work! ;)) I’m just peeved because I finished a really beautiful hat, after getting gauge, the pattern on the chart came out lovely. And the fricking hat might, just might, fit a 3 year old. With a small head. Honestly, it probably would fit my dog, if she were inclined to wear hats.
    And I kinda thought as I was knitting that it seemed a mite smallish but then convinced myself that it was going to stretch (and after all I had gotten gauge when I did the damn swatch).
    Spent a ridiculous 5 minutes last night trying to stretch the damn hat over my 18-year-old daughter’s head while she was laughing hysterically. Then did some deep breathing and packed it away in the gift stash box for the time in the future when there are young nieces and/or granddaughters around.

  46. Oh dear – not your week 🙁
    I knit sleeves/cardigan fronts/socks/anything that comes in pairs at the same time.
    I’d go mad with boredom otherwise.
    What’re you going to do then?

  47. Stephanie, it is probably the fact that you dried the other sweater parts on a rack in the dryer that makes the difference. I hope you get things figured out.
    On the other hand, you have made me feel better knowing that even an expert knitter goofs sometimes.

  48. I have to say I had a sinking feeling when you had completed only one sleeve. (If at all possible, I knit them at the same time – all the increases/decreases appear at the same time whether in the right spot or not, and the gauge is the same.) I’m not sure how much wet stuff can be expected to shrink (and let’s hope that is the case here), or if it’s truly a gauge issue. You were probably more tense when you knit the first sleeve. I’d suggest washing both and blocking at the same time.

  49. OMG,I thought that only happened to me. I’ve ended up with miss-matched sleeves or front panels several times. After the third incident, I started knitting both pieces at the same time. Occationally I forget or convince myself that this time things will be different and do them one at a time, and then I usually end up regretting doing so. I call Three Sleeve Sweater Syndrome. Hope it shrinks when it dries!

  50. When I knit without looking, my gauge is larger than when I knit with my eyes on it. I think I exaggerate the stitches when I’m not looking.

  51. Steph, I think it is the “Curse of the Rhinebeck Sweater” for you! Didn’t last year’s Gwendolyn take you out and around the farm like a lassoed calf???? Just saying….

  52. I read today’s post and the first few comments and I was feeling rather smug as I currently have 2 sleeves on the same needle – up to the cap shaping section. Just a few minutes ago, I realized that I had 38 stitches on one sleeve and 32 stitches on the other!!! Yikes!

  53. Maybe it’s the knitting god saying you’ve been a bad girl and have been putting off adding buttons to the sweater for your baby that’s been lying around for so long that she’s almost outgrown it… oh wait, that’s me.

  54. Hey, at least you’re going to Rhinebeck. I live about two and a half to three hours away, and was planning on going this year. Sadly, my car is about to give up the ghost and I’m afraid to drive it even the eight miles to the nearest city at the moment. I even finished a top down wrap cardigan that I was going to wear to Rhinebeck, but a car with valve problems and a slipping transmission has no business going that far. So alas I won’t be able to meet you, yet again. Maybe next year when you have a new book to sign. BTW, I’m voting that the sleeves probably aren’t a different size, but that drying one in the dryer made it shrink slightly. I’ve dried lots of sweaters on my dryer rack and they always come out smaller than when they are wet.

  55. Not related to knitting adventures, but let me warn against using a blow dryer to defrost a freezer unless you’re interested in seeing insulation exude in tiny balls through the freezer walls. Doesn’t take that long, either.

  56. Why not start the next Reinbeck sweater as soon as you get home, and dipence with all the drama next year?
    Oh Wait! You thrive on drama!
    Love you!

  57. You may have gotten a visit from the f@*k up fairy. Which is good for me because I really needed a break from her.

  58. If you go back to your previous post I do believe it states something about knitting a sleeve in the cab while reviewing everything you forgot to bring do to your unfortunate change in travel ready routine. Could this be the cause of the different sized sleeves????

  59. It was a bathroom. There was a mirror. Incredibly stupid and ineffective, maybe, but don’t be selfish — also incredibly entertaining to those not involved. Missed a chance, there, pud’.

  60. I one used a hotel blow drier to dry socks that I’d washed in the sink. Just tuck the air-blowing end into the sock, put it on the counter, and keep an eye on it while brushing your teeth. Not recommended for handknits.

  61. I still think a hair dryer is a better way to go than an oven. Just sayin’. (Does the hotel have laundry service? Maybe you could use their dryer? Or look for a laundromat)

  62. Do you remember how many pints were consumed during each sleeve, or what was going on in your life. Maybe we should look back at the blog for evidence…I’m sorry, really I am.

  63. Did the hotel not have a dryer you could “borrow”? Or would that have been a hopeless possibility.

  64. Steph, at least you finished knitting yours. I’ve got most of the body done, one sleeve half-done, and the other sleeve nowhere in sight. And I’m not sure I’ll have enough yarn to finish.
    Who started this stupid tradition of having to knit a Rhinebeck sweater anyway? 🙁

  65. I am sure the Knitting Deities are laughing themselves silly about how pride goeth before a fall. . .
    Maybe you can appease them by reading aloud appropriate passages from the works of St. Elizabeth Zimmerman while providing a burnt offering of a small (very, very small) amount of a lovely blend of qiviut, alpaca, silk, angora, cashmere, chinchilla, and unicorn down — naturally dyed with a mix of indigo and angel’s tears. Might work, especially if you can get U2 or the Vienna Boys Choir to sing a hymn during the reading.

  66. Maryann at October 18, 2012 12:56 PM: “Because it would seriously rock to have a rack.”
    Heh, you said rack. Really, it means extra yarn and shaping in your sweaters, and gives a place for your spaghetti sauce drips to land. Mixed blessing, really, because you look sexy as all Hell in shaped sweaters. With orange spots on them. 🙂

  67. You are testing the Gods to dry 2 sleeves at different times in different ways!! Really? I am in a panic about this! I always wet and lay everything out at the same time – so there are no strange humidity and barametric subtleties that might change things.
    It happened once with a Christmas stocking – same number of stitches, same yarn, same exact needles – and it became bigger than the rest because I blocked it at a different time.

  68. When i read the first 3 lines of this blog post, i had a sinking feeling in my tummy. I did not like the idea of smelly shoes in the dryer and threw away the tray. Ditto the karoke singing with the dvd thingy, i threw away the mike.

  69. I hope they miraculously are the same size once dry. Or maybe that you can develop an imperceptible difference in arm length that means you just really need a longer sleeve.
    I know, it is horrible. I’m sure it’s just my medication talking.

  70. I can’t wait to see you and your sweater this weekend @ Rhinebeck! I promise I won’t make a fool of myself if I bump into you in the ladies room like I did last year.

  71. Even though it seems like sleeves take forever…I knit them two at a time so my rows, tension, increases and decreases are exactly the same.

  72. Ask anybody who is old enough to remember hand knit wool bathing suits. They grow when wet. They grow an amazing amount. Back in the day they sold special bathing suit knitting wool that wasn’t supposed to grow, but my mother said it did anyway.
    If your second arm is now dry and is not the same size as the first, it may be because it was not dried in the same way. You can either take it home and re-wet it and dry it in the dryer, or re-wet both pieces in your hotel room and dry them both the same way. I stack them one on top of the other and pin through both pieces, let that sit for a few hours, then unpin and reverse the pieces and repeat.

  73. I knit both sleeves at the same time (same needles, two balls of yarn) so if I make a mistake or misinterpret the instructions both sleeves suffer alike. (Not that I’m saying you make a mistake!! LOL)
    I tend to knit the pattern pieces in the order given so by the time I get to the sleeves I’m generally pretty sick of the whole thing and knitting 2 sleeves at once *feels* faster.

  74. The sleeves are different sizes because they were not knitted one after the other. Too much time passed and you were in a different frame of mind. A knitter’s frame of mind influences the knitting. Maybe you can fix it by blocking out the smaller one or shrinking the larger one. Best of luck. It will be a gorgeous sweater!

  75. If it had been me, I would have sat down on the floor of the hotel room with a cup of coffee and cried.

  76. I think it’s the reason why my grandmother knitted the two sleeves at the same time…I don’t always do it that way…but I should!

  77. I think our New York weather will take care of the overall dampening just fine. Couldn’t be much foggier or damper!

  78. I’m so glad I read this post before embarking on the sleeves for a friend’s sweater. I couldn’t decide whether to do both sleeves at once or not. Sounds like knitting sleeves is the same as making fudge – even the weather has to be right – and for the record, I’m terrible at making fudge. I’m also terrible at making jam – found out the hard way you can’t double the recipe – so should I not knit both sleeves at once? Oy! Maybe I’ll just make the sweater a vest instead.

  79. So I saw you at Rhinebeck today, but you were sitting down to lunch with a group of ladies next to my friend and I and I didn’t want to be all fangirl-y while you were eating…That said, Miss BB looked just as beautiful in person as it did on the internet, and that color is perfectly autumnal and lovely on you.

  80. I am suffering from a Rhinebeck hangover, aka buyer’s remorse, aka what the heck am I going to do with all of this yarn? Anyway, while I did not see you today, whereas I have in the past, it was glorious as usual and I bought yarn, fiber and then some. Probably looking at repeat carpal tunnel surgeries, but it is totally worth it! As an added bonus, my husband is expressing some interest in learning to spin. Does it get any better?

  81. Back to #2 and the dryer rack. My dryer has that option but when I checked about getting one, my manual said it was an only in the US option. How did you get yours?

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