Here’s how much I’ve got of Little Wave…


A very pretty cast on and seven long rows of the whole sweater, front, back and front,  and you should have a good look, because this evening when I sit down, it’s going to the frog pond for a lovely swim, and I’d feel bad about it, but I’m actually pretty happy.

When I went to cast on last night I did something a little dumb. I made the executive decision to cast on the second size, which has a finished bust measurement of 36.5″/ 93cm. I did this despite knowing that my bust is 37″/ 94cm, and despite getting gauge, and so knowing that the sweater was going to come out smaller than my bust, while hoping for at least some ease. I did it because I didn’t have enough yarn for the next size up, because inexplicably, I only bought six skeins of that yarn, and that’s not quite enough for a sweater.  To tell you the truth, I was pretty surprised that I would make the decision to only buy six skeins, and for a day or two I’ve been trying to figure out why I’d do it.  Were there only six skeins at the shop when I bought it?  Why would I buy it if there were only six? Could I only afford six, and when the yarn budget ran out I was so besotted with the yarn that I just bought what I could so that I’d have it it anyway? Was I thinking about a huge vest? Did I think I’d ever make this yarn into something for someone else?

I looked at the pattern, and saw that I didn’t have enough to make the size that I wanted –  and decided that the difference in sizing wasn’t that big a deal, berated myself again for only buying six,  and cast on something doomed. I can’t explain what I was thinking – except that I last night I had convinced myself it would “block out”* and had decided to rely on my short arms to take less yarn in the sleeves, which is ridiculous, never works and I know it.  The short arm thing is bull too. I’m just petite, not built like a T-rex with tiny vestigial arms.

This morning though, something  amazing happened.  I woke up, stretched, put my feet on the floor, and realized not only that I did buy seven skeins, but also that I wound one of them into a ball for swatching years ago.  More than that, and even more fantastically,  I knew exactly where it was. I got up out of bed, went straight to a particular cubby, and pulled it out – big swatch still attached, and not even cast off. (Before you ask, I have no idea what I was swatching. Looks like I was trying to make a sweater front a swatch, but I have no idea what sweater.)


So, back it goes, and I get the size I want, and the sweater will fit the way I want, and I’m starting to feel like this is charmed, which is not at all how I usually feel while pulling out a couple of hours of work, so isn’t that lovely.

* Knitting rule: If you’re hoping something will “block out”, it most likely will not. Corollary to that rule: The more important it is that the problem “blocks out” the less likely it becomes that blocking will do anything. Yeah, verily, if a project hinges on blocking to be big enough to fit, this will be the time that blocking makes your project smaller. So say we all.

92 thoughts on “Charmed

  1. Saved by a swatch! A first for YH, who too often calls swatches stinkin’ liar bad guys, or something equally eloquent from Hank.

  2. WOOT! This is looking good for you… although I’m quite curious about what that swatch was, because it looks like it resolves into a rather pretty cable pattern.

  3. This must be the week for it: I just looked for a knitting thing that I haven’t seen or thought about for years but need RIGHT NOW and found it in the first place I looked. How does that happen?

      • Actually, my Chinese neighbour came over last night to give me moon cakes. People of Chinese origin celebrated the moon festival yesterday, which another friend explained to me is sort of similar of Thanksgiving (the harvest aspect, like Canadian Thanksgiving).

  4. You’re remarkably cheerful about frogging several hours’ worth of knitting. Guess the camping trips worked to majorly destress you. Long may it last.

  5. And that would be Mrs. Murphy’s Law: whereto, if something can go wrong in knitting, it will.

    Gorgeous yarn and gorgeous sweater!

  6. Wait. So the yarn you bought yesterday was not the green yarn you are using for the sweater? (No judgement, just seeking clarification, LOL).
    I am actually impressed that you are starting this sweater with approximately 4 weeks to go….it makes me want to go to Rhinebeck to try and see it in person, but I’m taking this year off, but still going away that weekend with friends to knit,

  7. I’m glad it’s working out for you! I love Little Wave so much I knit it twice, back to back. One for me and one for my boyfriend. I had to shorten the arms on mine by a good few inches, and I have crazy long arms, so you actually might save a bit of yarn with this one 🙂

  8. I had to laugh to myself, hearing YOU say the words, “That sh!t won’t block out!”. And I then was worried, for just a moment, that you had forgotten the Rules! 🙂

  9. I always seem to have 1 skein short of what I need, I just never, ever seem to learn that having too much beats not having enough. Usually because I think I’ll just save a bit of money. Always costs me more. Frantic calls to all involved in raising the sheep, the wool gathering, the spinning of said gathered wool, and shop where I might…just might have bought the yarn. So I tinker with the pattern and knit and knit and knit. Then I tink.

  10. Wow, this sounds like the opposite of a cursed project! Congratulations!

    While you’re having such brilliant yarn luck, could you tell me where my tea cosy is? All it needs is sewing up and for the life of me I cannot find it anywhere!

  11. Can you remember the name of the sweater the earlier swatch was knit for? SO pretty. Love the way the ribbing flows into the cables.

  12. Also, if the sweater fits just right before blocking, and the swatch didn’t grow when you blocked it, then for sure the sweater will grow by miles after blocking. I have a 27″ sweater that was meant to be 22″ to prove it, however the upside is that I learned how to cut off the excess and knit down (it’s in the round with no shaping, and somehow the sleeves didn’t grow and fit fine).

  13. The problem-solving power of sleep has always amazed me. So glad that your resting brain remembered the location of that 7th skein! Yay!

  14. I said yesterday that hitting gauge like that was ominous. You’re sure 7 skeins will be enough? Keep an eye on gauge, I’m thinking we’re going to have that end-of-sweater-will-I-have-enough-yarn drama.

  15. You’ve mentioned in the past that you have an ample bosom (although 37″ doesn’t seem all that ample to me). Do you ever size your patterns using your high bust measurement, and then add short rows/stitches for the bust? Or size the back and fronts differently? It’s a pretty sweater, but if I knit it for my bust measurement, it’d be hanging off my shoulders 🙁

  16. You have beautifully reasoned away a big honkin’ leap of insanity.

    Unearthing the seventh skein can’t erase the fact that you had committed to knitting the smaller size.

    Did you think I wouldn’t notice?

    I’m stocking up on popcorn.

  17. I made a sacrifice at the knitting altar yesterday, apparently on your behalf. I frogged the fronts of a just-needed-to-have-a-neckband-knit sweater WIP and spent most of the day re-knitting one of the fronts because it just didn’t look good to me. I may have a pair of socks that needs to be frogged today.
    I hope your sweater continues to be charmed. The pattern looks very lovely.

  18. Enabler!! I had to go look at Pippin, and yeah it’s lovely — but did you see the Moss color?!? or Forest?!? Or any of the other four colorways that just knocked my socks off… I will probably think about seven skeins of this stuff for days now. Maybe I can clean out a spot in the craft room, someplace not too apparent.

  19. The colour is gorgeous. My autumn colours exactly. I am sooo glad that you found the 7th ball. The old swarch reminds me of the dark/royal blue cabled cardigan you made a number of years ago for Rhinebeck. It is going to be a beauty. Have a great weekend.

  20. I love my Little Wave cardigan! I don’t know if you’ve looked at any of the projects on Ravelry, but I and others have found the armscye to be huge – I ended up ripping back and decreasing for the shoulders every round instead of every other in order to get a good fit in the shoulders.

  21. It’s not too late to find yarn in a complimentary color. Why? Because you’ll need it for stripes to make the sleeves long enough, or for pocket linings, or for patch pockets, or for the collar, or…;-)!

    Also, have you purchased the buttons you’ll need for this cardigan? Enough buttons? Plus extras to account for the cat claiming some as toys? And the one you’ll drop down the heating grate?

  22. Amen. (I swatched for a sweater for my oldest granddaughter, who wears a size 8 at the moment. I cast on for a 10 figuring it would fit her thru the winter. Except my swatch lied and at the moment I’m getting about a size 22… I’m either going to frog it and start over, or make it a scarf and hat. As her birthday is in 3 weeks, the scarf and hat is sounding pretty good.)

  23. The reverse blocking rule also holds, however. If the sweater is just the right size for a baby born in September to wear her first winter, it will grow in blocking (even though the swatch didn’t) to exactly the size she will be next summer, so that it will not fit in the winter either year. Ask me how I know.

  24. You’d better throw a stitch marker over your left shoulder to deflect the attention of the knitting gods away from your work. Oh — and complain a little about the yarn or they’ll be tempted to test you.

  25. Excellent resolution. Congratulations on the rarity of everything that happened. I just frogged and restarted a cardigan I’ve been lusting after for ages…Don’t know why I began a size that was clearly not going to cover my chestness. Much happier now knitting the bigger size although the cardigan itself is the worst written pattern I’ve ever encountered. (How does that happen? Even the Ravelry comments confirm that I am not alone in my thinking.) I will soldier on and hope for the best.

  26. I have a question about gauge: what is it based on? Is it based solely on the pattern writer’s original gauge, or does the pattern writer go by some sort of “this needle and this yarn should be this many stitches per whatever” gauge and the pattern is written off of that (even if knitting the pattern themselves with that needle would result in something completely different)?

    I’m just wondering how designers come up with it.

    • Usually, yarn companies put X stitches to X in/cm on their yarn labels, to give knitters/crocheters something to work off of. If you were to, say, pick up some yarn and decide to knit a Z out of it with no pattern, using the needles on the label would give you a good starting point, where you can go up or down from, based on your preference. Hence the importance of a swatch -Your individual knitting style will vary how many stitches you get to the inch, and your personal preference will determine whether or not you think the recommended stitch to inch ratio even looks good. Designers recommend a specific gauge based on the project and their preference. For a light, lacey object, the designer may recommend a needle size several sizes larger than the one recommended on a label, whereas for a dense, sturdy object, they may recommend one many sizes smaller. Keeping in mind the many variables that go into gauge, it is more important in most cases to match gauge (number of stitched per inch) than it is to match needle size. At the end of the day, needles are just a means to the end. The most important part is that you have an object that looks and feels as you like it to! 🙂

      • Thank you for replying, but I’m still wondering what the original gauge is based on.

        Yarn companies recommend this gauge based on what? A designer recommends this needle size to get this gauge based on what? Is there some universal x stitches per y number of inches is the best? Is it based on the actual designer’s original gauge, or do they have test knitters who get “better” (ie more like the yarn company recommendations) gauges to knit it and then base their numbers off of them? Do designers use the actual gauges they get, or create patterns off of the gauge they think they *should* get?

        I’m just wondering because if, say, I wanted to create a knitting pattern but I know I’m a loose knitter (and thus, have to go down about two needle sizes every time), how would I write my pattern? Basing it on my loose knitting wouldn’t seem very accurate, since most people knit tighter. But I wouldn’t be able to get a good gauge for the *usually recommended for my gauge needle size* myself. So how would I go about writing it???

  27. Yep. I can’t explain it, but that is always ALWAYS the truth. I made a sweater several years ago in the size smaller than the one I should have made, simply because I wanted to finish it quicker! How freaking stupid is that???? I just figured I could block it and stretch it, and everything would be fine! Nope. Of course it didn’t work out that way, but I wore that sweater several times anyway because dammit, i made it! Eventually I dropped it in a clothes collection box for our local shelter, so I really hope a person smaller than myself is staying cozy in it. It really was lovely.

  28. Oh goodness, I’m glad I’m not the only one to merrily cast on a size too small because I don’t have enough yarn… woollen fabric stretches, right?? In my case it’s mostly because I bought myself a stash before developing any sense of how much yarn it would take to knit a jumper, so double duh!

  29. Hahaha, this is hilarious! Like cutting out a smaller sized pair of pants because I don’t have enough fabric for the correct size, then wondering why it doesn’t fit.

    Glad your brain figured out the solution for this grievous error while you slept.

  30. Now you’re making me rethink a sweater I started 3 years ago that only needs 1 SLEEVE. Well, maybe a reknit of the bottom edge (I was hoping it would block out, ya know?), and I got perfect gauge – but a fairly loose fabric, and I might reknit the other sleeve again….

    Which is all why it’s sitting unfinished for 3 years. But do I pull out a sweater that’s 95% done?

  31. That green though!

    You have me knitting on straights again, Stephanie! It is the best feeling. I forgot how much I loved it, and how lovely all my cheery multicolored ragtag bunch of straights are in a jar on my desk.

  32. Dear Yarn Harlot, you have many influences on me (and others) first1, keep same yarn together (you! were searching too often) 2: keep loading things in one place for all your appliances, like phone and camera and keep track of your passpoprt/ID, 3. The BSJ. Lord, did I long to knit that! Yours were so beautiful, I ordered the book the Opinianated Knitter and knitted away, I have certainly knit 10 now, the one I am now on I started knitting 34 st. 1-1, for 6 rows, then 12 ridges knitting, cut of thread, knitted a second one the same, then added 90 stitches between them and knit like EZ did for shorter sleeves. It works out wonderfully, the knitting is on needles size 4 European , so the jacket will be for a walking toddler and they need longer sleeves. Thank you for wonderfull hints and trucs and storytellling. I will stick to what I know doing best: straight needles and the thread over the right hands fingers, socks on four dpns,although I can do all the other ways too, this is what I love best. DM

    • I like socks and hats on dpn’s too! If the pattern says to switch to dpn’s when there are too few stitches to knit on circular needles I use dpn’s from the beginning. I learned to make socks with 4 needles and am most comfortable with them still, though I use circular needles instead of straight ones for general knitting. Knitting should be joyful, doing whatever makes you happy:)

  33. Yay, I’m thrilled you’ve started early! I’m looking forward to its progress. Well, at least, I think it’s early for you since you’re such a fast knitter. It would take me months to knit a sweater. I aspire to someday get up to speed.

  34. That swatch looks just like another swatch(in blue) that you did for a Christmas sweater for either Hank or Erin a few years ago. Boy, I spend too much time reading blogs…

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