I don't know what happened last night, but I couldn't get it together. I made dinner and went for a run, but the run was really only an attempt to strip me of the energy to keep hating the way things were going. There's absolutely plenty that's gone right, tons of stuff, but last night a sweater didn't work out and then the resident teenager was, well... teenaged. (The amazing thing about parenting is that I never stop being surprised by how it's all going down. By the time a kid is in their late teens, they've matured so much that you can be really shocked by the occasional snit, and you'd think that I'd be so well equipped to handle something like that. I'm no rookie. The thing is that because the teenager is actually growing and maturing and gaining skills, the quality level of the snit just keeps going up, and the appearances of said snits start being infrequent and therefore shocking. (Not as shocking as my own snits, but there you have it.) It means you never really get the hang. If had to give a quick list to someone going into parenting teens, it would be to remember this: A) SHUT UP. B) Don't take the bait. C) Don't take it personally. D) You are probably too pretty for prison. Walk it off. For the record, I usually remember all of that a few minutes too late. Maybe I need a tattoo. )
So last night I'm in this completely foul mood, forcing myself to be nice and civil and kind - and I decide to work on a little sweater. Not the blue and brown one, because all it needs is button bands, and they're fussy and I hate them and it just didn't seem like they were going to improve my mood at all, but nothing cheers me up more than a new thing, so that's where I went. I need to have another little sweater in the works, a birthday sweater for Lou, and I've been enchanted with Antler, so that's what I'm thinking. The thing is, it calls for Aran weight yarn - and I didn't have any in cream handy, so I bought Tanis Green Label Aran. I love this yarn. Bouncy, nice tight ply that will show up the cables really well, consistent, soft, superwash... it's got everything going for it in the baby sweater department. I knit a sleeve for a gauge swatch - I do that a lot for baby sweaters. If it works out, you've got a sleeve, and if it doesn't, well then, it's only a sleeve. I don't mind ripping it out, or at least not much, or not usually. I'd started a sleeve, realized the fabric was way too open, and had my first concerns about yarn/pattern compatibility. I ripped it back, went down a needle size, and finished a whole sleeve. I still thought things were too open, but it is a natural coloured yarn- not dyed at all, and sometimes that means that it can be a little compressed. I find that dyed yarns are less likely to bloom or puff up when I wash them, but that's sometimes not the case with yarn that hasn't had a bath yet (dye or otherwise) so I sent the little sleeve for a swim, laid it out to dry, and then, because I am almost terminally optimistic, even in the face of awesome evidence to the contrary, I started the other one.
This morning I went and fetched it. You can see there's been very little change. (Unblocked on the left, blocked on the right.) Things are tidier, the stitches neatened up a lot (right there, I feel like that's the best evidence I can show you for why you wash/wet block knitting) and the yarn rounded out and bloomed a tiny bit, but not enough to change the gauge. It's still too loose for me to be happy with.
See how there's lots of space through the ribbing and the fabric? That's going to look sloppy really, really soon when it starts being worn, and in this knitter's humble opinion, knitting takes too much time to have things not work out because of some lazy moment when I decided it was "good enough". I thought then that maybe I could go down another needle size, which would definitely make it a better sweater... but...
I'm already at a perfect 20 sts/10cm, and the pattern calls for 18, and going down a needle size would likely give me 22...and that my friends, that means that unless I'm willing to re-write the pattern for a DK weight yarn, which I'm not... I've got the wrong yarn for this pattern. (It also means, that the Green label Aran is a beautiful, lovely, well constructed yarn that probably isn't actually an aran weight, or at least isn't for this old-school knitter with this idea of how knitting should look.) I was pretty bummed, and I set it aside so I could have a proper pout. I really, really wanted this yarn to work, and it's not going to, and now I have to go to the store and buy some yarn because I don't have any natural coloured aran weight yarn, and then, then I had an epiphany.
I know how to make yarn. Things might be looking up.