Saturday, January 11, 2020

Cable Collar Top, or Knowing When to Quit

There are a number of decisions that go into every creation.

In the beginning, those decisions revolve around one’s vision for the project and how to make it happen. In the end, it often becomes a matter of knowing when to stop and declare the project finished.

But the decisions in the middle can be the trickiest, in part because they typically go unacknowledged. Like a “choose your own adventure” book — and like life itself — each decision impacts what will happen next in ways that are often unforeseen.

And sometimes one project flows into the next, seemingly turning the process into one long middle with no beginning or end.

About ten years ago, I bought six skeins of Cascade Yarns Sierra in colorway 48 Apple Green. I knit the Bed Jacket pattern from Joan McGowan-Michael. I wore it occasionally over the years, but it never quite fit as well as I’d hoped. As my weight has changed, it reached the point of not fitting at all.

This summer I took apart the bed jacket; in late September, I used the yarn to start knitting the Cable Collar Top by Norah Gaughan. Progress was slow but steady until last week.

I had knit the back, taking notes along the way. I knit the front, which uses the same set of directions except for changes to the neckline. I knit the short sleeves, then seamed the shoulders.

And it became very clear that the armholes for the front are much shorter than the armholes for the back. If I align the bottoms of the armholes, the shoulder seams shift forward.

Knitting in progress of green Cable Collar Top with shifted shoulder seams on a white background

How did this happen? I have the same number of rows for the front and back armholes, and the gauge is measuring the same. Right now the overall armhole size is just right, so I would need to adjust both the front and the back. If one piece is hanging differently than the other, however, will it realign itself with time or blocking — creating more problems if I try to make corrections?

I’ve been in a holding pattern as I try to look ahead to the course of action that will yield the results I want. And because I can’t fully figure out what is throwing off the armholes, I can’t fully figure out how to correct them.

I’ve decided to start over. I have a different pattern in mind and new vision of what I want to achieve. But, at the moment, this feels like one long middle with no end in sight.

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