Every project, no matter how basic it seems, or how many projects came before it, has something to teach me. Many are easy to remember to do – wrap & turn is now permanently ingrained in my working knitting vocab. Some things are a bit trickier, like fit adjustments, or “tailoring” for knitting. My most recent project contained one such lesson. Here is my “Golden Bamboo” sweater:
I am actually pretty happy with the way it came out. I struggled a little at first with the multi-stranded bamboo Yarnia yarn. I was fussing over the tension irregularities in the individual strands and trying to “fix” them by smoothing them out, but it only made it worse. After I put my perfectionist side in check and just let the yarn come and go freely, it knit up beautifully and quickly. Still have to keep a keen eye on the stitches though to avoid missing a strand in a stitch. It weighs two pounds, which I found kind of amusing, because it is a very heavy yarn per yard. The weight actually make it feel very luxurious on, and I love wearing it with and without the long-sleeved shirts that make it wearable across the seasons.
The pattern is “Lapis Yoke ” by Hannah Fettig, which I modified slightly by not knitting the sleeves and finishing the lower edge with garter rather than rib. It is a very pretty pattern, and I loved the way it let the yarn really shine in simple rib stitches. So far, so good. As you can see, it fits nicely… in the front. The thing I didn’t anticipate is that the joyous simple construction (top down, round yoke increases evenly all around, and an even 50-50 split to create back and front) lead to one unexpected fit issue.
The back, as you can see, is not quite so brilliant a fit. It kinda bags out along the edge of the yoke, and I’m holding my arms forward. It looks almost silly big if I stand up “model straight” in it. Interestingly, in typical “too little, too late” fashion, I found a tidbit in a caption under a picture of a round yoke sweater in my latest issue of Interweave Knits that stated an important subtle fit detail of the round yoke sweater is that the back section should contain fewer stitches than the front to ensure a proper fit. Shirley Paden I remembered, in her book Knitwear Design Workshop, states that as knitters we treat the front and the back as though they are the same, and mostly, because knit fabric is so flexible, we get away with it. But in reality, the body, especially the average woman’s chest, is not symmetrical at all between the front and the back. Apparently I ran into one of those instances where this fact actually matters. I thought maybe I made the whole thing too big, but I love the fit around the front side. I could pinch about four inches in the back though! So, this set of notes will have to go into my “lessons learned” list, which I am starting in my knitting notes on my computer today. Who knows when it’ll come up again, but I sure wish I had a “tip” sheet with this on it when I started this project!
I think I figured out the fix, if I made it again, or if anyone else reading this post wants to adjust for a larger bust line than this pattern allows for.
I would knock out two to three sections of the “pie pieces” at cast on (only 4-6 stitches) to reduce the back yoke width, then calculate it up to the ending edge, I would set aside 10-15 sts. fewer for the back than the front when joining at the underarm. Now, this means that the overall size of the body at the chest point would be 3-4 inches smaller, which apparently in my case would be better. I think to hourglass it back out to the hips, which did fit pretty well, I’d also compensate with a few extra increases after the waist point in “darts” at the back. Interpret as you will, but this is my best guess for how to take this sweater pattern from “good” to “perfect” in the fit department for me.
As I said, still love the sweater, and I would still recommend the pattern. Happy Knitting!