Tinking to Perfection

Lindsay LewchukAnnouncements, Designers, Pattern Related Leave a Comment

I’ve played with knitting on the bias a lot over the years and was excited to team up with Three Irish Girls Yarn for my first published pattern designed entirely on the 45. This four month long design project covered multiple variations (I lost count after 9), three knitted prototypes, and a leftovers cowl design, to boot, which comes out spring 2016 – keep an eye open, this one’s too good to miss.

Prototype 1 – a bias tank:
When Erin asked which color of their Bamboo Cotton I’d like for the design, I was determined to break out of my blue shell.

Blue Tanks
Blue Man Group’s got nothing on me! If you’ve not noticed, every tank pattern up until now that I’ve modeled has been blue.

She was quite happy to oblige and surprised me with 3 skeins of “In the Buff,” a lovely soft pink and lavender semi-solid.

colorway in the buff

I knit a gauge swatch, washed, dried, and blocked it and set to work grading, writing the pattern, and finally knitting.

The swatch lied AGAIN!!! Tinking was insufficient, this baby got frogged – completely! But before I went nuts ribbiting while I ripped it, I took pictures and measurements.

2 inches too big
A lot too big, I grant you, but the yarn was lovely to wear!

Interestingly enough, the garment was 2” too big all the way around. This told me too things:
1. The swatch LIED!!!
2. The grading was right, I just needed to amend the constant – the sts/ inch number. This lead to several charts and diagrams in Adobe Illustrator to figure out the “bias sts/ inch” number since it wasn’t a true square 45 gauge.

graphing the bias
One of MANY such graphs.
Another chart
I could go on, but sometimes a peek down the rabbit hole is more than enough to discover the organized chaos beneath!

Prototype 2 – couldn’t leave well enough alone:
In addition to the swatch lying, there was one aspect that was different between the swatch and the final tank. With the swatch, I was able to block the base straight and create a rectangle. However, no matter how vigorously I blocked, the tank would not block out to a rectangular piece. So I thought, since I’m frogging anyway, I might as well adjust the stitch pattern to compensate for the rise along the hem… better idea in thought than in reality.

Re-knit & re-frog…
but first pictures and notes were taken. The stitch pattern solution achieved the level hem. However in the process, it also created an awful, and I mean awful, ruching detail.

Puddles n me
You didn’t think I’d actually use a picture that showed that AWFUL ruching, did you. Call it vanity if you must, I just couldn’t! Plus isn’t a Puddles photo bomb so much better anyway?
Why frog

And this time I had an idea… why frog and lose all that time when I’d rather be re-knitting?

Prototype 3 – fits like a glove, this rewrite is a keeper:
I accepted the slant in the hem and decided to treat it as a pattern detail. With a minor adjustment to the edge, the original carrot point was eliminated and a nice slope resulted, which I actually started to like… a lot.

Showing my bias tank
Available here: http://knitecochic.com/patterns-2/2015-new-releases/showing-my-bias/

The final re-knit was so fast I had a finished, photo ready tank in no time and used less than 2 skeins! (Thus the bonus cowl design.) The bias construction contributes to the speed of the garment as there is less overall knitting to knit.

The Three Irish Girls Yarn held up amazingly well to all the knitting, washing, blocking, frogging, and re-knits. It is on my “favorites” short list for sure – a pleasure to work with and stable!

*A final aside: thanks to a Facebook post on knitter’s jargon, I learned that “tink” is “knit” backwards because that’s what you’re doing. How cool is that!

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