Why yes, I did knit a sweater the same colour as my hair. Thank you for noticing.
Mods: No modifications on purpose, but……
I loved the Nephele sweater pattern when I first saw it, so much so I featured it on one of my Friday posts. A simple knit with a dramatic cable worked diagonally across the front, it seemed a perfect fit for the kind of wardrobe staple sweaters I want to be knitting. I decided to knit it in this gorgeous chocolate brown shade from Delicious Yarns – A seriously amazing bulky weight yarn that I am dying to use again. Super soft and seems to hold up well with wear. The sweater is super cozy, with 3/4 length sleeves providing a nice counter balance to the heavier gauge of the sweater.
So, onto the lesson I keep having to re-learn….
Why Row Gauge Matters
So, if you click on over to the original pattern, you’ll see that the length of Nele’s sweater and my sweater are VERY different. Her Nephele sweater is hip length, and mine is clearly a tunic. Which brings me to the Achilles’s heel of my knitting life…. row gauge.
You know how in the pattern information, the gauge swatch has the number of stitches per inch AND the number of rows? I usually ignore the row gauge, because most instructions are “knit in pattern until X inches in length from (cast on/under arm/whathaveyou)”. Usually, I get away with that just fine. I swatch, but I focus on my stitches per inch, not on my row gauge.
But if you are knitting a sweater that has instructions for large scale design features that are going to travel vertically, like, say, this big dramatic cable, the instructions don’t focus on ‘knit until X inches’ and instead will focus on a certain number of pattern repeats. And if you decided to be all loosey-goosey about your row gauge like me, then there will be a difference in length.
What I Should Have Done
Now, if I had swatched properly by measuring my row gauge, I would have known that I was off. You can adjust your needle size to change the row gauge, but that will affect the fabric you get, and knitting a bulky weight sweater in a needle size much smaller than called for will result in a sweater so stiff it will look like you are wearing it even when you aren’t.
In this case, I probably would have kept my needle size and instead reduced 4 rounds from the cable pattern in each of the larger cable sections, and carried on as written. Fortunately the pattern has the sleeves worked from the top down, so I was able to get away with my lack of row gauge just fine on the sleeves!
Of course, tunic length sweaters are awesome! It’s a happy accident, I’m lucky that it didn’t affect something that would would have a negative impact on the wearability, like turning out too short (although cropped sweaters are sometimes a wardrobe choice for people, right? Not really my thing, but never say never….).
Regardless of the length, that cable has totally stolen my heart, and I love how the boat neck helps balance the movement of the cable and anchors it perfectly at the shoulder.