With the back on stitch holders acting as a huge swatch I'm trying to quantify the stretch factor of this gorgeous alpaca.
I am clearly out of my mind with optimism if I believe its all going to work out but isn't that what the Olympics are all about?
This mock rib grows from 22 to 24 inches in length with just a few unsupported bounces! Once assembled I assume the pieces will support each other a bit. My body within the sweater will of course also be a factor - what kind I don't know but a factor! My guess is to assume an inch of lengthwise stretch. As is my usual custom I will also add width to the front relative to the back - I'm not sure how much yet, generally I add 1/2 to 1 inch - to get a rather loose fit I may add 1 1/2" -2".
As for the width of the sleeves I want them more narrow and straight than the voluminous ones in the pattern. The thing is because of the ribbing my "giant swatch" pulls in between two and three inches when laid flat for measuring but my dried, blocked swatches really held their width measurements so I'm banking on that being the case with the sweater.
I knit the thumb hole cuff with about 1/2 inch negative ease because I assume having it wrapped around my hand will prompt stretching. I'm just about to graph out an inch of positive ease around the arm en route to an inch and a half at the join with the body. I don't want the seam there to be so tight as to resist staying on top of the shoulder but I do assume the combined weight of the sleeve and the seaming will make this a tricky element to get right. I'll see how that looks on paper.
Its a big fat guessing game and therein lies my Olympic challenge so its all good!
I also found a site that listed ways to manage the stretch in alpaca. One of the "don't"s is to avoid patterns that feature large pieces as these are more prone to stretching. This sweater, however, is all about the large pieces...hmmmmm...
On the other hand, one of the primary "do"'s is to incorporate ribbing which is the all over pattern for this sweater (well mock rib actually but its got to be better than nothing!) so I'm hoping that counteracts the effect of the large pieces, at least a bit.
I also plan to add bias tape to the shoulder seams to keep the top of the sweater from being pulled out of shape.
Another recommendation is to knit tight. I love that one - its my specialty! How nice to just this once not have to fight the tight and just let it happen! The smaller needles they recommended also help with this. My swatch done on 5.5mm was my favourite but recognizing the need to address the stretch I am instead knitting with 5mm straight and again looking forward to having a wet blocking give me the drape I'm looking for.
So that's my Olympic knitting at the moment.
Have a Great Weekend and thanks so much for dropping by!