Front and Back!
*Rachel: You fell as-leep?!
Ross: It was five-thirty in the morning and you had rambled on for nineteen pages. FRONT AND BACK!
Yes, it's true. I've finished the front and back of Manly. But not without some hair-pulling, angry-swearing, tape-measure-flinging frustration.
It all starts with the pattern mistakes that I mentioned yesterday. Namely, that there are two fewer stitches left when you shape the armholes than indicated by the instructions and that you would have stitches left over after the shoulder shaping if you bound off as many stitches as the pattern instructs. Oh, and the right and left sides are slightly uneven as well. Probably not in a noticeable way, just in a way that is infuriating to the knitter (me.)
So, I'm knitting along last night, confident in my solution to these problems when something occurs to me. I'm looking at my knitting and mentally calculating how many decreasing rows there are and trying to predict when I will get to eight inches and start the shoulder shaping. I will not hit eight inches before the neck shaping is done. In fact, I will have to knit several (say four) rows even between the end of the neck shaping and the beginning of the shoulder shpaing. That can't be right.
I get out the back. I measure the armhole. Ten inches! I look at the armhole schematic. The armhole is supposed to be eight and a half inches long. Fuck. What did I do wrong? Even more importantly how am I going to make the front match the back if the back is too long? will I have to knit the next size bigger sleeves? Will I have enough yarn? And how did the armholes GET SO FUCKING BIG?!
Once I was done panicking (and had shoved the offensive back into my knitting bag- out of sight) I started to think. Obviously the front needed to be longer to even meet the pattern dimensions and it didn't seem right to knit several rows even after the neck shaping but before the shoulder shaping on a v-neck sweater. Then I realized something. If I were to use the directions for the next size up and decrease one stitch at the neck edge every other row eleven times instead of eight I wold solve two problems. First, the extra six rows would make the front long enough. The shoulder shaping would begin right after the tenth decreasing row and I would end up with the right number of stitches to be bound off in the end. It was a Eureka moment.
As I started working on my new plan I continued to think. Maybe my gauge was off? Checked. No. Maybe I was so into knitting the back I sailed right past the stop point? Maybe. Finally, I pulled out the back again and remeasured. Still ten inches.
But then I realized my mistake. I had been measuring from the TOP OF THE SHOULDER. Not from the top of the armhole. I measured from the top of the armhole. Exactly eight and a half inches.
Now that I've finished the front and back I can say that both are exactly the right length, and equal.
The moral of the story? I need to remember that the shoulder seams will be seamed together and are not part of the armhole. Additionally, sometimes patterns have mistakes. Now let's see how the sleeves go.
*Random Friends Reference (RFR)