Thursday, 22 April 2010


Seeing as how my elbow hasn’t heeled yet, and indeed shows no signs of getting any better at all, I know I shouldn’t knit. However, seeing as how I haven’t been knitting and it’s made no difference one way or t’other, I figured I’d start up slowly again and see how I, or rather it, faired. Thus, I took up my Byzantine Bazic sleeve last night. It was never going to be easy getting this sleeve going again, not after having let it sit for a month in the middle of increases I was unsure of in the first place. So, I knew I’d have to take my time about it. I sat down, looked at it, realized I was on a stitch adding row and stopped to think. The pattern instructions read: inc. one stitch at end of each needle every other row 8 times and then every 4 rows 21 times, working new stitches into pattern.

Deceptively simple. Dear Kathy Zimmerman, I love your pattern. It’s a beautiful sweater, lovely to knit, it will be wonderful to wear and I just can’t say enough good things about it. Honestly though, not all of us have your brain and you’ve sent mine into overdrive with your deceivingly simple, working new stitches into pattern. If this were simple ribbing, it wouldn’t be a problem. If the pattern were totally regular and concentric, it wouldn’t be a problem. Unfortunately, you, in your knitting wisdom, have chosen a pattern which is neither regular, nor concentric – or at least not with this stitch count. This means you really have to sit down and think about when to add which stitch and how to work them into the pattern without winding up with a lop-sided sleeve. It would have all been relatively simple if I could have just bunged in another 16 stitches in the middle of a repeat, but since the repeat starts and ends differently, this isn’t possible. Trust me on this one, I tried. If I had turned my brain off and continued knitting the way I had set up these new stitches a month or more ago, I would have wound up with one very uneven sleeve. One side would have dropped to the floor with the weight of the cables while the other tried to fly off the arm due to lack of balance. It did not look good.

On the other hand Kathy, I have to thank you for sparing my elbow by keeping me from knitting for at least another evening. As I sat down to knit, I looked at the train wreck of a sleeve I had in my hands and knew I must frog or face knitting a sweater I would have been too embarrassed to wear, unless I sold it as an M.C. Escher work. That might be just a tad difficult though, since I don’t think M.C. Escher ever wrote any knitting patterns. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong because they would most likely be brilliant and I would probably wind up knitting them ASAP, but I really don’t think it’s likely. So, returning to the subject at hand, I looked at the train wreck and frogged, re-wound the yarn and started to knit again. I got exactly one stitch on the needles before I realized that I still didn’t really know how to work the incs into the pattern.

It was time for the computer and a little bout with Excel. Two hours later, I had my increases mapped out and ready to be knit. I’m still not going to swear that these are going to work, but I think I have a better shot at it now and at least they look balanced, or they do on paper anyway. How they actually knit up, remains to be seen.

I do have to admit to another bonus in this lost evening for knitting. As I was winging my way through the incs on sleeve one, I couldn’t rid myself of the small, nagging feeling that I would never be able to recreate these stitches on the second sleeve. I could just see it coming that I would think I could wing that one too, and then finding out that, no, that just wasn’t going to work. Now that I’ve got them mapped out, that worry is gone and I can go on knitting without losing sleep over how I was ever going to manage to wing two identical sleeves. What a relief!


  1. You had me laughing with this letter to the designer. I was thinking - she should chart it out - and there you have it. Sometimes, that's the only way to go. I have a sweater of my own design I made years ago and still wear with one sleeve 'seam' a total train wreck, but it's a dark color and no one is ever cruel enough to comment.

  2. You know, I think using Excel to chart out a pattern section is a brilliant idea! Personally, I tend to scribble on the corner of a page, or, if I'm feeling particularly unlazy, I'll hunt out some graph paper. Turning to my comp never occurred to me, so, firstly, good luck to you as you continue with this sweater, and second, thanks for sharing this tip!