Sunday, February 12, 2006

Love the spreadsheet

The Olympics have started. I have cast on and am approximately 10,348 stitches into my project. I have 29,010 left to go. I'm knitting, on average, approximately 536 stitches per hour. This leaves approximately 54.12 hours of knitting time left on my plate. That's a lot of knitting time.

What am I knitting?

The Hourglass Sweater from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. As I mentioned before, I could either go for speed or for skill. With this sweater I decided to go with both. Speed for the knitting, skill in the adjustments that I will make. I plan on knitting this sweater to fit ME - my big rack (which, btw Ben is figuring out how to say in Italian for me), small chest, short waist and long arms. Added to this is the yarn - I'm using yarn with a different row and stitch gauge.

The final challenge is to blog about it all. I knit everyday and have finished quite a few projects over the last few months. Unfortunately they have not made it to this blog (they will!). Not to mention my inability to alter a pattern and WRITE DOWN my changes.

This is the yarn. It's wool from Habu Textiles. I picked this up during our trip to NYC early in December. No idea what kind of fiber it is. I'm going to be with a butt load of spinners/knitters next weekend. Hopefully someone there can give me a hint.

I started this project by first measuring sweaters that I own that I consider to be well fitting.

Sweater A:

Sweater B:

Sweater C:

I turned the sweaters inside-out so that I could see the seams. I found it a lot easier to measure them this way.

I then got Robby to help me measure my own dimensions:I spent some time with Grumperia a few weeks ago at Claudia's get-together. I asked her to explain reverse-ease. Which, in Bookish Terms, means knitting a sweater to fit the circumference measurement taken under your armpits and not your bust. When you look at the sweaters above you see that the area under the armpits (and straight down to the waist shaping) is 19", 18", and 17". My bust is 18.5". Before I sat down to measure my favorite fitting sweaters I would have chosen a 39" size for a sweater. Which would give me a width under the armpits of 19.5, 1" greater around than my "bulkier" sweater of 19" or 5" greater than my "tight" sweater.

This is interesting to me - I'm not sure how this works or what will happen. But I have decided to go for it. My Hourglass Sweater will have a diameter of 18".

This means that I'll be casting on for the second size, chest of 37" (diameter 18.5") - a size I NEVER would have chosen if I hadn't measured my sweaters first. Here's to hoping it was a smart decision.

Gauge is the next hurdle for me. I swatched on Thursday hoping that I would get a jump on the action and be able to hit the 2pm start time running. Not so much. I swatched flat. The sweater is knit in the round. And, well, we all know that swatches lie. My swatch got gauge.

I cast on for a second "swatch", one of the sleeves.

5.2 sts/inches (we'll deal with row gauge later.)

Pattern Gauge 19sts and 24 rows = 4"

Not the same. This gauge has stayed consitent throughout the sleeve. I've been a measuring fiend. Mostly because it gives me more data to plug into my fancy pants spreadsheet that I created (you'll see it later.)

No matter, once I knit up more of the sleeves I realized that I was okay with the width.

If not worried a little bit that they were too wide. I decided that I would knit up the rest of the sleeve and alter the body pattern to meet my gauge.

This sweater is knit in three tubes, the sleeves, and the body. The yoke could easily be modified (with the help of a sophisticated spread sheet such as the one below.)

This spread sheet allows me to change one or two numbers and the entire patter will adjust. Pretty cool huh?

Yes, I fully understand the psychosis present here.

I'm just about to finish Day 3. I will post today's progress tomorrow. Until then, here is my progress as of yesterday:

Until then - this will be me:

PS - I'm SO happy that you all liked my Pasta maker post. It was a great day with my Grandmother. She is an amazing woman, not without her faults, but amazing all the same. I hope that you will all get to hear more about her soon. And yes, I would totally make pasta again. In spite of the hard work it is SO GOOD. I had eaten homemade pasta on many occasions before. It tastes a lot better when you make it yourself with Grandma looking on!

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Blogger claudia said...

You are just so darned cute! I am totally betting on you to finish a well-fitting Hourglass before the flame goes out.

2/12/2006 11:22 PM  
Anonymous grumperina said...

Damn that was a lot of science! My head is spinning with all the measurements and spreadsheets and the maths! The negative ease amount you chose sounds right on! Depending on fiber, that is... is that stuff alpaca or silk or something non-stretchy?

2/12/2006 11:30 PM  
Blogger Knitting Painter Woman said...

I am so impressed.. with your SPEED, invested time and thoughtful thinking. Me? I'm slow, plodding... and probably more suited to give your napping pooch a run for his kibble..... I do love watching the olympics, though.... which I've taken as a pre-requisite for knitting.

2/13/2006 12:43 AM  
Blogger maryse said...

excellent work. i'm afraid i wouldn't put nearly that much effort. but maybe i should, the sweaters would look better.

i love spreadsheets by the way.

2/13/2006 6:14 AM  
Blogger julia fc said...

It's the dog that kills me: I know there was math involved but what I heard was "mathmath math big rack math math knitting math math ohmygoodnessisthatdog adorable and lookit Wendy GO!"
Knit on, babe.

2/13/2006 8:26 AM  
Anonymous Cara-ISH said...

So you're going to sell that spreadsheet program, right? And dude? What happened to Raspy?! I'm so confused on the Olympic project selection!

It all seems real, real good - and I've got the big rack problem myself, so when you figure this all out and have a fanfuckingtastic sweater to show for it, you're going to give me lessons on negative ease and the big rack, right? But you'll have to use math for five year olds. Although I can work a spreadsheet.

2/13/2006 8:35 AM  
Anonymous Kathy said...

I love the scientific way you are approaching this challenge. I have had the same realization lately -- measure what fits well -- knit on!

2/13/2006 8:56 AM  
Blogger Carole said...

All that math is hurting my head. And I'm one of those buttload of knitters for next weekend. Can't wait! Woot!

2/13/2006 9:05 AM  
Anonymous Kate said...

You rock girl, that is some serious math you have going on there! I'm on of those buttload of knitters too (to quote Carole) :-)

I'm hoping to catch up with you all for dinner Friday night! See you soon!!

2/13/2006 9:27 AM  
Blogger Martita said...

That is a beautiful dog--and lucky to be allowed on the furniture!

2/13/2006 9:40 AM  
Blogger katiedid said...

I love that you're taking the time to map all that out for us blog readers. Here I am, Day 4 of the Olympics and haven't taken a single picture of my sweater yet. Whoops.

Looks like you're doing great though! Good luck!

2/13/2006 9:56 AM  
Anonymous elisa said...

You've got mad math skillz, dude. :)

2/13/2006 10:03 AM  
Blogger wenders said...

I love that you posted your spreadsheet. I have one that's all linked up, too, but was afraid that people wouldn't talk to me anymore. Cause, you know, excel and colorcoding are scary to some people.


2/13/2006 12:00 PM  
Blogger Lorette said...

Great spreadsheet! I always make sweaters too big. Guess it's time to do some mathmathmath.
Loved your pasta post!

2/13/2006 12:25 PM  
Anonymous Jackie said...

I like your progress picture! And you look so comfy all snuggled into your chair...

2/13/2006 12:45 PM  
Anonymous Laurie said...

I'm a'larning as you go along. You'll be at SPA next weekend?? Great!

2/13/2006 2:57 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

Your spreadsheet kicks ass! But, you're not using your headlamp to knit! Whatup?

2/13/2006 3:20 PM  
Blogger Vicki said...

Ooh, I love spreadsheets! I hope everything works out well for you :)

2/13/2006 7:12 PM  
Anonymous mk said...

I would love to be able to buy a knitting spreadsheet form. That's so fantastic!

2/14/2006 2:45 AM  
Anonymous Terri said...

I think you will be really happy with your size choice. I went through the same thing, my measurements are very similiar. Johanna convinced me to go with the smaller size and I'm happy I did. I don't know if you would remember, but it was green and I wore it to Johanna's selfish knit night a while back. So knit on in confidence!

2/16/2006 3:59 PM  

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