Monday, February 21, 2011

Can Anyone Explain This?

Probably about a year ago I bought beautiful yarn and started a top down sweater. Life intervened and I put it down--without marking which size I was working on! While trying to figure that out, I noticed that the number of stitches and increases were the same for both size medium and large. Imagine the consternation that ensued. Well, Barb, my knitting guru, told me to always check for corrections before starting a big project, so off to the website I went. This is what unfolded:

After not finding an answer in FAQs or under errata, I emailed the designer. Here's what I said (I have copied emails to and from the designer verbatim):

"Hi! I started the neckdown pullover, and have a question. I wanted to make the large size, but noticed that all but one number for the instructions are exactly like the medium (the length of the sleeve). Is this in error? I have stopped knitting until I can be sure which size to use. I know the extra-large will be too big. I appreciate any help you can give. I love the sweater and have fabulous yarn to make it with. Thank you for any help you can give me. I have looked at the errata page and the frequently asked questions and did not find an answer there."

She promptly replied: "Hello Sharon, No, there is not an error there. The numbers are correct as written. I hope you measured a garment that fits the way you like to decide which size to make. Directions for this are on my FAQ page."

To which I replied: "Thank you for the quick response. I'm still not sure how knitting with the same size needles on the same number of stitches will yield two different size sweaters. But I will give it a try. I'm not afraid to rip out and start over. Thanks again! Sharon ".

Then this came: "Sorry you didn't like my answer, but I can't give a lesson in design in an email. That sweater has been knit hundreds of times since it was published in 1997, but of course you can change it any way you like if you don't think it is correct."

And I finished with: "No offense was meant! I was just trying to understand--which I guess is a personal problem. As someone who is not a knitting designer and depends on pattern accuracy, I have learned from more experienced knitters that it is better to check for corrections before getting too far into a pattern. Sorry to have bothered you. Sharon".

Am I too stupid to knit? Can anyone explain to me (very, very simply...and probably very, very slooooowwwwwlllllyyyy) how one can knit with the same yarn, the same gauge, the same needles on the same number of stitches and get two different size sweaters? My mind simply will not wrap around this. I know in quilting I cannot get two different size quilts if I use the same pattern, the same size squares and the same seam allowance. Why is knitting different?

And, no, I won't tell you who the designer is. But apparently it is someone well-known in the knitting world. Oh, the finished chest sizes are 38, 42, 46, 50 and 54. The 46 and 50 have the same number of stitches. And it's a top down raglan--in case any of that info helps explain. This has bothered me since Saturday so I decided to take it to the blog (like the cloud, only better) and see if anyone can help.

On a more pleasant note, on Friday, when the weather actually looked like spring might come, I got to ride--bareback! After attempting to mount with no saddle and while standing on a 5 gallon pail, we can safely assume that middle age white women cannot jump! Or at least I can't! When told that I would probably do better if I would stop laughing (this as I was half on and half off!), I only laughed harder...go figure!

And, this is my 300th post! So anyone leaving a comment on THIS post between now and 9:00 pm EST, Friday, February 25, will be entered into a drawing for a not-yet-determined prize. Don't worry, I'll make it something worthwhile!

Something cool is being planned for tomorrow's post--so don't look away!



  1. Sharon -- although sometimes you're a nut.... I don't think you're crazy ! No way that I know of that you can knit with the same needles, stitches, and yarn and end up with two different sizes consistently (unless you knit like me, loose some days and tight the next...) So, maybe that leaves the designer a bit confused... ??

    BTW: congrats on your 300th post and the bareback riding.. one of my favorites... where are the pictures of that ? A wonderful day to ride also, snow would comfort any fall and makes for beautiful scenery.

    PS. I've finished everything but 7 leaves, 6 berries and the center positioning on my dancing flowers... thank you thank you thank you... a new found art to love...


  2. Hi, Sharon,

    Is the something cool planned for tomorrow...the snow will disappear?

    Congrats on your 300th!

    See you soon...I hope .... and happy knitting and riding.
    Mary Ann

  3. Glad you enjoyed the beautiful warm day that was just a tease....over 10 inches of snow here yesterday....Can't wait for spring...never mind...I want summer!!!!! Congrats on your 300th post... keep them coming.


  4. Bareback.... you adventurous woman you. What next, that riding thong???? I want to see pics of you bareback mounting off a 5 gallon pail!! Geesh, I couldn't do that 20 years ago. I am impressed.

    On the sweater situation, maybe you roll up the sleeves and the waist to make the smaller size.... OR.... you wash the thing in Viagra to get the bigger size!!! That must be it. All the fibers are at their fullest height, but only for 6 hours, then it becomes the smaller size again.

    Congrats on #300 from equally snowy Michigan!



  5. Wow, Sharon - the designer was definitely getting a little testy! I agree with you - this does sound like the pattern has errors. Could you take it to a shop owner/knitter for review and another opinion? Your emails and "tone" were very nice indeed, the designer should not have been so flip. You mentioned the sleeve in your note - is it only the sleeve that has the same numbers? Or the entire sweater?

    Here's to 300 more!


  6. Congratulations on 300! I love your makes me laugh, gives me quilting and knitting inspiration, and I get good suggestions for books to read...Thanks very much!

  7. Congrats on 300! I always enjoy your blog!

    I don't know either how you can use the same everything for two different size sweaters. Doesn't it just make you mad when someone treats you like an idiot because you can't figure it out and you are asking for clarification.

    I am so glad that you are not like that and we learn so much from you.

    Stay warm!

  8. Congratulations on the 300th. Keep them coming. I look for a new post every morning. It always starts my day out with a smile (or giggle)
    Missed you this week, see you in March.
    Happy quilting!

  9. Meow! Pull out the cat chow for that knitter! I think what she meant to say is that the large runs a bit small and the medium a bit large.
    Cheers on the 300th!!!

  10. Good afternoon Sharon. Sometimes when knitting a top down sweater the small and medium sweater will have the same number of cast on stitches as will the large and x-large. The top portion of a persons body is usually similar in size...if you continue on down in your pattern you should find that you will have a different amount of stitches for each size after all your increases are made? Then you usually divide for sleeves and add stitches for body. Then knit the body until desired length. Your sleeve stitches (stitches between markers) will be on holders.
    My question to you is have you started your increases (which are your sleeves) or are you just getting started. I would be happy to help you with your can reach me at


  11. Sharon:

    Congratulations on your 300th post. That is an excitting thing to have accomplished. Even I know that as a crocheter that you have to have a certain number on your chain for different sizes. From what I have seen from the knitting patterns it is the same.

    My sister and nieces would be proud of you horsegirl.

    Congrats again on your 300th post,
    Susan Monroe

  12. I just had to click the comments to see if there was any kind of explanation. Knit one-size-huge and belt theory seems best guess! Good luck with that pattern :)


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