Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Out of my comfort zone #2

This is my second iteration of the ‘Sporty Sweater’. In the basement we have noticed an issue with some sweaters (including my other two) and that is – the armhole is too small for getting the sweater on/taking off easily as well as underarm comfort.

One of sweater mavens in the basement offered this suggestion which I tried in the pictured sweater. Instead of crocheting the sleeves separately and then sewing into the armholes, sew the shoulder seams and side seams leaving at least 7“for the armhole. Then pick up stitches around the armhole and crochet the sleeve in the round. I did this picking up 54 stitches (instead of the 35 on the separately crocheted sleeve). I then decreased two stitches every other row (on either side of the would-be underarm seam) until 35 stitches remained; then I decreased one stitch every other row until 30 remained (as per the pattern). I crocheted to the required sleeve length and continued on to the cuff. (Unfortunately I ran out of yarn and had to improvise.) I added 2” to the body for better coverage and more rows to the ribbing to better keep out the cold. The end result – 4 less seams to sew, a gusset-like armhole with lots of room and way more fun to make.


Maureen said...

Ah, the armhole depth, downfall of so many well-intentioned sweaters. That and the too-tight neck. I'm knitting a sweater with a side-to-side garter stitch turleneck. NO cast off edge! It actually looks pretty much like regular ribbing, not at all odd. I'll post a photo eventually.

Kathy said...

Picked up stitches for armholes works the same way for knitted sweaters, too.

Use a V to keep the neck large enough - and we should all try our sweaters over our own heads.

Gets me wondering -- what happens in the basement to the sweaters etc. that don't fit? Is there a team of Fixers, Froggers, or what?

Annette said...

There are volunteers that fix sweaters with all kinds of issues - sleeves/body too short, necks too small, necklines too low. These volunteers are absolutely amazing at fixes. Only when the fix-it mavens decide an item is unfixable is the item frogged. The yarn is then used to fix or create a new item. In a perfect world all donations would be perfect.

Elizabeth D said...

It would, of course, be best if those volunteers never had to do any of that. Sometimes there isn't time, or the problem is too grave, and those sweaters (mittens, socks) just don't go.

Please don't knowingly send in garments that are unwearable, thinking there's a staff of people ready, waiting, and anxious to do the work required. . . if you truly want your work to warm an Afghan kid, the best way to get it there is to send it in needing no further attention.

Laura said...
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Kathy said...

This is so interesting -- maybe in a lull after the campaign, we might ask the Basement staff about the top reasons for rejection, and put together a U-fix-it guide for home crafters, to review BEFORE we send our sweaters.

For instance, most US sweater patterns for kids seem to produce belly exposing lengths, so I've taken to add 2 inches to any pattern I use (other than those created by A4A or WW folks).

Thanks to all the hardworking basement volunteers. I wish I could plan a San Fran vacation to join you!

Laura said...

To add to Kathy's point about armhole width: this can be an issue with top-down raglan sweaters, when the knitter forgets to cast on extra stitches on both the body and the sleeves after separating them. The result: sleeves that look uncannily like penguin arms. I plead guilty, having done this once when I should have known better!

Fortunately the vast majority of items sent to a4A fall between good and out-of-this-world fantastic. As for the rest, as Elizabeth points out,there is no "staff" of fixers since we are all volunteers, with more urgent tasks to attend to. Occasionally a few squares get mailed to the basement in the misguided assumption that volunteers will have time to put them together into blankets. To quote the movie "Clueless": As if! As much as we love playing with wool, our time is much better spent taping boxes and sorting socks and hats and sweaters. As nice as it is to be able to add inches to a too-short body or to alter a neck which was knitted too tightly for a human head, my volunteer-time could be better used; also, the fixed garment will not look the way the knitter/crocheter had intended. Finally, with our relatively tight deadlines, fixes run the risk of not being ready by the final packing day.

Afghan Ann said...

For those who want to crochet Annette's sweater here with the modifications that she recommends, here is the link to the free pattern -- Sporty Sweater pattern

Nice job, Annette. Thanks for working out the modifications for better fit and coverage. You're a good sport!

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