I think this photo might sum it up. Oy vey.
Heron turned out to be a disaster. It is, without a doubt, one of the most unattractive garments I have ever committed to the needles and thrown into being. This is an abomination in wool. Sweet, sweet ecological wool.
Before cataloging its many and varied faults, I would like to emphasize that I in no way blame the pattern itself. Clearly written, only slightly complex, interestingly constructed, and demonstrably adorable on the model and real people: the problem is not to be laid at the feet of Norah Gaughan.
Rather, I think it’s a case of gauge gone bad. The horrible fit — too small across the shoulders, too long in the body, too short in the flounces so I end up looking like a wooly Shirley Temple — should have been predictable.
The fact of the matter is, ecological wool is not a super bulky wool (5/6 wpi). It is a bulky wool (7 wpi). I am a very very tight knitter, so tight that I usually have to go up around 3 needles sizes to get gauge. You might have a glimmering of the problem by now.
To even approach the correct gauge for this project (12 sts x 16 r = 4″) I had to use US13/8.00mm needles; ecowool recommends a gauge of 14 sts = 4″ on size US10/6.00mm needles. Even with my eXtreme tight knitting skillz, such large needles resulted in a very open fabric. Read: stretchy. Not nearly sturdy enough to support and give structure to the crazy flounces. And I still didn’t get gauge. Which meant the fit was really funky in all directions.
Thing is, I’m just not listening to the wool.
Instead, I’m trying to make it be something it doesn’t want to be: a bulkier wool. So rather than finding a pattern that works with what I’ve got, I keep trying to make the wool I have be something it’s not. The relevance of this lesson to other areas of my life is not lost on me.
Aspirational knitting does not work.
With that in mind, I’m now looking for patterns that will complement both the wool and my knitting: Shalom, Rosamund’s Cardigan, the Asymmetrical Cabled Cardi, 113-17, Nonpareil, or the Lace Leaf Pullover are all contenders at the moment.
Also, swatching. Lots and lots of swatching.
In the mean time, I had a hankering for an absolutely ridiculous garment: Twinkle’s Shopping Tunic. In royal purple, obviously. I don’t have any soft chunky or the money to invest, so I’ve decided to jerry-rig my own version using the decidedly less voluminous Berkshire Bulky.
I doubled the stitch count and jumped in. We’ll see what happens.