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Unbreakable.

Posted by on July 1, 2015

It’s 101 degrees out there, so I thought, you know, I should finish a sweater.

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I even went so far as to put it on.

This is my sixth CustomFit sweater, and it is a lightly modified version of Inlet, one of Amy Herzog’s basic designs from the CustomFit Winter/Spring 2015 Collection. My changes were to make the sleeves full length, instead of three-quarters, and to add the stripe sequence from this cardigan, worn by the title character on the Netflix series, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”

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I got stalled in a couple of places on this project. It features twisted 1×1 ribbing for all of the edgings, and when I started the back, I got distracted, and twisted the wrong stitches on more than one occasion. I knew it needed to be pulled out and started again, but it took me awhile to stop being annoyed with myself. Another small problem had to do with weaving in the ends as I went along. On the whole, that was a very, very, very good idea. However, since the pink stripes were only two rows deep, both ends were trapped in the same row, causing the stitches for those stripes to be distorted for several inches. I thought (hoped, anyway) that it would block out. It didn’t. (For the wider oatmeal and navy stripes, the ends were trapped in different rows, and there is no noticeable indication on right side of the fabric.) The solution for the pink stripes was to pick out the ends, and weave them in separately. It was time-consuming, but I’m much happier with the results.

And the first time I worked the button band, I finished, smoothed it out, and realized that there weren’t enough stitches, and no amount of blocking was going to make it lay flat. (This was the one issue that wasn’t strictly user error–the button band pick-up ratio was 2 stitches to 3 rows (or .67)–which is a VERY common ratio for picking up stitches along a vertical edge. But when I calculated my own actual stitch to row ratio, it was .70. Since I also used smaller needles for the edging, I used the second most common vertical pick-up ratio of 3 stitches to 4 rows. That produced a better result.)

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I can’t lie to you. Seaming a sweater takes time. Even with stripes to help with the matching. But the garment has good structure, and is made to last. The set-in sleeves are tailored, and with a little advance planning, I was able to match the stripes between the body and sleeve pieces. (I’m very happy about that last bit.)

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I participated in an online training meeting last week with Amy and other shop owners who offer CustomFit. I’m always so impressed with the ways the CustomFit team is constantly trying to refine the program. Some things you wouldn’t notice if you didn’t know about the change–better user interfaces, or improvements to how the pattern engine responds when you tweak a pattern after it first combines your gauge, measurements, and design choices. Others are more noticeable–switching from using line drawings to using photographs to illustrate the basic designs. And still others are big changes that will really expand the way we can knit for ourselves and others–there are new silhouettes in the works that will make it possible to use CustomFit to knit for men and children, or to knit sweaters with a trapeze or A-line shape.

The enthusiasm and great ideas from other shop owners inspire me as well. Yvonne, who manages Natural Stitches in Pittsburgh, PA, is spearheading an effort to create a CustomFit trunk show to showcase more of the designs that are built into the program. Right now, participating shops are sending in proposals for which designs we’d like to make in which yarns, and once the sweaters have been knit and collected, they will start traveling between participating shops. Obviously, this won’t happen overnight, but it will be a great resource going forward!

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