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March 8, 2004

Haste, Waste, etc...


We've spent three of the four last weekends in New York. We always drive, and in a strange way I've started to enjoy the four-hour trip. We've gotten in the habit of listening to books on CD and Jason, the doll, doesn't mind if I keep a light on to knit by. It can't be just any knitting though -- if I stare at any fixed point in the car for a long period of time I start to turn green, so detailed knitting or anything that requires frequent referral to a pattern is out. This last weekend, I decided to work on my mom's Waikiki Tank on this trip -- lots of straight stockingette to keep the carsickness at bay.

After we got onto the highway and started our book, I got out my knitting. After looking at the pattern and then starting to knit, I realized that I had forgotten quite a bit about this pattern and project -- some of it good and some of it bad. Here's the current tally.

The Good
1. Speed: this project just zooms along. It's knit with No. 9s and there's just not a lot to it -- especially compared to my only other on-going project.
2. Yarn: the colors are extraordinarily vivid, and the drape of the fabric they create together is (for lack of a better word) sexy.

The Bad
1. Size: When my mom asked me to make her this tank, I had her try mine on for sizing purposes: it fit perfectly. The problem? I cannot, for the life of me, recall what size I made mine. No problem, I figured -- I know my measurements, so I'll just check the pattern. Unfortunately, the Yarn Girls don't provide any measurements-based guidance for picking a size (bust size, etc). Next I tried to guess based on the amount of yarn I had purchased, but I had enough yarn for either the small or the medium.
      The only way, then, to know for sure was to get my Waikiki tank out of winter storage and measure it and/or count stitches. I know, I know, I should have put off starting the tank until I solved this riddle. But had I done that, I wouldn't have had any car knitting -- and I'll always chose ripping later over being idle now. (I cast on for the medium.)
2. Needle Size/Gauge: When I finished the back, I glanced at the pattern schematics and saw right away that it was too long. From the armhole decreases to the top, it should have measured 5.5" -- instead it was around 7". I ripped back and knit it again -- still too long. I ripped back one more time and re-knit, using a different interpretation their (poorly worded) instructions for the decrease intervals-- still too long. After some deep breaths, I took out the tape measure and confirmed the obvious: my gauge was way off.
      I'll admit, I didn't swatch for this tank, but -- here's the rub -- I'm pretty sure that I didn't swatch for my tank, either. Was my tank "wrong", too? Or did I make adjustments in needle size? Again, only a trip into our dungeon, I mean, basement, to paw through our storage bins will solve this mystery.
3. The Yarn: While I love the colors and the drape, I had forgotten how "tangly" the Waikiki yarn was. It's especially annoying if you have to rip anything out (see #2).

The Lesson
I need to make better notes on my projects. I'm going to try to develop a "form" that I can fill out at the end of every completed work with the essential information. So far, I have:

Project Name:
Pattern Source:
Name of Yarn Used:
Amount of Yarn Used:
Needles Used:
Other notions used:
Deviations from the Pattern:
Other Comments (what I wished I'd known before I started this project):

Suggestions are welcome for refining this!

Posted by shannon at March 8, 2004 10:40 PM | For related posts: For Me!, Mom's Waikiki Tank


I don't keep any notes on my projects except for what I write in the blog. Wish I could get my act together to get all the details posted for my projects. But I know I won't. ;0)

Waikiki looks beautiful! I hope it all works out to the right size. Good luck working your way through the pattern details a second time!

Posted by: alison at March 8, 2004 11:35 PM

Don't take this wrong, but it seems like you got your lesson. ;) You really went through all possibilities with this sizing business and your conclusion "make notes in the future" is very wise. I have little note pads everywhere (knitting basket, knitting bag, between the sofa's cushions, in the coffee table drawer...) just in case.

Posted by: Marie at March 11, 2004 10:30 AM

Just bought Waikiki but couldn't find a pattern so I'm adapting. dkid you use a single strand and if so, what sze needle did you use? I started with 9 but thought it was too "holey."

Posted by: Joy at March 17, 2004 11:53 AM


This tank is knit with Waikiki and MilleFilli Fine together. You can read more about the yarn selection process here: http://gringa.org/knit/?archives/000556.php#000556. The pattern is from the book "The Yarn Girls' Guide to Simple Knits", and it's referenced here: http://www.theyarnco.com/knit_display/186. On that webpage, the authors suggest using MilleFilli Fine or Mystik as your solid-colored yarn. I'm sure that you could subsitute any yarn with a similar gauge (5.75-6.5 stitches per inch), or even a different gauge using a different needle. The possibilities are endless!

Good luck!

Posted by: shannon at March 17, 2004 12:02 PM