Project Awesome Auntie: Update

The other day I told you how I have been asked to duplicate a favourite jumper of my niece's in a larger size. I hope to send it to her by her Birthday, February 6. I'm taking this adventure seriously, so seriously that it has a code name: Project Awesome Auntie. Also, I was so excited that I bought this printable cotton (which has already arrived!) so that I can make a tag for the jumper saying something cute (and maybe with some washing instructions for my sister-in-law). I have made some headway on Project Awesome Auntie, and I'd like to share with you my progress.

I started my pattern planning by looking at the pattern upon which I'm basing my jumper (this one). I printed out a picture of the jumper I'm trying to copy, then I changed the pattern to match it.  Here are some pictures of this process:

Because of the large number of colours I'm using, including four different shades of pink, I numbered all the balls so I knew which order I meant to knit them in.

Then, I did a tension swatch, which I blocked then compared to the given tension. It came out almost perfectly to tension. This made it quite annoying when I had got a fair way through knitting the jumper and it looked too small. I'm semi-confident now that I'll be able to get it to the desired size through blocking. I'll get to why I think my tension is off in a little while.

So yesterday I went to some friends' shack by the beach and spent the night there. Thankfully my friends are fairly uninteresting so I was able to get plenty of knitting done without pesky conversation getting in the way (just kidding, friends *shifty sideways glance*). I've made heaps of progress. Here is the jumper as of now:

I'm pretty happy with it so far, but like I said, my tension is off. There are two possible explanations that I can see for this:
  1. I knit my tension swatch flat and most of the jumper is knit in the round. I have read before that if you are knitting in the round, you should do your swatch in the round. From my experience, there isn't much difference between the tension of circular and flat knitting. Furthermore, I don't think it would make much difference, since so many patterns are knit partly flat, partly in the round, without changing needle size. However, I'm basing this on observation, I've never actually directly compared the tension of circular and flat knitting. 
  2. This is what I think is the culprit. I recently found out that I have been knitting wrong. I wound the yarn the wrong way around the needle when both knitting and purling. This led to twisted stitches, and therefore twisted finished objects (for ravelers, see here to see the conversation in which I learned of my error). To be honest, I saw good points to my unusual method of knitting, but I changed to the usual style to avoid twisted FOs. HOWEVER, my brother got me for Christmas the iconic book, Knitting Without Tears, by Elizabeth Zimmerman. I love my brother. In this book, Zimmerman recommends that you twist your stitches for ribbing, to create a more elastic fabric. I jumped at the chance to get back to my roots, and I twisted the ribbed stitches on my niece's jumper. Why would that make a difference, you ask? Premise one: I think twisting stitches does shrink your tension a little. Premise two: I've observed that when I knit a stocking stitch swatch with a garter stitch border, my tension comes out much looser than if I didn't do the border. This demonstrates to me that the stitch type surrounding a piece of knitting affects the tension of said piece of knitting. Therefore, conclusion: the ribbing was knitted tighter, therefore the stocking stitch was knitted tighter. I apologise to non-knitters here, as I'm sure that most of what I'm saying only makes sense to knitters. 
Like I said, I think the tension will be righted, at least mostly, by blocking. Also, once I realised the jumper was on the small side, I started to deliberately knit a little looser. I'm glad I chose to knit a size which is on the larger side for my niece.

So tune in next time for the next update on Project Awesome Auntie!

The Knitted Kitten