May 18, 2014

Measure. A Revelation.

CROP has bottom up construction with a side closure.
In spite of my foolish decision to take on three test knitting projects lately, I have finished the first two. The paperwork is filled out, pictures taken, check, check.

This latest project, called "CROP," is another Gabrielle Danskknit creation. It is a children's tank top, sized newborn to 6 years. On her pattern, she provides chest circumference sizing too, which was very helpful for me.

It just so happens that Amy Rose has a pretty small chest circumference compared to the "average" 5-year-old. I found this out when sewing her Easter dress. I measured her for the first time ever, which I have never apparently thought was important when knitting her things (can't you always just assume that age sizing is accurate?). I now know that this is why her top "Diamonds for Beatrix" was so huge, with giant, drooping sleeves. Duh.  Cardinal rule for carpenters, sewers AND knitters: measure twice, cut once.
I used some buttons from my Grandma
Miller's button tin, of course. (Required an
inordinate amount of washing of the buttons)
What was ON there?! It was like tape and
glue... from 1955.

Amy's chest circumference is only 19 inches, which is about four or five inches smaller than the "average" 5-year-old sewing or knitting pattern would tell you. This completely freaked me out Easter week while sewing her dress; when I compared this real-life number to the pattern sizing, I was just sure my measurement was wrong and was really worried that the dress would turn out too small. So, like all normal perfectionistic people, I chased Amy Rose around the house, saying, "Just let me check one more time...." Amy Rose ran away all around the house, saying "Mom!! Not again!!"

I measured her in different lights, at different times of day, standing up, sitting down, in a box, with a fox, on a train and on a plane (wait, that one's not in there...). I just couldn't believe my measuring tapes. (That's not a type-o. I used about three different ones...including a wooden ruler.)

The truth was clear for me only after her Easter dress was completely done: She is a 2/3-year-old-size on the top with a 5/6-year-old's length. Tall and skinny.
It may not seem so odd to say it like that, but it was gut wrenching cutting out that precious fabric in two different sizes separately for top and bottom.

Now I know better. No one has to reinvent the wheel. You can actually believe the old "measure once" adage. Those carpenters knew what they were talking about. (I suppose anyone who understands the meaning behind completing the square really should be believed.)

I am set free. My only payment for my crime of knitting stupid was ripping out the Beatrix top. But redemption came in the form of a perfectly fitted Katren Cardigan, knitted for a 3-year-old, but with longer sleeves for a 5-year-old, and in the Beatrix yarn for extra salvation.

Now I take another leap of faith in knitting my third test knit: a shrug in a 2-year-old size. While I am still feeling nervous about this one--it is a different pattern, after all--I forge ahead with measuring tapes in hand.

I may still chase Amy around the house a few times, just to be sure, but I have learned my lesson.

Who says you can't fix stupid?

Amy Loves her Katren sweater so much that I can't get it away from
her. She even sneaked it out of the laundry room after it was done
blocking and before there were buttons. She wore it to school that
way and I had to re-wash it and block it again before adding the
buttons due to little hands tugging and stretching it shut all day,
trying to keep it closed!

Smaller top with a few more cabled hearts added to make the sleeves longer. I could not be happier with the result!

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