summer knitting

the dreaded growth

At Shabon Coin Laundry, Morioka

It happened. My notched tank top was the perfect size – and then it grew the first time I wore it.

The thing, at first I thought I wanted it to grow, just because I imagined it with more ease than it ended up having. But when I tried it on, I knew it was perfect the way it was…until it grew. It’s not by too much – maybe about an inch both lengthwise and widthwise. But still. Ugh, ugh, ugh. It must be the way I knit. I look at the recommended needles for a project, drop down by 3 or 4 sizes. My swatches do eventually reach gauge, and sometimes I still drop down a needle size just in case. But still things end up growing out of shape.

The top is completely fine – maybe a tiny bit longer than I wanted but the larger size still ends up draping well against my body. But it’s the principle of the thing. I’m frustrated. Why do I have to be such a loose knitter? I read somewhere to try knitting stitches bunched up on the tips of the needle, as this will prevent the bar between stitches from getting too long. But doing that hurts my hands.

I know, I know: I was knitting with:
metal needles
・plant fiber
a dense, heavy gauge
・continental style

None of those contribute to tight knitting! I’m lucky it was only an inch! But still, I thought I had compensated enough by knitting a size down. I should have nixed another inch of length. Well, I guess I know for next time! I’m going to knit my next top like to a cropped top length, and it’ll probably stretch out to my crotch!

Sticking it in the dryer only ended up snapping it back about a centimeter or two*. It did soften up a lot, just like they said linen would. I hadn’t tried it before, because I don’t actually own a dryer. People hang up their clothes to dry in Japan, so it’s just not a common appliance. It’s just as well that frying it a bit didn’t change the length, because a) I feel like using the dryer will shorten the life of the fabric, and b) I’d need to bike about 15 minutes to the nearest laundromat every time I wanted to use it. I’ll probably stop caring after wearing it a couple times, as it really is fine the way it is. Does anyone else obsess about tiny details once they finish knitting a garment? Maybe it’s just a part of my process.

*Sorry, I know it’s weird to switch between metric and imperial, but I’m an American living in Japan so sometimes one makes more sense to me than the other!

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