I finally cast on for a sweater that’s been in my queue forever, the Sibella pullover by Carrie Bostick Hoge. I swatched in both stockinette and lace, using a beautiful alpaca bought directly from the producer in Oregon. (It’s possible I even met my fiber providing alpaca himself, Copi, when I was visiting the farm a few summers back.) The yarn is glorious, and it couldn’t be a more enjoyable knitting experience, but…I think the sweater is coming out too big.
This pattern only has a size 30 and a size 34, so my actual size (based on a high bust measurement of 32″) is somewhere in-between. Since I absolutely love this Topshop sweater pictured, I measured it and found that it was around 36 inches, a relaxed fit, but still not absurdly big. So I cast on for the 34, since the ribbing at the hip would be perfect for my 35″ hips. (This means I have one inch of negative ease to avoid “floating hem,” a phrase from Amy Herzog in her Knit to Flatter book.) My ribbing is knit on a US 3, since I was getting gauge in stockinette on a US 4, and my ribbing often turns out annoyingly loose unless I size down. Last night I made it through the waist decreases, and decided to check on the sizing.
Weirdly, the ribbing is great, but the stockinette seems to be coming out bigger than anticipated. Swatch, you lie! At the point of the waist decreases, the sweater should measure 32 inches, but it looks a lot more like 36, which means (dun dun DUN), the bust will be more like a size 38 or 40! WAY too big.
If this yarn weren’t 90% alpaca and 10% bamboo, I might let it go, and embrace the cozy sweatshirt look (after all, that TopShop sweater is measuring at 36″), but I have no doubt this is going to relax, bloom, and drape like crazy. Not to mention that when I calculate my sweater gauge, it looks like I could actually knit the size 30″ and get around a size 32″. Arglebargle. My only concern is that I have broader shoulders than is expected for a size 32, and not having much experience with yoked sweaters, I’m not sure what to do about the potential “sweater-in-my-armpits” phenomenon.
Before I deal with the possibility of frogging this whole thing (or at least back to the ribbing, which was not my favorite part of this experience), I plan to wet block it and see how the yarn behaves. Who knows, that lovely ribbing might go all saggy, baggy elephant on me. (Anyone else read that book as a kid? It was a favorite of mine.)
While that’s happening, I’ll try not to get distracted and cast on something else, like this, maybe?