In the process of swatching for the Armande Cardigan, I learnt that my tension problems were due to rowing out, and could be solved by slightly modifying my knitting technique. When it came to knitting the cardigan itself, I came across another curiosity I’d never encountered before in all my years of knitting.
Firstly: I hate bottom-up knitting. Hate it, hate it, hate it. I can’t try garments on as they go, there are so many stitches to cast on (and cast ons are never as stretchy as cast-offs), and if I muck something up, there’s a lot of fabric to rip out and redo. That’s what happened with this project – I kept getting the sizing wrong, or worked a too-tight cast on, causing me to rip back and reknit.
After repeating that process more times than I care to recall, I completely reworked the pattern to be knit from the top down. This isn’t a huge imposition in itself – I usually redo the math on patterns to suit my body shape, and because my gauge is often off. The trouble came in trying to convert the collar to be worked from the top down. It took a lot of thinking, but I finally came to a workable solution (I’ll share my notes with you when I’ve finished the garment).
I was so pleased with myself when I cast on from the top, and had worked down to the underarm join when I realised something was wrong. The entire back piece was on a slant! I had knitted, frogged and reknit the yarn so much that I had added excess twist, to the point where the yarn created biased fabric. (According to Clara Parkes, “the fabric leans in the direction of that excess twist in an attempt to release it.”)
A single-plied yarn is often inclined to bias, due to the lack of opposing twist in another ply to balance the yarn. But as I’m not fancy enough to work with single plies (Wool of the Andes certainly isn’t single plied!) I’ve never seen it happen in person, despite being an enthusiastic frogger.
There wasn’t much for me to do but rip the project out, turf the offending yarn, and hope I had enough to complete the project! I’ll keep you updated.
EDIT 17-05-17: I contacted KnitPicks for further information, and this was their response:
“The yarn was probably over twisted when it was spun/plied. Each time the yarn was ripped out, re-balled and knit again, it probably added to the twist, which is what likely caused the bias fabric and bumpy texture.”
I’m glad to know that the problem was with the yarn, and I can knit, frog and reknit to my heart’s content so long as the yarn I’m working with is not overtwisted to begin with. As the product was defective, KnitPicks refunded my purchase.