How long is your hand? (The non-Trump edition)

Conversations with Emma about a sweater.

Subtitled: “in which things move from the ordinary to the ridiculous”

Alternatively subtitled: “do I have to send her to a doctor?”

July 27th:

Emma (via email): “On a related note, while searching, I found this tweed pattern which I absolutely love. I feel like its far too complicated for me to start out with, but if you felt like making me something, I’d get a lot of wear out of it. Maybe this would be a moss green opportunity (though I really do like the brick colour). Let me know what you think. [Links to Tinder by Jared Flood; see photo below.] (As usual, I still have some potential modification suggestions…)”

© Brooklyn Tweed/Jared Flood

© Brooklyn Tweed/Jared Flood

Emma (via email): “Thinking on this a little more, I am really quite taken with the sweater. If you felt like doing it there are two lovely colorways in shelter – birdbook and artifact. I think either one would look really great!”

Kelly (via email): “Hi Emma, by amazing coincidence I am going to Loop this evening for knit night. I would need to buy 9 skeins of shelter for Tinder (I think I would make the second size – it should have 2″ of ease – the pattern says 8 but you have long arms so I would buy 9 to be sure). I kind of think I like artifact better, but they only have 6 skeins. I will look at the birdbook and see what I think. I am worried that it will be more brash than mossy but will have to see IRL. I think the sweater would also be lovely in wool socks or in artifact, both of which are in stock. I will check out the shelter today.”

Kelly (via email): “I bought the birdbook. I looked at the three greens they have in shelter – tent, bird book and artifact – and decided that bird book is really the only one I liked. The artifact is very gloomy, with blue undertones and the tent is just weird.”

Emma (via text): “Yeah I didn’t like tent very much, and that’s exactly what I had been thinking about the difference between bird book and artifact. Yay! 🙂 I still want to run some ideas about the bottom by you (basically I think there’s too much ribbing at the bottom but I still like the length). At work now, I’ll call you tomorrow if I don’t get off until late xoxo”

Kelly (via text): “i am happy you picked out a sweater for me to knit. i like knitting things for you. have fun at work. talk tomorrow.”

August 2nd:

Kelly (via email): “Did you read my post?”

Emma (via email): “I didn’t realise it had my swatch in it!! I love it!! You haz zee go ahead!!”

Kelly (via email): “sorry. i want clarification here. are you giving me the go-ahead to knit your sweater with this yarn? you don’t feel as if you need me to mail you the sample first? (I would love to start it today as I am projectless, but I really don’t want you to decide you don’t like it later. I can always find something else to knit…..) the photo on the blog is what it looks like outside in natural light. it is slightly darker and more olive-y inside and in the evening. let me know.”

August 5th:

Emma (via email): “did you start the tinder sweater already? i just searched for projects done in artifact and some of them are really quite lovely. just have a look and tell me what you think. it’s hard to tell the difference between the green qualities”

Kelly (via email): “Hey Chica, I already started it. I really did not like the artifact when I saw it in the shop. But I can put a hold on it and send you the sample.”

Kelly (via email): “hi em, i had decided to order a skein of artifact and knit up a swatch and then send you both swatches to decide between. it turns out that loop only has 5 skeins in stock (and I need 9). I can go ahead and do that anyway, and then if you decide on the artifact, i will have to wait until they get a new shipment, but there is probably one due in the early fall. i am willing to do that if you want. I have only just finished the ribbing on the bottom back and have still only used one skein of yarn.”

August 8th:

Kelly and Emma (via phone!!!)

[30 minutes of discussion on how difficult it is to rely on the colours on the computer screen and exactly what shade of green Birdbook is; this is a little like trying to describe the taste of a bottle of wine: “it is really foresty, but with a smidgeon of grass, and some berry thrown in for good measure”]

Kelly: “Hey Em, I figured out something. I will send you a photo of the Tinder swatch using Birdbook, next to the left-over ball of green from your Carnaby skirt. Since you know the shade of the skirt, then you can compare the two colours and the computer screen will cease to be an issue.”

Emma: “That’s a great idea!”

Kelly: (via email): “hey chica, i looked through about 47 bags of yarn to find a left-over ball from carnaby. success! just took a photo of it next to the birdbook swatch and hopefully mailed it to you from my phone. this is mailed straight, without any colour touch-ups. seeing them next to each other makes me more convinced this is what you want. i was afraid that the birdbook would be too bright, but compared to the carnaby it is much richer, darker, with more olive and moss tones, while still being much more green than artifact. if you like it, that is good, because i am going crazy with nothing to knit. (but, still, if you aren’t sure just tell me – its not like i don’t have any yarn on hand.)”

[Note: Below is a photo of Emma’s Carnaby skirt, and the photo of the yarn next to swatch in BT Shelter in Birdbook.]



Emma (via email): “Perfect! You may proceed!”

Kelly (via email): “wow! that was fast! OK – full steam ahead!”

Later that day:

Kelly and Emma (via phone!):

Emma: “We need to have a discussion about the length for Tinder.”

Kelly: “What about the length?”

Emma: “Well, I want the pattern stitch to go to right at my hip bones, and then the ribbing should stop just at the point where my fingers hit when I am standing with my arms down.”

Kelly: “What do you mean? The sweater is designed so that the length of the arms is identical to the lengths of the body; they are coordinated. The ribbing is the same length for both. It should be long and come past your wrists and down over the base of your thumb. You can always roll them up. But part of what makes the sweater great is the coordination between the sleeves and the body.”

Emma: “Yes, but we both already know my arms are longer than most. If we are making the sleeves longer anyway, and trying to mimic the proportions on the model photo, the ribbing has to be longer!”

Kelly: “Ok, yes that makes sense.”

Emma: “How long is it now?”

Kelly: “It’s at what the pattern asked for – just over 4 inches.”

Emma: “Really? It doesn’t look like that in the photo…. Ok, I don’t have a measuring tape, but when I was looking at home I decided the ribbing should be about the length of my phone. How long is your phone?”

Kelly: “I don’t know. We don’t have the same phone though.”

Emma: “True. Darn. Ok, well my phone is just under the length of my hand. Your hands are a little smaller than mine right? So like, the length from the tip of your middle finger to the base of your hand. That should be the length. Right? How long is that? Do you have a tape measure?”

Kelly: “Give me a minute….That’s about 6 inches! That’s pretty long for the rib. But you’re right, the picture looks much longer than 4 inches.”

Emma: “That’s what I thought!”

Kelly: “Don’t worry; I think I know exactly how long to make this thing.”

Emma: “Just remember, the pattern stitch has to start just below my hip bones, but I’m long in both the legs and the waist. So proportionally the pattern is supposed to hit about a third of the way down my thigh. But four inches on me would only hit quarter thigh! The sweater is supposed to look intentionally long, not like an unfortunately slightly-too-long sweater. So rib from just above mid thigh to just below hip, and pattern stitch from just below hip up. Right? So, hand-length rib.”

Kelly: “Now I’m confused. What you want is for the pattern part to be long as a whole? So that the pattern hits the hip right.”

Emma: “Wait no. Now I’m confused. I think we’re saying different things. I don’t have a tape measure so this is confusing. It just has to hit just right at the hip.”

Kelly: “Ok let’s go back a step. The pattern calls for 18″ from arm hole to base. With 4 inches of ribbing, that makes 14 inches of pattern… That’s shorter than I would knit a normal sweater for you that hits at the hip! I see now; that’s too short. So, really I just need to knit more of the pattern stitch and not more of the rib.”

Emma: “Yes. That’s right. But knit more of the rib anyway. Four inches is just weird. We want intentional ribbing, not oops-we-were-watching-tv-and-knit-too-much-ribbing-and-didn’t-want-to-rip ribbing.”

Kelly: “Got it.”

August 9th:

Kelly (via phone): “I think i will have to re-knit the ribbing. I checked the gauge on the pattern stitch and hit it with a size 8. The pattern says to knit the ribbing with a needle two sizes smaller than gauge needle, so I knit it with a 6, but it seems kind of narrow. I have had this problem with other Brooklyn Tweed patterns. In fact, I once wrote to Brooklyn Tweed pattern support, during the Super Bowl, to ask how I was supposed to get the same gauge knitting 2×2 ribbing with a small needle as I do knitting stockinette with a two-sizes-larger needle. And they wrote back to me, DURING THE SUPER BOWL, to say, basically, and I paraphrase here, “Block the s**t out of it!”

Emma: “Well, ok, that’s sounds fine I guess? I trust your knitting instincts though either way.”

August 10th:

Kelly (via email): “By the way, I decided that the ribbing was ok that I had already knit. I looked at a lot of the Tinders on Ravelry and decided that it only looks good when it is long and lean. So I don’t want to err on the side of too wide. Thus, I have gone ahead and already have 7 inches of the back knit. Woo hoo! It also looks as if I should knit the sleeves a size smaller (but not in terms of length) because many people mention that the sleeves are too wide).”

Emma (via email): “what do you mean about too wide? i thought width was never an issue, just the length of the ribbing? so is it still 4″ of rib?”

Kelly (via email): “No, it’s not too wide. I made the ribbing just over 5″ long. It looks good. But, once blocked, it should be about 20″ wide and it’s not that wide. I was going to switch to a bigger needle and knit it again so it would be a bit wider, but decided that it was going to loosen up a bit when washed. And I would rather err on long and lean than on wide.”

Emma (via email): “yeah also it’s not the kind of sweater i’d wear buttoned up all the time!”

Kelly (via email): “exactly!”

Emma (via email): “WAIT 20″?!? Is that with ease?? because my ass is 38″ in circumference…..”

Emma (via email): “like I agree it will loosen when washed, but is 20″ even enough??”

Kelly (via email): “Ok, maybe I should start over, cause it’s about 14 inches wide without blocking. Look at the schematics on the pattern. I was aiming for the second size ( the 34) so the back is supposed to be 20 across the bottom and 17 and a bit at the chest. Let me know if the schematics seem right to you.”

Emma (via email): “omg i’m an idiot. In my mind everything you knit for me is in one piece. So i thought it was going to be 20 inches in total. but there’s two front pieces. its going to be totally fine I’m just a moron”

Kelly (via email): Ha ha ha!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Emma (via email): “i was busy thinking, “how on earth does mom think 20 inches would be wide enough for the bottom of the sweater??? do i have to send her to a doctor??? who wrote this pattern?????”

…to be continued….

22 thoughts on “How long is your hand? (The non-Trump edition)

  1. You made my day, Kelly – loved it, felt like a real ‘knitting insider’ knowing what you were ralking about…but admit I had to give up reading when my head exploded about two thirds of the way through!

  2. I give you two lots of credit for venturing into this! It reminds me of a time years ago I wanted to knit my sister a sweater. She lived in France and had no measuring tape. One day in the mail I got a package of bits of string, with colored paint on the ends. There was a schematic drawn with body parts color coded. I just had to measure the strings and I was good to go!

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