CHEST OF KNITTING HORRORSTM – TATANIA

I mentioned my experience with this project before. Tatania is a pattern by Berroco, written for now discontinued SensuWool. Berroco probably won’t like to hear this, but I used a different yarn – the confusingly named King Australian Merinos/Rosina Stampata. That was the yarn with the ambiguous label I wrote about in March.

Tatania has had two visits in the Chest of Knitting HorrorsTM. The first happened while I was knitting. The Berroco pattern has a glaring error in it. The piece has a neckline of unusual shape, although it’s hard to see here:

It’s sort of a squared off reverse Vee. It’s a neckline found in late Renaissance gowns, and one that looks quite good on me, so I bit and made the thing. But if you read through the pattern, you’ll discover that the directions say to DECREASE during neckline shaping. That leaves too few stitches on the needles to make the shoulder join, and inverts the shaping of the neckline. Here’san excerpt fromletter I wrote about it to Berroco:

Dear Berroco,

Thank you for making your website so complete, informative, entertaining
and easy to use. I especially like the way you have associated your
patterns and yarns.

I am in the middle of working up your Tatania pattern. I am
enjoying it immensely and am looking forward to wearing the final product.
I did however find what I believe to be a rather serious typo in the
version available at this URL:

http://www.berroco.com/188/188_tatania.html

The problem is in the front, at the point just after the bodice stitches
are bound off across the front of the squared neckline, as you are
beginning to work the sides of the neck opening.

Here is the problem statement:

DEC ROW (RS): Work in ribbing to 2 sts before marker (dec 1, k2,
p3). Working in ribbing as established, dec 1 st before marker every 4th
row 4 times, then every other row 8 times…

I did this, and ended up with far too few stitches to mate the front and
back shoulders properly. Plus, the piece I ended up with reversed the
angles of shaping for the neckline – with the two shoulder parts sloping
outwards instead of inwards.

When I did the computation of stitch count by gauge it became obvious that
I should have INCREASED instead of DECREASING each time "dec" is specified
in the pattern.

I am now proceeding to finish my Tatania, using increases in place of the
decreases in the pattern.

I thought you might like to know about this problem so you can correct your
on-line pattern. The design is striking and it shows off the yarn to good
effect. It would be a shame for knitters to get so far into the thing only
to face frustration. I am sure you would not want that frustration to attach
itself to your sterling reputation.

I’m afraid I never heard back from Berroco, and the pattern is still uncorrected on their website. (I’ve since learned that the hard copy edition in Book #188 – Holiday also sports the same error.)

As you can see, I did muddle on through and produce the final piece. As expected, the welted center panel does draw up a bit in the center. That’s probably why the model was posed with her hands covering that spot. Even so, it’s a striking, form-fitting and very flattering piece.

O.K. So why did it go back to the Chest of Knitting HorrorsTM?

The yarnI used isjunk.The color is beautiful – a combo of deep blue with a ragg-type strand of brights twisted in. It’s wear-against-the skin soft and luxurious. But since knitting it has begun disintegrating. Without provocation (no moths, no mold, no laundry stress, no rough handling, no careless storage, and after only two wearings), spots here and there have broken. I’ve got a half-dozen safety pins in the piece right now, holding stitches to prevent them from laddering down. I need to find my leftovers and do some aggressive duplicate-stitch style darning, in effect Kitchener grafting the broken bits together. I’m especially annoyed because I had no clue this would happen as I was knitting. Grrrr.

More on Yarn Names

In response to yesterday’s rant about yarn names I got one note that pointed out something I didn’t know. It was from someone who works for a yarn manufacturer. That person pointed out that there are very few ways for a committee thinking up yarn names to check to be sure that the name they pick hasn’t been used recently. One way is to look in the index of Valuable Knitting Information, a twice-yearly spiral bound volume listing yarns going back abouta decade or so (the recent 40th edition goes back all 20 years). VKI although large does not list all yarn manufacturers, and does not associate yarns with any sort of date, so it’s tough to see how old an entry might be unless one checks through back issues to spot when it appears.

Another way they’ve been using lately is to look up the name on wiseNeedle. Although our list is smaller and dates aren’t precise, they do exist and can give a clue as to whether or not the name under investigation might still be on the shelves. Interesting! This is a use for wiseNeedle I didn’t consider. The note went on to say that the maker the author works for does check the yarn reviews for their products and greatly appreciates both positiveAND negative comments.

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