On The Third Day, I Ripped

The colors I chose for my Tomato

Let me be clear: It's not Amy-the-book-author's fault I ended up having to rip out two days' worth of knitting on the Tomato. It's also not Wendy-the-pattern-designer's fault. It's entirely my fault, because even though I followed Amy's brilliant No Sheep For You teaching and Did The Geeky Thing, I completely forgot that I was knitting for my real self and not for my imaginary self.

I am a big girl. That's a fact. However, and this is the interesting part: I am not as big as I think I am. I suspect this is true of many of us gals. We are so brainwashed by the media that, in our minds and in our mirrors, we see ourselves as—literally—larger than life. However, I am not larger than life-sized (and neither, I suspect, are you). I am simply "life-sized." But I forgot how powerful my imagination is. When I cast on for Tomato the first time, I cast on for
No Sheep For You by Amy R. Singer
that imaginary big girl and not for the actual big girl I am. No one said knitting for women was simple, just rewarding.

Somewhere around the middle of the second day of knitting, I began to get nervous. This Tomato was looking darn huge, as in, that's a LOT of salsa…which brings me to the "gorgeous-but-scary" color choice I referred to in the last post. See the photo? Those are the yarns I bought: Poppy, a rich orange, and Caribbean, a cool teal for the accent color. Pretty pretty, but, um…quite "vibrant." So when the nervousness first hit, I figured it was just the orange freaking me out—I have never knit with orange in my life, ever, and even though I loved the color, I was having second, third, and fourth thoughts about wearing something this bright. (Talk about attention-getting. Eeek!) However, my gauge was spot-on, thanks to Amy's lessons on getting my geeky thang on. I even re-measured my curvy self with a new (and thus not-stretched out) tape measure on Friday night
Measuring my Tomato using waste yarn
before casting on, just to be sure. The tape measure said I owned about 42.5" worth of curves, so I figured the 44.5" finished size would do nicely.

That, of course, was my fatal mistake. In order to make a truly hot Tomato, I needed to embrace my curves with two little words I had forgotten to take into account: Negative Ease. You want negative ease when you want something to gently and attractively hug your curves, and when you knit with a yarn that makes a stretchy fabric—such as the lovely Blue Sky Organic Cotton I was using. Somewhere around Row 47, I realized that if I continued merrily along the knitting path I had chosen, I would end up with a baggy, saggy tasteless Tomato instead of the hot tasty Tomatillo I wanted.

That was Saturday night, and I couldn't bear the thought of having to start over, so I went to bed vigorously convincing myself that everything would be oh-so-tasty
Zoe helps measure my little green top
and fine. Sunday morning, fortified with coffee, I faced reality and put all 242 stitches on waste yarn so that I could get accurate measurements. My gauge was still right on target…but something else was wrong and I knew it. I got out my two favorite tops, tops that fit well and make me look great, and I measured them, laid flat. They were each about 40" around at the underarm. The Tomato I was knitting was going to be 44.5" around at the underarm. That extra four and a half inches meant my Tomato would be too loose, despite my actual 42.5" measurements. I needed the fabric to skim my curves lovingly, not hang shapelessly over them so that my curves look bigger than they are.

And so now: I rip. I am starting over with the next size down, the 40" size. This Tomato is gonna make one spicy dish of big-girl salsa.

Next time: That stripe and what I did with it.

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