Yesterday I came across a new and crass acronym on Ravelry: JFGI. While the F part is a bit much, it is good advice because, truly, that's the only way to learn things is to do it yourself. In the spirit of do-it-yourself learning, let me entertain you by divulging what a glutton for punishment I must be...
I'm working on a toddler version of Elizabeth Zimmermann's Hybrid Shirt-Yoke Sweater. Now enters my dilemma. I've made the sleeves in a different color since I didn't have enough of one color. So... intarsia in the round. I'd never done intarsia ITR and naively decided to knit the first two rounds of the yoke without looking into it (not to mention the fact that I didn't separate each skein into separate balls for each of the four sections -- ha ha ha ha ha). Uh, yeah. Since you work right to left every round, I discovered that the working yarn strands all end up on the left. So when you get to the next round, there aren't any working strands to pick up. Um, duh. At this point, I decided to JFGI. Oh crappola, that took a while. There are many methods of intarsia ITR, and the one that suits my dilemma turns out to not be that bad for my situation, thank goodness. However, all methods have one similarity: you must work back and forth. Ack! That sorta defeats my purpose in making a seamless sweater. But, hey I'm the ignoramus who chose to make the sleeves in two colors. I'm not turning back now!
OK, so I had to frog back to the beginning of the yoke, luckily only 3 rounds. After that, I went to sleep and woke up planning how to gel together the intarsia ITR method I chose with the principles of the EZ Seamless Hybrid pattern, not to mention customizing the saddles and neck opening for a toddler-sized head. After some consideration, I came to the conclusion that I can only do my double raglan decreases on the RS rather than every 3rd round. Crap. OK, so I did the math and figured that I can do a combination of every 4th round at first, followed by every other round which will bring the raglan seam in faster at the top. I'll still be able to do the decreases in the same number of rounds as the original pattern. Yay, score one for me. Next, instead of eating up 1/3 of the front and back stitches when doing the saddles, I'll be changing that fraction to 1/4 so as to leave 50% open for the neck. Due to this change, I'll have to work 3/4 of the back sts rather than 2/3 for the first saddle.
Since I can't be doing double decreases and dealing with yarnovers at the same time, I decided to move the location of the beginning of the round to the back: now it's going to be where I'll end my first saddle, which is close to the back left shoulder. When I've finished the raglan decreases and reached the end of the round, I'll turn, YO, and purl back toward the right shoulder to begin the saddle short rows on the WS. When the short rows and back portion of the right saddle are complete, I'll work the YO together with the first of the remaining back stitches reserved for left saddle consumption. The rest shouldn't be as difficult from there.
Oh wait. Back up. Did I mention that I haven't decided exactly how to follow the directions for the double decreases without screwing up the division of the two colors or the marked stitch? There are three sts involved, two white body sts and one sleeve st. I'm considering using a s1k2togpsso (left-slanting) and ssk-return-pass-return (right-slanting). The trick will be to keep the marked sts the same color, preferably red since that's what will happen on the saddles. This is one of those things where you just have to "do" to find out what works. Knit and learn.
Despite the increasing lack of simplicity in following my first EZ pattern due to my use of intarsia ITR and making it have a larger head opening, I did discover some nice things along this latest learning curve. I'll still be able to mimic the original pattern. I've been introduced to more techniques concerning intarsia (I didn't even know that you could do intarsia ITR!). The best thing I discovered is that EZ knows her math. When I was determining how many sts to pick up in the front and back for the neckline, I used EZ's 2-for-every-3 rule and discovered that these sts together with the front saddle sts add up exactly to 50%. For example: I'll have 27 sts each for the front/back and 9 sts each for the saddles. 2/3 of 27 = 18, so 18+18+9+9=54 which is 50% of the chest circumference for this sweater. Sheer genius that woman :-)
OK, done now. My head hurts!