I started knitting a sweater for my husband in September or October of 2019. I’ve written about it several times (here and here) as I made progress, but to sum up, I knit three quarters of the thing, then stopped due to project fatigue and a repetitive motion injury. Six months later I started the second sleeve, but set it aside again when it wasn’t the same size as the first (this is a prime example of shifting gauge. The first sleeve was knitted on vacation, the second in the middle of a pandemic). After doing a little math I made the new sleeve work. Then I sewed up the seams, knit the front bands and neckband, and sewed on the buttons. I was so excited to finally be finishing the sweater, and I documented my progress copiously on Instagram.
Seaming the body up.
Setting in the sleeves.
Adding the front bands, collar, and buttons.
I thought it was perfect…until my husband tried it on. The sweater didn’t fit. The fit issues were partly due to gaining the COVID 15, but equally at fault was the too-loose gauge I chose for the sweater. The front bands gape and refuse to hang straight even on a smaller body. And the neckline is wonky. It’s too low to be a crew neck, but too high to be anything else, and it stands out from the body instead of fitting snugly to the chest and neck. Part of me wants to rework the neck portion and the front bands and see if that will solve the problems. Another part of me wants to burn the thing and then pretend it never existed.
What do you do when disaster strikes your knitting?
Note to self: when picking up a project that you haven’t worked on in 6 months, read the directions.
Exhibit A: I pulled my husband’s sweater out of the UFO pile this week. I last worked on this in December in hopes of it being ready in time for Christmas. Both fronts, the back, and one sleeve are finished. I would have finished it before the end of 2019 if I hadn’t injured my shoulder by working on it so much (note to self: when knitting a lot, I have to get some exercise to keep from getting injured). I wrote the pattern for this sweater, and I remember knitting the first sleeve, so I jumped right in, figuring I knew what I was doing.
WRONG! I worked six inches past the cuff, merrily increasing every 6th row. When I looked at the directions for how many increases to do, I saw that I was supposed to start out the sleeve by increasing every 4th row.
Riiiiiiiip. It’s amazing how quickly a sweater can be reduced back to yarn. What’s the old saying, the second time is the charm?
It turns out that if I don’t have to use more than 2 needles or take live stitches off my needles I don’t mind cabling. Now, this leaves only a tiny number of the world’s cables easily available to me, but it means there are some I don’t mind. And it just so happens that 1/1 cables without a cable needle are covering the entire back of Portage. So I’m making good progress. I’m currently about halfway done with the raglan increases.
The yarn, Anchor Bay, is so lovely to work with! It tends to be a bit splitty, but once you get used to that it is just the softest, nicest yarn to knit with. I’m already hoping for extra yarn to make a hat or cowl.
In other news, I have been making gnomes. Oh, wait, that’s not news anymore…
I started Portage yesterday. I think it’s interesting that even though I don’t enjoy cabling (it kind of scares me) my 2 sweaters are both heavily cabled. My trick for working with cables is to colour my charts. I colour cables of one type one colour, and choose a different colour for cables of another stitch count or direction. That way the knitting goes more smoothly (and quickly) and I’m not constantly squinting at my chart. Plus it’s pretty.
I’m almost 2 increase charts into the sweater and I’ve already messed something up royally and fudged a solution. So now that that’s out of the way the rest of the sweater should go swimmingly, right?
We all have those projects we dream of knitting but somehow seem to never start. I even have the yarn and patterns for some of these projects. Yesterday I decided there is no time like the present: I should start knitting now. My 2 selected dream patterns are both sweaters (I may be a bit loony).
The first is Esme by Purl Alpaca Designs. I have loved this sweater for years ever since I found it on a (now forgotten) blog.
I love the fit of the sweater. I love the neckline. I love the collar. The only thing I would change would be to knit it with 3/4 sleeves. If my swatch works out, I plan to use my Yarn and Soul Superfine 400.
My second dream sweater is cozier and less ethereal, but no less of a wardrobe staple: the Portage Cardigan by Melissa Schaschwary.
I am using Anchor Bay by Cascade yarns (50/50 cotton/merino), and it is delicious!
I can’t wait to see how these sweaters work up, and even more I can’t wait to wear them!
Sunday was a day for sewing up. And boy did I get a lot done. My first ever set in sleeves! (I’m really glad I knit the body all in one piece, or there would have been even more sewing to do) Here you see my progress as the day went on.
I bought buttons.
And then I faced the reality of the button bands. I’ve never done button bands before. I hate them. The pattern suggests picking up around 460 stitches. Each row takes me half an hour! At least there are only 4 rows and a cast off.
Modifications: I had a really hard time getting gauge with this sweater. I think it was actually designed for a DK or a Sport weight yarn. So I decided to use the fabric that pleased me most and knit a smaller size. I modified the neck opening to be 60 stitches wide, rather than 80. I also lengthened the sweater to be more of a tunic length, and knit garter bands on the hem, neck, and sleeves.
Things I would change: Even though I made the neck smaller than directed it is still wider than I would like. If I knit this again I would make the neck 50 stitches wide.
I am so close to being done with Farrah. On Saturday I finished knitting the main body. On Sunday I finished the neckline and cuffs. I washed and blocked her, and started the sewing up. Oh, and there may have been some dancing around in an unfinished sweater. As you do.