I hate my knitting.
I realize this attitude will not get me anywhere, and is unreasonable, and will eventually pass. Nevertheless. At this moment. I. Hate. My. Knitting.
Reason, the first: The Adult Surprise jacket is done and, true to its name, it’s a huge surprise. It looks like crap on me. Having suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous numbers of garter stitch rows, its finally done and I hate the way it looks. I am, quite rightly I believe, gutted. I think the problem is with the sleeves, and it might be fixable, but I don’t know yet, as I can barely stand the sight of it.
Reason B: The Tilted Jacket (Norah Gaughan, IK Winter 2004) which had been languishing, but into whose armscyes I flew on the rebound from Adult Surprise, has also let me down, in a big way. I still love it, and think it could quite probably look fantastic on me, if it were in anyway close to the size it’s supposed to be, instead of approximately two sizes too small.
So that’s it. Two big reasons why I hate my knitting, in two big projects that have come close to fruition this week, but fallen far short of the mark. Two sweaters. If one of them had been a scarf, I think I could probably deal, but two sweaters? I am not handling it well.
What these two patterns have in common, other than the fact that I somehow screwed the pooch on both of them, is that they feature “non-traditional” shaping. Which is to say that parts of them are knit sideways, backwards, upside down and/or on the diagonal, and yet somehow this process results in a sweater-shaped garment. Those are the fronts of the Tilted Jacket you’re looking at there. Doesn’t look like two fronts, I know, but there we are.
Owing to their non-traditional construction, neither of this week’s sweater patterns are ones that can be easily tried on as you go along. You have to take them on faith, and just cast on and hope that it all works out. Which is great, when that works out for you, but which really bites when it doesn’t.
In the case of the Adult Surprise, I knew I would have to knit blind at the beginning of our relationship, and I accepted that. I looked at lots of these sweaters on Ravelry before I began. The one I liked the best was knit from hand spun (which was also my plan) using the instructions that make the body a little narrower, and the sleeves a little wider than the original. I liked the way it fit the knitter in the picture, and she looked not dissimilar to me in size and shape, so decided to use the same instructions.
At this point I’m not sure how I went wrong, all I know is that the sleeves ended up much, much wider than I intended. Note: I have tried several times to get a decent shot of me wearing the garment, but there’s no one home, and it’s a gray day, so not enough light for the mirror trick, and it’s just not happening. You’ll just have to take my word for it. The body of the jacket fits well, but when I raise my arms the upper part of the sleeve dangles like I’m about to call, “Bingo!” Really not the look I was going for. I knit the fronts wider than the pattern called for, to create a sort of lapel on the jacket, but I really don’t like the reverse side of the fabric when it’s folded back. That is easy enough to fix, I’ll rip back to make those fronts meet in the center, instead of overlap. But the sleeves present a much trickier proposition, as their width is determined by the placement of the mitered decreases that are worked from row one of the pattern. ROW ONE.
There’s just no way I’m ripping this out, and starting over. Even if the hand spun Polworth could take it, ripping seems a step too far. And yet, I know for a fact that I will NEVER WEAR THIS SWEATER in the state in which it now exists. The loss of the Polwarth yarn, which is so wonderful, and so dear to me, raises this knitting fail to epic proportions. This is why I am now pretending that the Polwarth still exists in my stash, untouched, and that I have never heard of an Adult Surprise jacket, much less knit one. Denial is my only way forward.
The Sweater That Shall Not Be Named was the impetus for the flurry of Tilted Jacket sleeve cap knitting over the weekend. I really needed a success, badly, and I was so close to finishing this one. The body of this raglan cardigan was knit sideways, and I’d already finished the back and both fronts, and blocked them to size. The unusual construction of this sweater meant that it was impossible to see how, or if it would fit, until it was finished. I completed the sleeves over the weekend, and blocked them, and began sewing it all up. First the raglan seams, then the back of the neck, and finally, the sleeve and and side seams. Let me state, again, that these pieces were blocked to the size called for in the schematic. Imagine my shock in discovering that the raglan shaping was not really deep enough, and the sleeves were fully 6 inches too short. I knit the size to fit a 40″ bust, because I happen to possess a 40″ bust, and while the bust fits just fine, the sleeves are way too short and tight. It’s like they belong to a different sweater.
The thing about the sleeves is that I had a sneaking hunch while I was knitting them that the pattern could possibly be not quite right, but I never did check for errata. (I have since; there are no corrections for this pattern.) The total length of the sleeve underarm seam, before the raglan decreases, was supposed to be 17 inches, including the cuff. However, the cuff itself is supposed to be 6.5 inches which, when turned back, would result in an underarm seam length of… 11.5 inches. Can that be right?
Let’s look again at the picture. The left sleeve of this sweater is clearly rolled back, and the sweater is hanging off her left shoulder. If those sleeves are 11.5 inches long, then the model is under three feet tall, and she is sitting on doll house furniture. Do those sleeves seem 11.5 inches long to you? No, they didn’t to me either. And yet, I knit blindly on.
The thing about knitting blindly is that eventually you have to open your eyes. There will come a day when I will have to deal. I will have to unpick these sweaters, in more ways than one, and try to figure out how to right what went wrong. And I will. Eventually.
After several days of back-to-back sweater fail, all I can say is thank goodness for babies. Thank goodness they are small and easy to knit for, and thank goodness that Zach and Laura’s friends, Eve and Jimmy, have just had one. When you don’t have your own grandchildren to knit for, knitting for the babies of your children’s friends is the next best thing. And thank goodness there’s a new baby to knit for, because I needed a sweater success like nobody’s business.