It’s been quite the week. So, I’ll tell you about this sweater.
Back in September, the Fringe Association’s Karen Templer started an Improvised Top-Down knitalong ( apparently “knitalong” is one word – I don’t understand either). I jumped on board, excited to take on the challenge of knitting a sweater without a pattern, and learn about sweater construction in a “next level’ sort of way. As Nancy at my local yarn shop once told me “you are the master of your knitting,” and this seemed like a solid step toward actually believing that sentiment. Now, I’m pretty proud that I was able to plan, knit, and finish a wearable garment that is (almost) my size. It’s a pretty empowering thing for a knitter, and I’m so glad I took part. This sweater, however, had issues from the get-go.
First, I neglected to account for my button band stitches. I realized my error early on, but instead of ripping and fixing the stitch count when I was only an inch into the sweater (sighs deeply, rolls eyes) I pressed on – deciding to pick-up stitches and add the band at the end. Certainly, I assured myself, everything would be fine…
I re-knit the sleeves a time or two, trying to determine out how fast to decrease. Clearly, I never figured it out. I think part of my sleeve issue was perhaps related to my yoke depth, but I could also just be making things up to sound like I know what I’m talking about. I love the ribbed section that makes up the oversized hem, but when I pretend it’s buttoned, the hem has the added effect of making the top half look like a mushroom with a wonky neckline. Turns out that shape isn’t super flattering.
There were obviously fit issues, but I finished the sweater anyway, crossed my fingers, wove in ends, and blocked it in the hopes that it’s problems would magically be remedied. After drying for three days it was clear that this sweater would in no way be okay to leave as is. Frumpy town has no place here. Something must be done.
Did I mention that my initial plan was a for a fitted sweater with limited positive ease? Such a rookie. This past week I stared at this ill-fitting sweater, sulked in the frustration of efforts gone awry, contemplated what should or should not be done, and came to a few conclusions…
You can’t ignore the facts. This sweater does not fit. I could tell you it does – insist that what you and I see is in fact the finest sweater in the history of sweaters, but facts are facts. There are no alternatives.
I knew what I wanted – what I valued and expected this cardigan to become. What I ended up with does not reflect what I hoped for. I could pretend that it’s fine, hang it in my closet for the next four years and ignore it’s issues and lack of effectiveness, but it won’t change the fact and I need a cardigan in my wardrobe that works for my every day life.
There are those who would look at this sweater and tell me it’s just fine. I need to get over my expectations and wear it. What do I have to complain about when I have a sweater that will keep me warm? But it isn’t right, and I would know that every time I put it on. Starting over will have it’s frustrations, but I’m doing it anyway… it will be worth the extra effort in the end.
Since I don’t require a cardigan that I can fit body armor under, I’ve decided to rip and re-knit. I am capable of making a positive change – I can rethink, reshape, and recreate this thing that’s gone wrong. If I’m not sure of the next step, or how to go about solving a particular problem, I know there is an incredible community out there, ready to lend a hand. First, I’ll plan – you see, before I rip apart something that “works,” I think it’s important to have a better option already worked out.
Deep breath. Here we go.