Monday, October 31, 2016

The Lovebird Sweater and a Scary Knitting Story

Sometimes a terrible knitting experience can work out for the best.

Last winter, I knit this gorgeous sweater. The colorwork wasn't puckering, there were no holes, and I was so flippin pleased with myself. Then I tried it on.

I looked like a wrestler. Because I knit the sweater to fit my bust, the rest of the fit was off quite a bit in the shoulders. So I put it in the closet and I didn't look at it for a year.

Don't worry. There's good news. This mishap resulted in me being featured on the Pom Pom Quarterly podcast. Scroll to the bottom for more on that...

Pattern: Lovebird Sweater by Donna Kay
Yarn: Cascade 220 Sport in Natural and Lake Chelan Heather

P.S. Have I ever told you that I loathe posing for photos? I do.

As winter is approaching, I decided to pull it back out this year and try to do something about those sleeves. I consulted my crafty friends, and they all suggested that I cut into the sleeves and try to sew them.

This scared the crap out of me. But when you knit something so lovely, you do what you have to do to rescue it.

You can only sort of tell that the sleeves have been messed with.

I asked my friend Sami to pin the sweater sleeves while I was wearing it inside out. Here's a peek at how much I needed to take off the shoulder. Yikes.

It took a while to get the guts to cut into it, but finally I snipped that extra fabric right off.

It wasn't pretty at first. I tried a couple of different things, like crocheting the new cut sleeve cap together. (Too bulky.) I also tried just sewing a mattress stitch, but the green color was poking out in some really scary spots, and I was sure it was going to unravel.

My last resort was a serger. Serging the seam made me feel a little better about the stitches being secure. The fit isn't perfect, but it's so much better than it was.

My favorite features of this sweater, besides the birds of course, are the hem and the neckline. Thankfully I didn't have to cut into those.

I knew this sweater was magical when I started knitting it, because our kitty who hates me and never wants to be around me curled up and slept on it while I was knitting it.

The construction of the sweater was bottom up. Here it is in progress when I was so close yet so far away.

The sleeve construction was awesome. I've never stitched a sweater where you attached the sleeve as you worked, then seamed the underarm. It looked lovely, so it's too bad I had to ruin it by cutting into it!

The really awesome thing about this mess-up is that I wrote to Pom Pom Quarterly magazine about the knitting horror story, and they featured it on the podcast! Woohoo! I listen to their podcast every month, so it was really cool to be mentioned there. Listen to Pom Pom Quarterly's Podcast 30 here. You can hear my story around the 58:11 mark.

Here's the text in case you can't listen to the podcast:

Hello, Lydia and Sophie!

I listened to your recent podcast and wanted to share my terrifying knitting situation with you. I knitted Donna Kay's Lovebird Sweater for months, knitting it in the size to fit my bust. The sweater is stitched bottom up and I kept trying it on, paranoid that my huge bustline was going to ruin things for me. The bust is usually the hardest part for me to fit, so I once I got passed that, I breathed a sigh of relief and continued on. Little did I know, the terrifyingly awful fit awaited me at the top of the shoulders.

I did a lovely neat bind off, then tried the sweater on to discover that -- oh crap -- I looked like Hulk wearing a pretty sweater. The shoulders stuck out like a 1980s power suit stuffed with shoulder pads. "Maybe it's supposed to fit like that," offered my knitting friends as they forced a smile.

I didn't even know where to begin if I ripped back. Desperate, I cut into the sweater (yes, with scissors. the horror!), removing part of the sleeve cap, and creating a new seam with a serger. It's not nearly as neat and lovely as the original, but at least I don't look like a wrestler anymore.


So for anyone out there who ever needs to snip into their knitting, I'm your gal. If you need to snip it to get a good fit, I say go for it.

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