I finally finished this sweater – I cast off the final sleeve stitches, in the dark, on the road, on the way home from our Scotland trip. I wove in the ends last night, which means it took me just over nine months to knit it.
1. I don’t take my own advice
“Knit a swatch,” I screech like a harpy when people ask me what my top advice is for knitting garments. “Always, always knit a swatch when substituting yarn!” I substituted yarn. I did not swatch. The tension was wrong in the beginning, and I had to reknit parts as a result. Total, epic fail.
2. I don’t read instructions
Well, I do, but sometimes I convince myself that I remember how many neck stitches I was meant to pick up. “85 sounds right,” I thought. I knitted the neck, and couldn’t fit my head through the hole. Frog. Reknit. Twice.
3. I started knitting it when I was a different shape
While I have roughly maintained a largely human shape, I was three sizes bigger when I started knitting it. I figured it would stretch. Joke’s on me, it doesn’t stretch as much as I thought it would, and I’m lucky that it fits me now, after some re-thinking of the pattern, frogging, and lots of cursing.
4. The shape isn’t really for me
I started knitting this sweater because some friends were doing a knit-a-long, and I am a sucker for community projects. I’m of a shape that needs tailoring, lest I look like a literal potato sack. This sweater is drapey and gorgeous, which just looks like a burlap bag on me. In order to make it look not terrible on me, I had to add about 4 inches to the bottom, an extra 1.5 inches of ribbing, take in the sleeves another 8 stitches and shorten them to 3/4 length, take in the waist a considerable amount more, and change the neck. It’s a great pattern, but I should have thought more about the shape before I cast on!
5. Sometimes I feel like I need to seek revenge against my knitting
It’s true – I’m not the most reasonable person when I get frustrated. My wife regularly has to gently guide me away from the computer when it’s being slow or installing updates. After extra frogging (the second time), I tried it on in the Scottish cottage. I marched into the living room, needles flopping at my side, and announced that I would be frogging the entire sweater before setting it on fire and watching it tumble over a waterfall.
My friends (and fellow knitters) Sue and Valerie wisely took my knitting away from me that night, and replaced it with a gin and tonic. Friends don’t let friends knit angry.
It’s done now, and I don’t hate it. But you can bet I put some serious thought in before I cast on my next large garment (which will probably be in January. Or next week. Or tomorrow. Or tonight. I have no self control.)
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