I Should Have…

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Maybe I haven’t fully caught the knitting bug, or maybe I’m just feeling discouraged. I’m not really as in love with knitting as I thought I’d be. I completely understand that some makers love it, but I think I may need to learn a bit more before I jump into any bigger projects. I finished my cardigan a while ago, and I’ve had it folded up in my knitting basket ever since.

It’s the fit that bothers me. I re-stitched the neckline about three times until it was perfect and very carefully counted my stitches, paying close attention to what I was doing. But even though I made the size that was for my bust, it isn’t what I wanted it to be. If I were to put a button on it and close it (I have it pinned this way), the little buttonhole and side stitches will scream “help me!”

The back of the pattern fits very well. But my back shaping has never been my problem! I know that my issues are stemming from my blatant disregard for fitting. As a patternmaker, I should know better than to do all of this work and make assumptions that it will fit simply because I matched the listed pattern bust measurement. I didn’t make a swatch, I didn’t check the measurements as I made it… basically I wasted a bunch of time. What I should have done first is taken Stefanie Japel’s Craftsy class on fitting knits. I should have adjusted the pattern for my front bust instead of moving forward. I should have stopped when I noticed it looked small.

It’s not the pattern’s fault, it’s my own fault for being a lazy knitter. Maybe I should stick to simpler things for a while?

So now I’m not quite sure what to do with this cardigan. I thought about giving it away, but I know I could unravel it and save all of the beautiful yarn (it’s Berroco Peruvian Quick, color 9186). I still have about 150 yards leftover, so I think I should probably repurpose it.

A second knitting project is going a little better, although moving along veeerrry ssslllooowwwlllyy. Rob picked out a beautiful golden pima cotton for me to make a hat out of for him back in April (here’s the Ravelry link for the pattern). I only work on this for a row or two at a time. I like that it’s taking a while, because I’ve got the chart and twists down now.

Maybe that’s what I need instead? A chart? Instead of counting and re-counting stitches, following charts seems like a welcome change of pace.

What do you with projects you are unhappy with? Do you repurpose them, or hide them away where you’ll never see them again?

On a different note, I wanted to say thank you to Sarah from Ohhh Lulu for picking me as one of the five lucky winners of her monthly ad space giveaway! Sarah has a fantastic Etsy shop, full of very beautiful underpinnings. Watch her blog for lingerie inspiration, Etsy shop updates, and even an honest studio tour (that I loved).

Image courtesy of Ohhh Lulu and is used with permission from Sarah Norwood.
  • Laura J.

    Uh oh. No swatch? Well, even swatching sometimes doesn’t work out, but… It’s an important place to start. Getting knits to fit is harder than getting sewn clothes to fit. It feels horrible at the end when you have spent HOURS knitting and it looks bad. Maybe next time try a top down thing. Then you try it on as you go. Never ignore that voice that questions the fit. The voice is usually honest and right. Hint: have your husband try on the hat today!! Cotton is even less forgiving of errors.

    • No… no swatch. I really knew better. As my friend Amy told me, “Check your gauge before you rage.” I’d say she was right. It is a top-down sweater, but with the armholes being tied up with extra yarn until you finish the body, I didn’t think I could really try it on. I might try blocking it (like Michelle suggested after you) to see what happens.
      I’m worried about the hat now! If it doesn’t fit, I’ll cut two holes in the top and force the dog to wear it. He’ll probably love it.

  • Ah, but you do have a swatch – your sweater is the swatch. Measure your sweater. Now block it. Maybe all it needs is a little blocking, some knits grow when blocked, some knits can be stretched a wee bit when blocked. Even if it doesn’t fit post-block, give it a little time out, then frog it and re-use the yarn. (Knitty has a great article on blocking techniques.)

    The short of fitting knits is stitches = inches. Find the stitch count at key locations and convert that stitch count to inches (and rows=inches). OR work the other way, know your measurements at key locations and convert that to stitch count. Compare your numbers to the pattern numbers, to your swatch gauge numbers, modify the pattern by adding or subtracting stitches. Specific techniques to shape the knitted fabric vary by situation. If you have a large bust look into short rows as a fitting technique.

    Little Red in the City by Ysolda Teague and Fitted Knits by Stephanie Japel are two books you might want to check out at the library, they both talk about fit.

    I could go on… and gauge still smacks me upside the head every now and then. It taunts every knitter.

    • Hmmmm. I’ve been scared to block it, because then I think it’d be harder to take it back apart, if I should choose to do that. But you’re right, I might as well give that a try rather than let it sit there in the bottom of my very sad knitting basket. Knitty, eh? I’ll have to google that.
      Holy cow. I have so much to learn about knitting and gauges and counting and everything concerning knitting. I will totally look into short rows.
      I’m definitely going to take Stefanie’s class on Craftsy, and also check out her book from the library. Thank you so much for your great tips! 🙂

  • One more thing. Would you suggest to a sewist, unhappy with the fit of a neatly done sheath dress that doesn’t fit to stick to making boxy tops and elastic waist skirts? I’m guess no. Your knitting is just fine, the sweater looks great in fact. You don’t need a simpler pattern, just some time spent learning how to refine fit to be what you want it to be. Now, of course, if you don’t want to bother figuring out how to knit things with a precise fit – that is okay too.

    Oh and Custom Knits by Wendy Bernard is a third book that has a chapter about fit.

    • It’s true, it’s true! I do want my knits to have precise fit, I just want it to magically work out! 😉 I know that if I take the time do some research and learn some more I could make some great projects. The problem is that I can sew something and have the fit be exactly what I want the first time around. With knitting, it’s a whole other story! I will work on it and be sure to post what I’m working on so I can get some more of your advice! Thanks again, Michelle!