It looks so prim and sedate. But knitting this was a trip, especially in the last few days of working on it. That home stretch is always full of surprises, firsts, and suppressed expletives. These are the days when people avoid eye contact with me. I’m all rushed and bothered as I try to go about the day’s normal activities and still manage the tedious process of seaming all these pieces of sweater together, with loose yarns strands flowing and tangling every which- away, all my wrinkled notes and various tools getting lost in the couch cushions; and all the while I somehow must hide my progress from the cat.
All of this eye strain and neck ache is made even worse when I discover a problem after it’s all done and have to rip it way back to finish it yet again. It is my idea of Mythological torture- like buzzards slowly eating my flesh or being bound to walk the halls of Hades three seasons of the year. You get the picture.
On my daughter’s version of this sweater I knit the sleeves separately and seamed them on, but for mine I thought it would be easier to knit them in one piece with the body from the armpits up. This would also prevent the weird gauge at the armpits that I often have. It was difficult because, like the rest of the pattern, I was just guessing (something I’ve never done before.) I’d guess, try, then guess again with all of the increases/ decreases until I found something that worked because the pattern was unavailable at the time. After a few tries, in one of which I completely finished the sweater and bound off before realizing the shoulders looked like Madonna’s rocket bra, I finally got the right fit. It was fine, but I actually like the subtle puff in my daughter’s sleeves better. She, of course, likes mine.
Anyway, I weave in the ends, sew on small buttons with thread (another thing I’ve never done to a knit before) and set it aside to block and photograph the next morning. Well, I don’t know if I lost fifteen pounds of water weight overnight or what, but this morning it seemed kind of baggy and sack-like. With the deep v-neck, it really doesn’t need any bag going on, you know? So I steam blocked it with an iron (another first) and tried again. Same look. Okay, then I thought I’d better just block it the old fashioned way by soaking and reshaping it to dry. But, even though I was careful not to let it stretch when soaking, it looked like I’d knitting a winter coat for Stretch Armstrong. No amount of smooshing the sleeves upward and together was going to fix this. What is the deal with growing sweaters!?!
If it makes me look schleppier than normal, it either needs to be harvested for parts or thrown in the dryer. I chose the dryer. I put a damp towel in with it on low heat and checked the fit every five minutes. There was some prayer going on in the 40 minutes I dried it. When it was time to pick the kids up from school and the width of the body looked about right, I cried Uncle and pulled it out. The first and last two images are the final result.
I went from a slightly baggy sweater with perfect length sleeves, to a ginormous sweater with ginormous everything, to a fitted sweater with sleeves that have to be cuffed. Whew. I put it back on, sweated in the two minutes it took to snap these pictures, and left.
Guess what was released a couple of days before this was finished? That’s right, the pattern was printed in the book Knits that Fit. If I had only waited a few weeks…