I’m currently in a bad relationship with a purple v-neck sweater. My once amorous feelings towards this merino knit have now turned to frustration and sometimes despair. I may have to cut my losses and end it before I never want to see this item of clothing again.
My relationship began back in August on my way to the TKGA conference in Buffalo. I just received a package of KnitPicks merino style in a vibrant shade of purple and was itching to start a project. Enter fall 2006’s Vogue Knitting pattern, the Embellished V-Neck. I had been eyeing this sweater for a while and felt that this was the perfect opportunity to start. I quickly finished the back, as it was knit mostly in stockinette, with garter stitch shaping around the waist. In my haste to start the front, I didn’t read the directions thoroughly enough and missed the part about “shape as for back.” When I was nearly finished I looked at my work and thought, “Wow, the front sides look kind of thin. Ut-oh.” That’s when the ripping began.
Ripping for me isn’t devastating. Because knitting is meditative, it’s almost like creating a mandala. You work and work on this beautiful piece of art and then blow it away, or in this case rip it out and start over.
I re-knit the front and then began on the sleeves. I knit the sleeves two at a time, so that when I finished them I’d be able to piece the sweater together. When the sleeves came off my needles I looked at them and thought, “Those look pretty big.” When I got out my measuring tape (like I should have at the beginning) I realized that my gauge was off. Time to rip the whole thing out-sleeves, front, back-and start again, this time doing a gauge swatch.
I finished re-knitting everything and then did something that I never do and may never again, except for lace- I blocked it, or I should more accurately say, over-blocked it. The top of the sweater was super long, which would have put the shaping around the largest part of my body, thus accentuating my hips instead of my waist. Frustration and cursing ensued, but then I thought “What would Tim Gunn say in this situation- make it work.”
I decided to steak the top of the sweater at the shoulder seams, cut it and then sew it together. This actually worked, although I wouldn’t recommend it if you can help it. I set in the sleeves, and picked up and knit the v-neck garter rows. After trying on the sweater last night, my feelings of frustration turned more to despair after seeing where the sleeves sat (I’m happy with the body of the sweater except for the excess fabric around the arms). I really don’t want to re-do it. So what I’ve decided is to walk away until I’ve gotten over the ill-feelings and when I pick it back up I think that I will either re-sew the sleeves or make it into a v-neck vest. Maybe in this relationship “make it work” wasn’t the best advice.
You always learn lessons from bad relationships, and in this case it was a lesson about myself. I learned that I’m an impulsive knitter. I don’t check gauge and I jump into projects without completely reading the directions. The funny thing is I do these things because I think that it will save me time, but it does it really when I have to knit the sweater twice?!