Sunday, April 8, 2007

The "To the Cottage" Fiasco

I have pictures.

I’m not showing them.

The next FO, working back in time, is the “To the Cottage Pullover” from Sally Melville’s The Purl Stitch book.

It’s a lovely sweater, really. I made it for my husband. I knit it in a lovely denim-like blue shade of Cascade 220 and stayed right on gauge.

For years he teased me for knitting all this stuff, but never a sweater for him.

That’s not entirely true. When the very first issue of Interweave Knits came out, I fell in love with the Tingwall Jumper featured in that issue. I bought the yarn pack (only $40, can you believe it???), and bravely started on this steeked, fair isle sweater with a corrugated ribbing.

Having absolutely no idea what I was doing.

I was still somewhat of a beginning knitter. Lower case knitter, all the way.

Somehow, after several trials and errors, I managed the corrugated ribbing at the bottom of the sweater and made my merry way up the body. My gauge was way off. I think I ripped this back to that corrugated ribbing and restarted perhaps six times before I finally got on gauge.

I made many mistakes along the way.


It became known as the “Tinkwall” because I tinked and frogged it so many darn times.

And somewhere in there, I started graduate school. I worked two jobs during the day and went to graduate school at night. Sometimes, WG would ask, “when is my sweater going to be done?” Do I get points for not killing him???

Then, in the middle of graduate school, I got pregnant. Had a baby (my second!). Continued grad school, continued working two jobs.

Yet, somehow, I managed the steek, and completed the first sleeve. The corrugated ribbing cuff on the sleeve is horrible, and needs to be frogged. My husband, dear Wine Guy, has short arms, and I had to come up with my own decrease ratio to get the sleeves the right length without being too wide.

I didn’t write it down.

After grad school, I started the second sleeve. The steek was fine, but about midway through the sleeve, I realized I had NO idea how to do the decreases so it would match the first sleeve.

And so, it sits.


For me to get a lobotomy.

Then I might pick it up again, rip the lousy cuff, fudge the second sleeve, and finish the darn thing. But don’t hold your breath.

In the meantime, I knit the Cottage Pullover.

I am now a Knitter with a capital K.

I know how to get gauge and stay on it. I can follow a pattern and do complex things.

I got gauge, followed the pattern. Made a lovely placket on the Henley style pullover. Bought beautiful buttons and sewed them on. My original thought was to give it to WG for a Hanukkah 2006 present, but it wasn’t quite done. (I can easily work on things in front of him, because he doesn’t pay that much attention, and if he had, I’d have told him it was for me).

I finished it sometime in Mid-January of this year, I believe.

I gave it to him proudly.

He tried it on and said “it’s a little big in the neck”.

He was right. It was a very wide neck.

Huh? I know I was on gauge and followed the neckline directions EXPLICITLY! What the heck?

I kicked myself for making some dumb mistakes and tried to figure out how to fix it at this point, with almost no yarn left over and the seams all sewn.

Then I went back and looked at the pictures in the Purl Stitch book. When you look CLOSELY at the photos, you can see that the neck IS wide. The male model wears a collared shirt underneath, and there is a lot of space around the collar. The female model wears a scarf around her neck.

My Maggie Rhighetti alarm bells began to ring, waaaaaaaaay too late. In one of the early chapters of Knitting in Plain English, Maggie warns the reader against photos of garments where the details are obscured by the photography, a strategically placed scarf, or other devices that hide the poor shaping of the garment. I failed to notice the wide neck that was right there in front of me that whole time.


WG gamely wore the sweater a few times (around the house, never in public) and then put it away. I talked about taking it to the “Knit Doctor” when I attended Stitches West in February, but I never did, because I thought that any fix would be too hard, especially since my chances of getting the same dye lot of yarn were slim (the LYS where I bought the yarn has since closed).

I wanted to photograph it tonight to post to this blog, but when WG put the sweater away, he HUNG it in his closet, on a wire hanger. Guess what THAT did to the neckline????????????? Yes, it’s even worse. I’m only exaggerating a little when I say that it’s almost down to his navel. It's too embarassing to post the pictures of it now.

The sweater is loosely fit, oversized. It fits WG like it’s supposed to (except at the neck), but I can wear it too (although it’s not a loose fit at all on my very “fluffy” body). So maybe it will be MY knock around the house on cold mornings sweater instead of his.

Now, I need to come up with another sweater for WG.



Regenia said...

Perhaps you can wash and reshape to fix WG's wire hanger damage. Then, if you used wool, you could adjust the width of the neck with a bit of strategic felting? I'd have to see it to have an idea if it would work, but I did this with hat ribbing that turned out too big.

Regenia said...

how's the rs for e coming?