Monday, December 4, 2017

Knitting - The Sweater is Finished!

Pattern is Carabe, yarn is Madelinetosh Pure Merino Worsted in Weathered Frame colorway and Madelinetosh DK in Baltic colorway (the stripes).

My first full-on adult-sized sweater is finished!  And it only took me a little over a year and a half!  Well, actual knitting time wasn't quite that long, but I did have extended periods (two summers, which is a long time in Texas) where I wasn't knitting on it because it was too hot to have a lap full of wool.

So, here's the rub:  I am pleased with my knitting, and I think I did a good job with it.  This pattern was a little more complicated than my mind was able to process at times (to be honest, a lot of times), and I had to take tons of notes along the way, be comfortable with ripping out work to make it correct, and also learn how to do shaping and decreases every so many rows, which in turn meant more notes and the repeated use of a stitch counter to keep me on track.
 
One of the best random investments I've made for knitting - a stitch counter.
 Trying it on...

But - you knew there'd be a but, right?  Even though I tried on the sweater along the way, I'm not happy with the fit.  It ended up with the sleeves a little too long; I can fold back the cuffs to shorten them, but then the last blue stripe is hidden:
See?  You lose the fun pop of color by folding up the cuff.

The sleeves ended up too long because when I blocked the sweater (which is where you soak it in a bath of cold water and special wool wash and then squeeze it out and lay flat to dry), they grew.  Which makes sense; sometimes that happens and I violated the first rule of knitting, which is to knit a swatch, measure it, then block it and measure it again so you can account for that kind of thing.  I didn't do this because I'm lazy and like to live on the edge.  That said, the sweater feels a little short in the body, which makes no sense because it seemed like the right length when I tried it on, and if the sleeves grew, you'd think the body of the sweater would grow as well, right?

The sweater is finished off with an I-cord bind-off around the button band and collar, and I think that is partially to blame for the way the sweater pulls up now:
The front panels should be lying even with the back.  I'm pretty sure they were, before I did the I-cord bind-off.  I even went up two needle sizes, as recommended, for that.
That is definitely NOT a shawl collar by any means.

The other thing that I'm disappointed with is the shawl collar - there's not much to it, especially when I compare it to the other Carabe sweaters that are shown on Ravelry project pages.  That collar gave me a lot of trouble; it's knitted with short rows, which mean you have to do a wrap-and-turn stitch to make it, and I had to do a lot of ripping out and restarting it and obviously I still didn't get it right - it needs to be more substantial.

What I did do well, and what I was concerned about from the get-go, was picking up stitches for the button band and collar - that's a tricky thing to do, and I watched a lot of tutorials on You Tube before attempting it - and I was successful, go me!  Plus, my decreases along the body (for waist shaping) and sleeves (for tapering) look nice, and my stitching in general looks good:
Click on the picture - you can see the decreases along the side of the body and along the sleeve.

I'm not going to bother with sewing on the buttons for this sweater, because there's no way I'd wear it in the state that it's currently in.  And I'm not in the mood right now to figure out what I need to do to fix this in order to turn it into something that I'll wear.  That said, I'm not mad about how it turned out because I know that at some point I can fix it, and also, I was really inexperienced with knitting something this complicated when I began this project back in March of 2016.  I'm a better knitter now, and thanks to knitting (and reknitting) several baby sweaters, I have a better understanding of what I'm doing.  And that's the beauty of knitting - when I'm ready, I can unravel parts of this sweater and make it longer, and shorter (haha), and maybe even get the front panels to not pull like they are doing now...still not quite sure how to do that, so I'll just wait until I come up with a better plan.

It's funny that knitting rarely frustrates me the way other things do - for example, having a bad run has made me feel like I'm a terrible runner and should just quit, but spending hours and hours knitting something, only to have it not turn out perfectly?  I'm OK with that.  I mean, sure - I'd love for this sweater to have turned out perfectly, or at least perfect enough that I could wear it, but it was a learning experience; also, I enjoy the process of knitting - after all, I had beautiful squishy yarn that was hand dyed in gorgeous colors, and it really was a pleasure to knit with.  So don't be surprised if one day you come here and read a post where this sweater is finished for the second time - AND you'll see a picture of me wearing it!

21 comments:

  1. Your sweater looks lovely! I like the colors of yarn you chose and the pattern. Love the up close pictures that show your great work. You should be so proud of the sweater now if it would just get cold enough to be able to wear it.

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  2. It looks great to me! But I'm not a knitter and I can imagine how frustrated you must be that it didn't turn out how you wanted. Especially after all that time spent on it!

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    1. At this point I'm not so much frustrated, more like accepting of the sweater's fate...

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  3. You did a great job. How exactly do you use the knit counter?

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    1. As I complete each row, I click it. Which entails not getting too lost in my knitting to remember to click it in the first place.

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  4. Not sure how it would look once you do it, but maybe you could cuff the wrist UNDER instead of OVER? An idea--but then it'll probably leave a weird "bump" ... I love the pop of blue, so that kind of does stink. But it looks cozy & lovely.

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    1. That is an option - the blue color is one of my favorites, so I definitely want it to show.

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  5. I really like that sweater. The colors are nice with that pop of blue. All those things you point out are not anything that I notice as a non-knitter. Think of all you have learned in this process!

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    1. I have learned so much; now hopefully to retain it, ha!

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  6. My head is numb with all the technical knitting talk - sort of like you feel when things are mathy. So, I'm just gonna say, "So pretty!"

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  7. Technically you did such a beautiful job!! Much better than I would do. I think you might be able to reblock wool and actually make the sleeves shorten up a bit--I think I read that somewhere long ago. And maybe even lengthen the sweater a little, but I think you're right about the I-cord edging. Maybe if you took that off you could lengthen the sweater.

    Or, you could just do what you talked about, and re-do it someday :) LOL, I guess you can tell I really like the technical knitting talk :)

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    1. Thanks - I may try reblocking the sleeves before unknitting them, at least. I'll have to look up I-cord edging and see if it always "tightens" the edge...may need a different bind off altogether.

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  8. Ugh, I hate swatching too. I bet even if you did it, you'd still have some minor issues with the length. I bet it is the I-cord that made the front pull up! Your work does look beautiful! I can understand not wanting to wear it yet.

    That is the good thing about knitting - even when it's frustrating, you know you can get better, or find someone to help you! :)

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    1. And I have plenty of yarn leftover, so I will be able to make the fixes once I'm ready to. :)

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  9. You are an amazing knitter. That sweater looks awesome. It makes me want to knit. But the nearby wool store has closed so....

    Anyway I do use a stitch counter. How could you not??

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    1. But I know what you mean. Only the person who knit it can see the mistakes. I can see mine from miles away!!

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    2. Haha, yep. No one else really notices the mistakes, do they?

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  10. So, from my non-technical knitting self, I think this sweater is adorable and I'm in awe that you knit the entire thing! I think it looks fabulous!

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