As I mentioned in my last blog, I decided back in the spring of 2020, back at the beginning of the Covid19 lockdown, to knit a wonderful sweater. I was encouraged by my success with the Fair Isle hats I had recently knit and wanted to do a Fair Isle sweater. A sweater for me! Great!
The Wave Cardigan is a real stunner. Denise Bell of Lost City Knits has talked about her experience knitting this sweater and she carries all the Shetland yarn from Jamieson & Smith that I would need. Excellent! I ordered the sweater kit along with the book (Knit Real Shetland from Jamieson & Smith, Wool Brokers) that includes the pattern and I was off and running. The yarn pack arrived with about a bazillion different colors of Shetland lace weight yarn along with the book that contains the pattern.
Good choice! The sweater will be wonderful!
So step #1 is the set-up. Copy the pattern out of the book, decide which size to knit, pick needles one full size smaller than what they suggest in the pattern. I carefully annotated my copy of the pattern by circling all the numbers of stitches that applied to my size. Now I'm ready to cast on.
Seriously, Penny. Are you nuts? Shouldn't you swatch?
Step #2 is cast on and start knitting. I did that. I got through the waist band and started to knit the body of the sweater. OK. I'm good to go here. At about 4 inches into the body of the sweater I realized I had not increased my needle size. Anyone who had ever knit a sweater knows that the waistband and cuffs are always knit on smaller needles than the rest of the garment. Well, shit. But it's OK. I always knit large so maybe if I keep knitting with my smaller needles through the entire sweater, maybe it will fit me better.
Seriously, Penny. Are you nuts? Change your needles!
This is a pattern that is knitted in the round and then you steek or cut your knitting to make it a cardigan and to add the sleeves. This is a fairly new technique for me. I've done it only once before so I did a bit of research and watched some YouTube videos.
Good job, Penny! Research is always a good thing!
Step #3 is add the sleeves to the body. I did that. They looked great. When I got to the bottom of the first sleeve, when it was time to add the cuff, I tried the sweater on. The sleeves were at least 4" too short. Really? Wait. No problem, I'll just add some more of the pattern. 4" more.
Did you measure along the way? Nope? Seriously?
Step #4 is the front and neck bands. These include the button band and the buttonhole band. I did those. They look pretty darned good.
These look nice. Great job, Penny!
Now for the other errors and omissions. About half way through knitting the sweater I lost my copies of the pattern - the copy that I had so carefully annotated so I would be sure and have the correct stitch counts. I made another copy of the pattern and annotated it as well. Except for one small thing. I switched sizes in the process. The second half of the sweater is knit in a larger size than the first half.
Seriously? Have you never knit a sweater before?
Step #5 is finishing. Adding the buttons to the front and washing and blocking the sweater. And time to try it on. Well, that's interesting. The sleeves are miles too long. You could drive a truck through the cuffs. The neckband is so loose it looks like the sweater will fall off my shoulders. The waistband looks floppy. I'm pleased that it fits around my middle, always an area of concern. But taken together, it looks horrible. I'll put it in the freezer and maybe it will heal itself.
The sweater spent about a month in time-out although not literally in the freezer. When I pulled it out of time-out it was still a hot mess. Too many errors to count. A complete disaster. Would I wear this out in public? No, I would not.
Well, this is unfortunate.
I have a wonderful and supportive husband. When Ron noticed that I was working on the sweater again after not seeing it for weeks, he asked if there was something wrong. I explained about all the faults of my knitting and resulting sweater. He said he thought it would be fine if I could tighten up the cuffs. In fact he would wear it if I could tighten up the cuffs. Sold! To the nice man in the next chair. I will probably cut down the length of the sleeves and reknit the cuffs properly.
I haven't fixed the sweater yet for my husband. I have ordered and received a new sweater kit from Denise so I can knit the sweater again for me. Hopefully without all the mistakes of the previous version. In the mean time, I have successfully completed Denise's Barry Hiking Vest which fits me perfectly. And I'm working on a cardigan by Kate Davies that is well on it's way to fitting me. I'm reading the directions carefully and double checking along the way so there won't be much to tear out if I find an error. So far so good.
I'll model both these cardigans when the time comes!