AKA: The project from hell. Yes, I seem to attract patterns with issues.
I thought this was going to be a really quick knit, and would be a great use of two skeins of Eco Wool I had in my stash – dark brown, and a lighter gray/brown (greige?).
The pattern is one that used to be on Elann’s website, but it’s been removed since the yarn has been discontinued. However, it’s still available here, through the “Wayback Machine” (I loved Rocky and Bullwinkle!) .
As you can tell, I made quite a few changes. (Surprised, aren’t you? Of course not.)
I really hadn’t planned to do so many, but as they say, shit happens. I pretty much followed the pattern for the body other than making adjustments for a different stitch gauge, and lengthening it. But then all hell broke loose.
Neck and collar: I knit the collar as written, but hated it. The pattern calls for about 3″ of reverse stockinette (to match the yoke), followed by 1 1/2″ of stockinette in the lighter color to make a contrasting rolled edge. However, the entire collar wanted to roll in like a big sausage. Blocking would surely have helped, but I could tell I wasn’t going to like it. I ripped out about half of it, and just did an I-cord bindoff in the contrasting color. It still rolled too much. Then I ripped out the entire collar and reknit it in garter stitch for 1 1/2″ in the dark brown, then changed to the greige and knit one garter ridge and bound off. It matches the look of the reverse stockinette, but doesn’t roll. Much happier with this.
Sleeves: I ended up knitting something like 8 sleeves. I was so frustrated with them that I nearly ripped out the entire sweater. The pattern is for a modified drop shoulder. The photo, however, is a bit misleading since it looks more like a normal drop shoulder. Evidently they’ve put a tiny model in a really large sweater and pinned the body tighter in the back. That makes the shoulder seam line fall much farther down on her arms than it would for most people, unless you’re making it with about 10 inches of positive ease.
- Originally I knit the first sleeve as written. But with about 4″ positive ease for the sweater, the seam line was only off my shoulders a little bit, and the color change there looked funny. The sleeves were much too wide and too short (actually, they were a good length for a normal sweater, but I didn’t like how that looked with the long cuffs on this one), and I also realized that I wouldn’t have enough of the greige yarn to knit the other sleeve.
- I recalculated and reknit them slimmer, changing to the dark yarn and reverse stockinette at the top. Didn’t like that result either.
- Changed the stitch count yet again, and calculated sleeve caps to make a set-in sleeve, changing color at the beginning of the cap. That looked pretty good when I pinned the sleeves in place, so I seamed them in. Ugh! The seam line looked a little poufy at the top because of the bulky seam. It would have been fine if the seam line was at my shoulder bone, but with it off the shoulder, it looked funny. Sleeves were still a little larger than I like at the top, but I had to make them that size to fit the armscyes.
- There were some other unfortunate attempts at making decorative sleeve seams, which I won’t even bother to go into.
- Maybe if I picked up the stitches around the armhole and knit down? I left the seamed sleeve in place and ripped out the cap of the second one. I picked up the stitches, knit the cap downward, and then grafted the cap to the remainder of the sleeve. The seam was flatter, but still didn’t look all that great. And really, it didn’t look all that different from the first one. I think the actual seam line looked better on the first one, but the second one doesn’t have the bulge. What to do, what to do?
At this point, I decided just give up and leave it. Yes, two different sleeves. Most people won’t notice the difference anyway. I’d already spent a week knitting and reknitting sleeves.
Embroidery: The most obvious change is that I didn’t do the embroidery. I didn’t really think it needed it, and frankly, I was at the breaking point on this sweater anyway. I like how the purl bumps add just a little bit of interest. (Actually, I did do a little bit of the embroidery – the pattern calls for doing a running stitch along the top of the dark cuff to mimic the purl bumps on the bodice, and I did do that.)
But after all of the frustration, I do like the finished product. I’m still not thrilled with the sleeve seams, but I can live with them. It’s not like I’m going to be wearing this sweater to an office, or out on the town. It’s comfortable, warm, and roomy enough to wear with or without a shirt underneath.
If I were making it again, I would do the following changes to the pattern:
- Lengthen the body again, but probably by only 3″ instead of 4″. The original pattern calls for 11″ from underarm to hem, which is way too short for me.
- Make it an inch or two slimmer than I did.
- No armhole shaping for the body – make it a traditional drop-shoulder style.
- I might consider doing a few rounds of garter stitch for the bottom hem instead of the rolled hem. The rolled hem looks fine, but it does tend to flip up a little.
- Make the sleeves slimmer than the pattern calls for, with a slightly shorter armhole.
- By making the body and sleeves a bit smaller, there would probably be plenty of the lighter yarn to finish, so one skein each of two colors of Eco Wool would work fine. I had plenty of the darker color left over (about 100 grams).
- Collar: I would do the same modification I did for this one. Using the smaller needle, work in garter stitch to desired collar height, finishing with two rows of garter stitch in the lighter color, and binding off.
As for the Eco Wool itself, it’s slightly scratchy against bare skin, but tolerable. Worn over a thin shirt, it’s perfectly fine. It’s knit at a loose gauge, and softened up nicely when blocked. When I wash it again, I’ll probably add a bit of hair conditioner to see if that makes it even softer.
Oh, and did I mention that there were a few errors in the pattern? Nothing that was too difficult to figure out, though the pattern is written a bit cryptically. YMMV. The following sentence in the finishing section:
“Pick up around neck edge the sts. off the holders and 8 sts. along each neck shaping in between = 48 sts. mottled, P 3 /14″ (8 cm], then for roll edge K for another 1 ½” [4 cm], then bind off all sts.”
Should read more like this:
With the smaller circular needles, pick up around neck edge the stitches off the holders and 8 stitches along each shoulder (48 sts total), and begin working in the round. With mottled [the darker yarn color], purl for 3 1/4″ (8 cm). For roll edge, change to ecru [the lighter color], and knit for another 1 1/2″ (4 cm), then bind off all sts.
If you care, my project page is here.
It’s cuz the rest of us see stuff like that neck instruction and throw the thing in a bin, and call it crackers.
PS – it looks great!
It does look great!! And kitten may have a point with her first comment. 😀
With as many changes as you made you maybe could change the name and call it your own pattern! It’s a super sweater. 🙂
YOU ARE SO GOOD!!!
Yeah, I’m with Kitten and Chris, but I do love that you stick it out and make it work.
Love the way it looks. I’m with everyone on your stick-to-it-ness. And people wonder why I haven’t finished a sweater yet. 😀
It looks nice! I’m sorry it was such a bear to work up though. I like the two colors – they’re harmonious and work together. So often it just looks like a knitter ran on out of yarn at the yoke (which is what happens to me so I know that look). But no, you are a planned two color sweater. You rock – as the kids no longer say but still it’s true.
Yowza. I think I would have called uncle after the first 3 or 4 sleeve iterations. You are knitter – hear you roar.
It looks like a comfy everyday sweater, but YOW! That’s some perseverance.
If the end ever justifies the means, you’ve proved it with this sweater. But damn Girl, I’m with Kitten.
The perfect example of when life gives you the project from hell, make your own damn awesome sweater! Nice work Cheryl!