Saturday, September 8, 2012

Will This Ever Be Over (Or Wearable)?

OK, I'm just about done with this baby. What is this, my 12 thousandth post on the topic?

At any rate, Jody's information was invaluable in getting me from crap to really not so bad but still not right. First look at the Convertible sweater photos and then I'll tell you what's going on and why I think this really may not be meant to be.

Observe the drag on the lower right side.

You can see the drag again on the back though, in truth, this photo just doesn't show the back to its advantage. This outcome is a thousand times better than the last (incorrect) seam up produced.

See that gape at the front? It's a problem.

And it's still more evident here.
Egad, part of me thinks it's all stretched to shit and I just need to block it. Part of me recognizes that this is where the combo of having made it a) too short and b) of my own (i.e. not the instruction's) gauge is going to come back and bite me on the ass. Or the small of my back.

What you can't see is that I've actually attached petersham ribbon on the inside waistband to give it more structure (the instructions suggest seam binding). When I tried seam binding it looked like an accordion bellows met a ruffle foot, so I went with a thicker, more substantial binding that would allow me to maximize length by minimizing the sweater turn-under. It still ripples a lot from the easing, but it could be worse.

At this point I don't know what to do next. I can't wear it like this, the gape is hideously unflattering. It makes me look like a cylinder. I could take a couple of angled tucks/darts or something at the front right but my last attempt at something like that yielded a hideous result.

Maybe this is a terrific learning experience but it's time to move on?

At any rate, I'm putting it back out here one more time in the hopes that one of you has a genius idea you'd be willing to share. Any suggestions are very appreciated. xo


  1. Oh, I feel your pain!
    Gosh I don't know what you could do.
    I don't think it looks that bad but I also know that it's all about what you're happy with.
    Definitely a learning experience though. I guess we gotta take the silver linings eh?

    1. Sometimes this happens, right? That's why pattern choice (in the beginning) can be so key.

  2. whoah. i'm coming late to the party here... but if i saw this in a store, i would buy it. color, shape, drape. done.

    1. Oona, you are so sweet. If I thought this might fit you I'd send it to you in a second, but you'd swim in it!

  3. Hmmmmm, that is a problem. Your full bust is causing the gap, I think. Does taking the edge of the triangle point all the way to the side seam on each side help? This sweater really needs ribbing at that lower edge! It's too bad the original pattern doesn't include it. The only other thing I can suggest is removing the grosgrain and re-blocking the sweater. Sorry!

    1. It really DOES need ribbing. Maybe, if I were to have made the sweater in XS instructed gauge (which is supposed to produce a 32" bust - no way, btw) it would work. The thing is, I actually had to fold over the surplice facing by 1.5 inches to get this thing to sort of fit in the bust. It's not about too little fabric over the bust (though often I face that problem). I'm swimming in fabric and I just cant shape it. I'm thinking of one other option - I could take in the side seams by another inch on each side and grade to the underarm. (The problem happens equivalently on the other side if I reverse the wrap so the left side is on top.) I figure, at this point it's worth a try.

      That grosgrain took me hours. (And that's after seam binding that took hours and then had to be ripped out.) I'm disinclined to remove it at this point. Hmmm...

  4. Sometimes recipes just stink, and sometimes patterns just stink -- it's not "operator error", its a flawed recipe/pattern. It doesn't mean *I'm* a bad cook/knitter/stitcher because it didn't turn out.

    I have to add to the center front on everything I make whether it's sewing or knitting (and the center back, but that's another post ;)). If you do add rib (which is a great suggestion), you might consider shaped ribbing with a slightly wider center front tapering to narrower sides.

    I have a vision in my head when I'm creating, and when final product doesn't match vision it doesn't mean the project is a failure, but it can take a timeout for the garment (sometimes in a waste bin) before I can see it with new eyes and new solutions.

    I also have a cone winder that "unknits" at lightning speed--I can have months of "fun" with the same skein of yarn without having wasted any yarn.

    (Love the color and the yarn, and you've done a nice job knitting!)

    Gail, your machine knitting friend

    1. Gail: You don't know how much I had knitted this on a machine at this point :-) I have done a bit more looking around for machines, fyi, but I don't think I'm quite ready to take on the expense of a good machine (my preferred type) or the learning curve. I'm getting there slowly though. That cone sounds very useful, btw, though I'm still always so sad to rip something apart.

      BTW, for a machine that knits in fingering, and a sweater to a blanket width, including cables, is there one machine that can do all of that?

    2. Standard Gauge knits fingering, you make the cables yourself on all knitting machines. You can do "cable looking" patterns with punchcards and electronics, but true cables require crossing and uncrossing needles by row (usually with a many-pronged tool so you transfer multiple stitches in one movement).

      Mid-Gauge knits most hand-knitting yarns and some of the thinner "bumpy" yarns, you might look into a Studio LK150 Mid Gauge, it's a plastic bed, but it's solid and reasonably priced. The needles move with ball bearings so it's smooth. And it's an inexpensive way to find out if you like machine knitting.

      Yahoo has a group just for the LK150. People love this machine so much that you never see used ones for's very light and easy to move around.

      Cone winder - under $50, and un-knits everything into a nice, neat cross-wound cone for reuse.

      Again, so sorry about your sweater - been there. I worked four days on a shirt over Labor Day and can't button it shut and still breathe :)

    3. Oh, this looks great and it's just about the amount I can justify spending (not that I can justify spending anything with this reno, but you know what I mean). I'm going to see how long I can resist.

    4. I really like mine--you can search Ravelry by LK150 and see what people make with it. This is Susan Guagliumi, she "repped" for Studio and wrote tons of articles and a book on "Hand Manipulated Stitches"

      and a video of the LK150 in action:

      Email me if you have questions!


  5. It's a beautiful color!

    I am currently striving for a REALLY high standard of "looks good on me" for the clothes I wear, I'm reading your blog with interest since it seems like you already have the standard. It clashes with my creative drive, which wants to make clothes FAST to process an artistic idea. I think your suggestion about wearable muslins is part of the answer to this - I have been thinking I'll just plan to make everything twice, so I get the creative fun and a garment that really looks good on me. But what follows from that is a very high likelihood of discarding the first version of everything. Hard to swallow. Also, expensive! But I'm trying to think of it as a payment for the joy of the creative process rather than for the fabric or a garment.

    What's the point in regards to your sweater? Do you like it enough to make a second?

    thanks for sharing all this with us!

    1. I know! Too bad it just doesn't work. I have the standard, alright, I just can't achieve it as often as I'd like :-) I'm getting on the bandwagon of making everything 2 or 3 times (egad!). But it does pay for itself because you will continue to make that adorable garment many times over the years and you'll only have to fuss with it a few times, relatively speaking.

      I will not make this sweater again, I imagine. If I could confirm the challenges and know that I have a suitable work around, I probably would. But there's no designer to consult with, no one else I can find who's made it. It takes too long and I don't love the result enough - even if it fit in the waist, the "v" sits very high on the neck (which isn't optimal, I've come to realize). I'm more inclined to trace this pattern and make it out of pre-existing knit fabric.

  6. OH man! And it looks *SO* beautifully knit! Honestly, if I had this kind of outcome, I'd probably relegate the sweater to loungewear - ironically it would probably be worn at night on the couch with a different knitting or sewing book or project in my lap while Phin watched sports next to me.

    1. Thank you! It IS nicely knit (dare I say it myself) but the waist fit will torment me, even in the comfort of my own home. I'm still trying to figure this out. Perhaps if I give it a bit more time, the answer will come to me.