a story about a sweater

Finished Edith

So I want to talk about this sweater, and how I don’t like it, and how maybe I dislike it so much that I’m planning on ripping it out and knitting it again.

First, some context. So, way back in the fall, I went on a trip back to Ontario to visit friends and family. I had lots of things that needed to get done, but one personal errand that was really important: I was going to go to Romni Wools, and treat myself to a sweater quantity of Yorkshire Spinners’ Aran, and knit myself the Best Sweater Ever.

(I’d been in love with this yarn for some time before this. It’s a gorgeous millspun BFL with lots of loft and squish, but also fairly pricey because it’s imported from the UK, so: treat.)

My initial plan was to knit Georgetown, but after several swatches, I realized that it wasn’t meant to be. The pattern gauge was much, much denser than I could comfortably achieve with that particular yarn, and so I had three options: knit a super-dense sweater at a painfully tight gauge, recalculate the entire sweater based on my swatch, or knit a different pattern.

Finished Edith

I chose Option #3, and (using the search-by-gauge feature in the Ravelry Advanced Search, which has saved my butt on more than one occasion) decided on Edith. I wanted to make a few modifications – mostly length, as I wouldn’t have had enough yarn to knit it as written – but not very many.

So, it’s done.

Finished Edith

It’s actually been done for a while, but after trying it on for the first time post-blocking, I realized that it wasn’t quite the sweater that I wanted, and needed some time to think. See, the sweater I wanted was big, and cozy, and squishy. It had lots of ease in the shoulders and arms, both for practical reasons (this yarn gets a bit prickly if it’s skin-tight) and also because my Best Sweater Ever was cuddly and a bit oversized and wear-with-everything. There’s a term in the sewing community, for clothes that look good but are shockingly comfortable: Secret Pyjamas. I was hoping for the sweater equivalent of that.

The sweater that I got is totally adequate, but not quite right. There’s lots of good things about it! Namely: Perfect, flowy boxiness in the body. That garter rib stitch along the collar and upper back, which is perfectly squashy and works beautifully with the yarn. The way this wool blocks out with a nice, gentle BFL halo.

Finished Edith

There are some things I don’t like quite as much, though. I’d never knit a sweater with this construction before, and so I didn’t really realize these things were going to bug me like they did. First off, it’s got drop sleeves. This lends a super adorable, slouchy feel to the sweater body, but also means that there’s a sleeve seam right at the widest part of my arm. The sleeves are just a little tighter than I want them to be, and that seam right at the widest part of my upper arm doesn’t help. The other issue is the length, which I miscalculated – I want the body to be, like, four inches longer, and didn’t realize that until the sweater was already knit. The other issue for me is the neckline – it makes sort of a “point” at the back neck, which bugs me when I move my arms during wearing.

Finished Edith

Finished Edith

Now, I want to stress that none of these issues are related to the pattern itself. Rather, they’re problems with the way my body shape and fit preferences and the body shape the pattern is written for don’t quite line up.

I’ve spent a good chunk of the past few months trying to decide what to do about this sweater. I don’t think I’ll wear it in its current iteration, but I want the sweater that it almost became, the sweater that I want this yarn to be. I’ve thought about maybe just reuniting the sleeves to a bigger size, but the armhole seams and the collar and the length are still going to bug me, and ultimately, if I’m frogging to alter that many things about the sweater, I might as well knit a new one. (I also have two and a half skeins of yarn left over – clearly I knit a much smaller sweater than I was planning, which means I’ve got lots of “wiggle room” to reknit something with extra length or bigger sleeves.)

Finished Edith

I haven’t frogged this sweater yet, but I’m planning to set aside a day in the next week to take it apart and reskein all the yarn. I’ve got a few options in mind for its second iteration (Tinder is currently the front-runner). The only other decision left to make is whether I should reknit this over the summer, or to wait until fall when it’s better weather for working on something quite this heavy.

3 Comments

  1. Reply
    Monica 11 May, 2016

    It is a beautiful sweater as is…but, you deserve to try again until you are happier with the outcome. Especially for that special yarn. Good luck!

  2. Reply
    anastasia 13 May, 2016

    I treated myself to the same yarn at Romni’s Boxing Day sale. I love it & can’t wait to find a perfect sweater pattern for it. Currently in the running: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/ramona-cardigan

  3. Reply
    Aoife 13 May, 2016

    I am all about ripping and reknitting to make yourself happy. I’m doing some of that myself right now, even on some projects that are years old, and it’s making me feel much better about things. I say go for it and get the sweater of your dreams.

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