Sunday, February 15, 2009

Seamless Sweater Redux

I finished this sweater three and a half years ago. It never saw the outside world.

Since then has been sitting in a drawer in my closet. In the back of the drawer, I might add, squished behind other stuff so I could forget about it.


Because I hated it.

I didn't want to admit it that I hated it. What would it say for my love of the craft if I acknowledged that after spending so much time and money on this sweater I couldn't stand it?? What would it say about the zillion skeins of yarn that lay un-knit in my various yarn compartments and drawers?

I often thought about ripping it out completely. But then I'd have to face the curly, trying-to-look-normal, rewound yarn every time I opened my stash. It was all to much to fathom. So in the drawer the hated sweater stayed.

Until it hit me:

Re-engineer it! Figure out what I hated so much and make it better.

So, what didn't I like?

Other than the fact it was too big under the arms (something I knew could not be fixed), I really didn't like the button-less cardigan style that just flapped open. It reminded me of my friend's mom's famous line:

"Touches you everywhere, flatters you no where."

I didn't like the tassel-y thing that tied the top of the cardigan together.

And I didn't like that the sweater hung oddly on the body when worn. It just wasn't shaped properly.

Thankfully, the tie-thing was the last part of the sweater to be knitted, so it was a cinch to make it disappear. That and and the two or three rows of the neckline it was attached to.

To fix the hanging open problem, after re-knitting a new neckline, I seamed the front of the cardigan closed and turned it into a pullover. Because the left and right fronts on the cardigan were done in seed stitch, the seam is virtually invisible.

Then, since I was not aware of the concept of blocking when I first made this sweater, I blocked the sucker, in hopes of having it lay evenly and take the shape of an actual sweater.

Cardigan-turned-Pullover re-inventing itself

I am very happy with my re-engineered results and can admit this sweater has seen the light of day on more than one occasion. It's still a little big, but I look at that as experience in knowing how to size seamless sweaters better in the future.

In fact, I "tested" it by wearing it to work the day after it finished drying on the blocking board. No kidding, three people commented to me at different times before the clock struck Noon.

"Wow," they said.

"That's a really nice sweater. Is it new?"

Felted Winter Tote

A few years ago I bought 10 skeins of orange Jaegar Como online for a pretty sweet deal. I planned on using it for a sweater in the Jaegar book. But once the yarn arrived, I wasn’t sure I liked it for a sweater. It felt kind of acrylic, even though it’s 90% merino.

(Note to self: buying yarn cheap online is only good if I'm familiar with the yarn...)

I'm lukewarm on the sweater now, too. Not sure if that cable on the neckline would look nice or ridiculous.

Since the yarn has a high wool content, I felted a small swatch of it to see if it would (despite its 10% nylon) and it did. I decided to save it for something felted. My friend copied a pattern for me (I know, not Kosher...but we all do it) from the Holiday Knits book, and I planned to use the yarn for that project. I even (because I'm sick) ordered more of the yarn in pink, so I could make the bag with an accent color. This was after I knew I didn't even like the yarn much...

Fast forward three or four years, enter my obsession with either getting rid of yarn I know I'm never going to use, or starting the projects that have been waiting for me for so long. I cast on for the Felted Winter Tote.

I believe that the authors of this book from where the pattern comes own the store Noe Knits in San Francisco. I was there a few years ago, and remember they had the book on display in the store with an errata note that the yarn should be doubled for this pattern.

I'm only a few rows into it at this point but will make a swatch of doubled yarn and re-felt -- just to make sure it doesn't turn out too thick. Because knitting the whole thing and discovering that after the fact would truly be a drag.

I'll order the suede handles and bottom online and see where this project goes...wish me luck. At the very least, I'll clean out some of my stash.