Monday, October 05, 2009

Sweater Curse - broken!

2009 has been a year with big dreams, goals and breakthroughs.

Glee Sweater

One such goal was knitting a sweater that fits. Yes, a simple goal, but one I had failed to achieve until this year. How embarrassing to admit!

I've cast on and frogged dozens of sweaters in my life. There was always a Problem. Sometimes it was the yarn, sometimes the pattern. Often it was the knitting. The story is nearly the same every time.

It was three years ago I attempted to make a simple cardigan.

I wanted a raglan style cardigan that I could fall in love with. A sweater that I would end up wearing every day. A simple, natural, old fashioned, plain-and-tall hand knit cardigan. Alas! It was not meant to be.

If I could pinpoint where the sweater went wrong I would say it was in the expectations phase. I wanted the sweater to be what it could never be. I was looking for the stuff only dreams are made of... cozy, soft, perfect, timeless, classic, flattering, etc. I may as well been hoping to knit a unicorn. That was the first problem.

I had enough natural wool to make the project, but there were many questions. Could a girl my size, shape and complexion look okay in a bulky knit shapeless, colorless sweater? Probably not. Was my gauge consistent? Not especially. Did I knit the whole thing anyway, including seaming and weaving in the loose ends perfectly? Of course. I'm no amateur.

Put kindly, the sweater could have fit a small horse. More honestly, it would have fit a full grown alpha-male gorilla. I wore it around the house for a day or two, in denial. I kept checking the mirror to see if it looked okay, and it never did. I posed like they do in knitting magazines when the shaping on a garment is bad. I hugged myself, I reached for an apple in an imaginary tree, and I twirled around, laughing. It helped a little, but the sweater was hopeless.


It was The Stupid Sweater. I undid everything and returned the wool from beast to balls, which now live in a rubbermaid container in my closet. In January I made leg warmers out of 2 of the balls:

Koolhaas Leg Warmers

Knitting the yarn into something new helped erase the memory of the ugly. But what about some new yarn, a new pattern, and a new start?

Pattern: Glee by Zephyr Style.

Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Heavyweight in color Mossay.

Strong start:

Glee Sweater

I started this new sweater in January. I cast on for the medium size but eventually I discovered it was too big, so I switched to making the small size partway through with some creative decreasing. I convinced myself this was a smart decision, considering my personal shape and curve locations.

So, it fits me funny, which totally my fault.

Glee Sweater

It’s roomy, and that’s fine. It will be nice in the winter over a long-sleeved shirt. If I make this one again I’ll make the small. I have a hard time knowing what size I am.

Glee Sweater

If I had made the small all along I would have had enough yarn to make it longer; that would have been nice too. I just knitted until I ran out of yarn basically.

Glee Sweater

I learned a lot on this sweater. In fact, I have since made two more sweaters (yes, I'll show them off too) and have the 4th on the needles right now. I know, it's really fantastic!

2009 was a very big year for me in many ways big and small, including the breaking of a life-long specific knitting curse. I'm going to dream a bigger dream in 2010: designing sweaters... Stay tuned!


pdxknitterati/MicheleLB said...

Congrats on breaking the sweater curse! I know your pain. I knit and completed a sweater for DH, only to realize that it was big enough for two of him, or three of me. I frogged that sucker and reknit the whole damn thing. So there.

Good luck on your 2010 dream! That's a big one. You can do it!

Tracy said...

"I may as well been hoping to knit a unicorn."

please knit a unicorn.

sweaters are rough for me, too. mine have yet to fit me just right. i sort of secretly believe that nothing fits anyone, or at least that everyone else is far less picky about fit than i am. which, considering that as i child i would scream in agony if i could feel the seam of my sock on the "wrong" part of my toe, is entirely possible. :)

that said, i of course have plans to knit another (probably slightly ill-fitting) sweater as soon as i finish up some gift knitting.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! It is nice to know that another person - and an accomplished knitter like you suffered from the same curse as one I've been harboring in secret for years. I find the "fits" and "flattering" bits the most difficult. I'm inspired to think about sweaters again.

Judy Solanki said...

Star- This is gorgeous! I have the same curse. In my case I'm sure it's my body that doesn't fit, not the sweater! I see you are an official instructor at KnitCamp next year! Congratulations.

Helen said...

What a pretty sweater! I am soon to start on my first sweater, so I really enjoy hearing about the process you have gone through.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful sweater, but that model...WOW! Auntie P.

Laura said...

The sweater is beautiful and looks great on you!

Anonymous said...

I love those legwarmers, but I cannot find the pattern for them, the link is old broken-or something. I would love to knit them, if you could repost a working link, or even if i could figure out the cable I could do them myself! thanks!