Friday, September 22, 2006

A Sad Story

I like to think that I learn from my mistakes. That after I realize the error in my ways, I emerge a much wiser person. One who wouldn't make the same mistake twice.

Sigh. This is not always the case.

This story begins in 1991 (yikes!). When I set out to make this:

An oversized cardigan from the Spring/Summer issue of Vogue Knitting 1991. I bought a beautiful teal blue cotton. I think it was a Rowan yarn, but it's been so long ago. I was a brand new knitter and this was going to be the first adult sized sweater I would make for myself. I had made a couple of baby sweaters succesfully. I knew what I was doing. Or so I thought.

I swatched, knitted and sewed the sweater together. It was the beginning. I wore it a couple times feeling proud of my accomplishment. I made this sweater. I picked out the color, the pattern - I knit every stitch. I was proud. But then I began to notice that it was stretching. It seemed to be getting bigger. Now let me remind you that I was very new to knitting. I didn't know a thing about blocking. I knew it was very important to swatch in order to get gauge. And I didn't mind swatching. What I didn't know is that I should have washed and blocked my swatch to see how the material would react. So I washed the sweater thinking it would revert back to the size it was supposed to be. Nope. Nada. Nyet. It grew bigger! The sweater was like a mini-muu muu. Unwearable. And so the mini-muu muu sat in the closet for years and years.

Fast forward to 2006. I wanted to start a new project and had a lightbulb moment. Why not rip out the old sweater and reuse the yarn to make a sweater I could actually wear?! Brilliant! Afterall, I love that yarn...the color, the feel. It's a disgrace for it to sit in the dark closet and never be worn. I wanted something simple that would be a casual everyday sweater. So I chose this:

From Sally Melville's The Knit Stitch. It was simple. Casual. Comfy. And should be a breeze to knit up. I was excited! A new project. Old yarn that seemed new again. And so I began ripping and winding, eager to start...

And I swatched to make sure I would get the right gauge.

But I forgot to wash and block my swatch!!!! I didn't think I needed to because the yarn had already been washed in the form of the mini-muu muu. Lack of foresight.

Now I'm blocking and the sweater is 3" too long! It's already a loose-fitting oversized sweater. Now it's a dress. My first reaction was to throw it out and be done with the darn thing. This yarn is cursed! After I calmed down, I admitted that it was my fault and not the yarn's. The yarn had kinks in it from being knit up the first time. It really should have been washed before being knit up a second time. If I had washed and blocked the swatch, I would have realized it was going to grow (again!).

So I made the same mistake twice. And I can't qualify myself as a beginning knitter anymore.

I came up with a solution (because I am not ripping it out and reknitting it). I'm going to rip it out from the bottom until it's the right length and reknit the bottom edge. Hopefully, it won't look funny. Wish me luck! I'll post the finished product when I'm done.


mary said...

I think that's a great solution, and as soon as you have mastered it, can you please teach me how? Knowing you, it will be done well and look beautiful!

jillian said...

Yikes! Good luck!

mehitabel said...

I don't like knitting with cotton yarn for just that reason. I've even had commercially-made sweaters stretch out like that--what a bummer!

Madge said...

What a tragic tale! Isn't it horrible when your knitting betrays you like this?! (of course it's that darn cotton yarn's fault)

And this may be a stupid question, but what if you threw it in the dryer to shrink it a bit? Maybe that would save you from the saggy sweater dress syndrome?