01 May 2007

Casual cables conundrum

This month's "big" guild meeting included the annual stash sale and the programme was about San Diego style which is code lingo for working with fibres other than wool.

The newsletter suggested that members wear non-wool sweaters to show and share and that live and learn disasters would also be welcome to illustrate problems that come from working with the various fibres.

Well, I rarely work with wool and I don't have a lot of knitting disasters kicking around but there are a few notable ones. One of them has been coming out to mock me for nearly five years..

In 2002, I did the breast cancer 3 day walk. I knit while on the walk and the project was Casual Cables by Michele One-L Wyman who, at that time was still a breast cancer survivor. Sadly Michele died a few years back but her wonderful patterns are still available at LYS and also online at Effectiveness by Design. The sweater is a cardigan with a modified drop shoulder (aka the basic T) .

I used long discontinued Berber cotton doubled. I twisted my stitches intentionally while working the cables to make them pop. Other than a "gee that bit of pooling looks like a stain on the front" which had to be frogged back and corrected with the addition of another length of yarn, everything seemed to be going well until I got to the sleeves.

In the first go 'round it was immediately obvious that the sleeves were just way too big. So I recalculated and knit them again. Even though they fit into the armhole and are considerably smaller than the original, there's still way, way too much fabric happening in this sleeve.
My first shot at finishing the thing probably wasn't as good as it could have been but in hind sight it also probably wasn't the sole source of the troubles. My picked up and knit collar (just a bit of a roll) and my button bands were beautiful but sewing the sleeves to shoulder just looked wonky. Wonky being, of course, a very technical knitting term.

Tore them out, sewed them again and the wonk factor remained with way too much fabric at the under arm and in the sleeve. With the T shaping, yet another rework the sleeves wouldn't solve the problem. Steeking and seaming into an underarm cable would just be a bulky mess in the cotton. Tearing all the way back and completely reworking/redesigning the sweater loomed as the only real solution (other than, just giving it up for lost).

This is when the disgusted and easily distracted phase kicked in. The sweater went into the deal with it later bin and I moved on to other, more satisfying knitting.

The deal with it later bin, which could also be considered my personal Pandora's box of knitting problems, sometimes coughs up a project as if to say "can you fix me now?" Sometimes my answer is an aggressive no followed by frogging (a major reason why I don't have too many knit disasters kicking around) but other times it is woeful whimper and a reminder than sometimes the disaster wins.

This sweater has been one of the woeful whimper projects. It comes up to the surface and I take a look to see if I was too hard on myself (sometimes it happens) and the knitting or if I can fix it or some combo.

This year, perhaps inspired by the guild or maybe because I'm also tearing out another project where I didn't start my armhole shaping soon enough, I decided that a frog and rework was not only possible but probable.

Watch for occasional updates on how this will be transformed and why the basic T modified drop shoulder didn't work for me and what will.


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