Tuesday, April 8, 2008

at least it's too warm now anyway

After sharpening my seaming skills, I decided I wanted to finish this sweater before it was too warm to wear. The pattern is the Swirled Pentagon Pullover from Knitting Nature (same book as the droplets; many of its patterns are on my "to knit" list.) It's knit in Rowan Pure Wool Aran, a Christmas gift (which also included my mom allowing me to drag her around a lovely yarn store calculating yardage requirements and debating over colors for days on end).

Great pattern, great yarn, great. Right? I'd even thought that superwash wool was a big plus. In fact, it might have been, had I tried washing my swatch before starting. But, honestly, that seemed like a useless step. I'd knit the swatch. I'd gotten gauge. What else could the yarn want from me? Turns out that superwash wool grows by about a third after washing. So blocking left me with a sweater that had a ridiculously floppy collar and was about 7 inches too long and much, much too wide. (It's a pity I didn't have a working camera during this process. Although, I guess you all don't really need pictures of me crying over a lot of blue-green yarn.)

Luckily, Ravelry saved the day, by letting me know that this was totally normal and all I had to do was put the sweater into the dryer and check it every five minutes until it was back to size. (This is why everyone needs to sign up for Ravelry!) And, luckily, my laundry room has open outlets so I could bring my computer and work. This did get me a few choice comments, including one that suggested that the laundry room must be a great place to steal my neighbors' wireless. And it almost completely worked: I'm perfectly happy with the length and if the arms are a little too long, it will just encourage me to stretch.

But, you see, what that picture above doesn't show is the amount of fabric that's pinned behind my back. As Keren has pointed out, this is an important piece of information. So there it is: about 6 inches of extra width. It's not that big of a deal except when I sit down and then the fabric balloons all over the place and looks totally goofy.

Having knit other sweaters too large, I know my options: frog, seam or block? Clearly, blocking is not the way to go. And frogging seems like a darn shame. I think I have a seaming plan that will work, but I may also decide that I just won't sit down on the days I wear this sweater. Since spring is slowly coming to town, this seems like a plan that might work for the next six months or so.


Emily's Mom said...

It is a wonderful pattern and very nicely knitted. I'm curious as to whether it fit before you washed it - or did it stretch when you were trying to block it the first time before sewing it together? I confess, I've never been very faithful about blocking. I usually just steam iron press very lightly before seaming. Since your guage was accurate, it could be that the pattern was just sized big. I do find, especially with older patterns, that they are just sized bigger than we are accustomed to wearing sweaters now - so I look at the finished measurements on the pattern and often choose a size smaller than I would ordinarily wear because it's more stylish now to have less ease. I had no idea superwash wool stretched so much - but I have resorted to the dryer trick in the past, without having read it in a book.

Elizabeth said...

Oh dear--looking at the bottom picture I'd wondered if the extra material was some kind of long hood or something. But, I am confident that you can seem it into perfection.

It really is lovely though. That pentagon pattern is really well executed.

Emily said...

I think you look pretty.

kzwick said...

If you tear out this sweater you might officially scare me away from everything that's not a rectangle or a tube. This sweater is really cute. Therefore, there must be a way to fix it. MUST. Someone in this world can help you if you havent already found a way.