Friday, December 02, 2016

One more go

“I want to thank you again for your trust in my skills. This cardigan might work or then not, but you will be the first to know. It is at time out now. I just cannot face all the mistakes I have been making so far. But… on the bright side, I have learned a ton, from now on, I know, how I should have done it and hopefully my next projects will benefit from this. “

This is what I wrote about the Sheepy few days ago, and then I started to clean my desk. (I postponed writing the final words on it, because I wanted to show you something else and tried hard to think of another piece to work on.) I had decided to clean everything away, in the hopes of sweeping away the memory of the failure too. While doing it, I lingered in my thoughts around the cardigan and wondered what went so badly wrong that I could not salvage it somehow… and what did I learn from it. If I were to do it again, how would I proceed, what would be a better route?
At first, I envisioned this big open cardigan… but the fabric was too heavy for that. Then I decided to cut it into pieces and make this fitted jacket… I did not think this through beforehand and sort of ruined the procedure; without a good plan, it was difficult to go on; I should have drawn a pattern, then I should have calculated the gauge of the piece and start from there. Instead I made one mistake upon another, and this error chain was leading in total disaster… I could not keep on building on this error chain, every next step was going one step further to the disaster and I had to snap the chain.
These pictures are along the way… shaped pieces seamed into a cardigan… hem added… button/neck band added… and then again, everything undone and back to the pile of pieces, this time even unhappier pile than last time.

The ratty pile of pieces was there neatly folded away waiting to be put away. Then I just could not do it. Was there really no way to go, and if this is how I feel, why am I bothered to keep the pieces anyway. It does not make sense, not at all.

Okey…just one more go… One small, well thought step at a time.

I started with the fronts. At first I calculated the gauge of the fabric; around 30 stitches and 35 rows. Took out few of my knitting books to see if I could find a cardigan in those books that would somehow work with this gauge. Couple of years ago, I knitted Ursula by Kate Davies and the gauge of the fabric was close enough to the gauge of my Ursula. With that in mind I crocheted around the fabric piece the shape to map out the outlines of the front piece. Did the same for the other front and then I blocked those pieces. Did the same for the back. This took a long time, since I was trying to match the patterns in the sides and along the sleeve openings. The fabric was almost impossible to rip, the yarn has done its magic and the fibers are grabbing to each other, even the bottom of the sweater was impossible to unravel.
I am not sure if my shoulders are correct or if they are still too wide. I compared them to my Ursula, and they are wider than those, but then I compared them to my store-bought sweaters and they are closer to them. I am really scared to cut away any more fabric.

My back piece is drying now. Once that is done, I will seam the pieces to see if the fit is about right and then will proceed from there. I will need to stop and think about the shoulders then again. The real challenge will be with the sleeves. I will need to build fitted sleeve heads and this will be very difficult, if I try to follow the stitches and rows… This fabric is very difficult to see close as the colors sort of blend together when looked at close distance. My option is to knit new sleeves, but then the challenge would be to try to find a good yarn and a good color. Then again, it would be an opportunity to spice up the colors, which do look little muddy, there is no way around that fact… I could maybe knit ribbed sleeves… lace?

There was a point where I was very frustrated and close to a breaking point with this, but now, I am beginning to like this cardigan-to-be-hopefully. Maybe we will find a mutual understanding after all.
It took me a week to come up with this post, and the reason was this feeling of failure… I am still at the point I started this post with… this might or might not work but I have hopes.
In the meantime, here are pictures of the mittens I knitted earlier this fall and of which you saw few process pictures.

Until next time (I wish I have something good then…),
Wool with you,


  1. Go for it! It is a lovely pattern and who knows success might be just around the corner. I admire your perseverance and love the mittens.

  2. Sometimes, total failure and total success is only one step from each other...keep on, it will be good in the end!!

  3. Sometimes, total failure and total success is only one step from each other...keep on, it will be good in the end!!

  4. My thought would be to draft a sleeve pattern as you would a sewing pattern. Check the fit with a muslin fabric and then just cut and sew the knit fabric after reinforcing it so it won't unravel. Or if you've got a sleeve you like the fit of just trace that one off or copy one from a knitting book. It's just math and you're crazy talented!

  5. I have put quite a few dead projects in the trash lately.

    Ellen in Connecticut.

  6. I have put quite a few dead projects in the trash lately.

    Ellen in Connecticut.

  7. Don't give up yet! If all else fails, you could make a bag out of this dense fabric. Your other upcycling projects have turned out so well, I'm inspired to tackle the ones I have lying around. I never seem to get to them because I can't make myself stop knitting new things.

  8. Anonymous19:06

    I admire your patience!

  9. I love watching your process! Someday when my kids are bigger I will tackle some of the things I made years ago and make them even better. When I look at that jacket, I envision ribbed sleeves in a darker color. But I'm sure whatever you do will look fantastic!

  10. I love your perseverance! However, I am the first to say that not all projects go as planned. :) I'd suggest that however it goes, you try to get it back into a wearable object. Then, if it does not suit you or you are not happy with it, please give it away so that someone else can be warm this winter. Some of my "failures" have gone on to live long happy lives this way, and any warm thing is good when a person is cold. I hope this creative process is rewarding!

  11. Colorwise, it looks like my favorite handspun sweater, made from natural colored singles. I accidentally grabbed a ball of the wrong wool, so there is a streak with a whiter color than the rest of the sweater.

    Sometimes, you need to set it aside and just think about it for awhile. One of my sweaters was completed and I just didn't like the way it turned out. I had a collar on it and took that off. It turned out to be exactly what I needed to do.

    I think you are on the right track. The brown looks much better than the white edging. I like the brown garter stitch at the bottom too. The sleeves will be tricky, but then they always are.