I finished a sweater!
I started it last May, and it was supposed to be a “quick knit”…but you know how these things go.
The pattern is called “Colors of Kauai”, by Hanna Maciejewska (here on Ravelry, for you knitters). The yarn is Madelinetosh DK, a single-ply merino which is heavenly to work with and knits up faster than my all-time favorite, Madelinetosh Merino Light, for when I want that Tosh experience without committing to quite as much stitching.
I mean, that’s what I say, but the truth is I re-knitted much of this, so like many projects, it ends up being more work than I expect, when setting out at the beginning.
It’s a really good pattern, top-down construction, with set-in sleeves picked up and worked in short rows, in what I think is the neatest, most professional, most easy-to-make set-in sleeve technique I have ever seen.
The pattern also has bust and waist shaping, which is what appealed to me right away, it just seems a more shapely sweater than many of the other thousands and thousands of patterns for a basic buttoned cardigan with lace panels down the front. (The shaping, plus the neckline. I think this sweater’s scoopneck detail with i-cord bind-off is also quite lovely).
However (and you knew there would be a “however”, didn’t you?) it was the shaping that threw me into trouble territory. It is very nicely shaped, and knitted with some negative ease, but the shape wasn’t specifically for my body. So once I knitted it the first time, I had to try it on and see where all the variations were (pattern vs. me) and make notes, and then rip it back, and re-knit, ignoring the directions for waist shaping, changing the point of the waist to hit the point of my waist, and shape it from there, and making it longer and increasing at the hip (instead of perpetual decreasing, from the bust) so that it would flare out the same way my body does.
It was a long moment of disappointment when I realized how much I would have to re-do, but a friend encouraged me, saying “I’ve never regretted frogging back, even though it’s sometimes hard to come to that decision.” I knew I would either have a sweater that never would fit properly, quickly (if I just continued on) or I could stop, work back, take the extra time, and have a sweater that I enjoyed wearing, every single time.
I’m so glad that I did.
I added a sketch of my changes to my Ravelry page for this, if any knitters care to check it out, but suffice it to say that the general lesson (particularly to restless, “get finished quick” crafters such as myself) is that sometimes those more methodical workers are right, patience really does pay off.
Which I think is a lesson I’ve learned before…maybe a hundred times or so, in fact. I think that’s one of the general lessons I’m supposed to be learning in this lifetime, in general, and it’s interesting to me how many times that comes through in various ways in my crafting. Sewing and knitting are pursuits that teach me to focus, be patient, and persevere, and they give me an arena to practice these qualities in a safe space, with my hands filled with gorgeous fabric and yarn. If I can get those lessons down with my hands in the merino wool, maybe one day I’ll be able to apply them to other areas of my life as well.
Or maybe it’s just about having fun, pretty clothes to wear.