Saturday, January 10, 2015

Knit Swirl, the Last

Remember Wordless Monday, in May 2013? After I blocked and seamed the sweater, I found the sleeves way too long. If they were too short, I would have added cuffs.  But, since they were too long, and I couldn't check the fit until after I had knitted and seamed the entire sweater, I had to frog the entire bodice.

Blast, you, knitted on sleeves!  The sweater marinated in stash for years.  Finally, I picked it apart, frogged and reknit it, with about 20 fewer stitches on each side.

It looks fine spread out like a butterfly.

It even looks ok on the dummy.

Because dummies don't move.
 If a human moves, the sweater bottom sticks out and stays that way.
Not the most flattering sweater.
Lift my arms, and it flares.
Wow, I do love the colors.
Omit the pin, and it juts out in front, too.

This project is a saga-length tragicomedy.

First, I thought I would use up my scrap teal yarns to make an oval knit swirl--the pattern featured on the cover.  However, the sweater looked awfully long (36"), so I shortened it 5 ridges or ~5-6".  I thought I was really clever because that saved so much knitting.

I couldn't get the exact yarns (see scraps), but I shopped for some teal worsted wool to alternate with my scraps.  The best color match was Malabrigo Rios.  It's 100% wool, just like the yarn in the pattern.  What can go wrong?
  1. Superwash wool stretches upon blocking.  Regular wool usually doesn't.  
  2. The pattern specifies a wool/mohair blend.  Mohair gives the yarn grip, so it doesn't stretch out as much when knit sideways. 
  3. The 5x5 stockinette and reverse stockinette stripes used in Knit Swirl sweaters has mechanical downward stretch.  Knit fabrics have more stretch sideways; that's why sideways knit sleeves are risky.
You have to take the measurements of knit Swirl sweaters on faith as you knit those concentric circles and batwing bodices.  Block to the measurements on the charts (if you can).

Apply gravity and then watch the sweater morph in ways you didn't anticipate.

The sleeve length (version 2) is ok.  But, the sweater is a lot more than 5" shorter the pattern.  I swatched!  What happened?

Gravity.  Remember how I gloated about how a shorter sweater represents less yarn and knitting?  The mass of the extra yarn would have pulled the sweater downward.

Notice how the 'waistline' of the sweater sits high, nearly empire?  The sweater pattern was designed for the bodice to be pulled down by the long peplum.  Shorten the peplum and the whole sweater goes "sprong" upwards.

I pride myself of problem-solving skills.  I went to McGuckins (Boulder's favorite hardware store and a tourist attraction in its own right) and bought three feet of brass chain.  I tacked every other link of the chain to the bottom of the sweater, above the first ridge.  It helped some, but not enough.

I tried the sweater one with different tops and pants, with a pin and without.  Nothing looked good enough to go out in public.

A friend invited me over for dinner.  I brought the sweater so we can have a good cry and laugh over it.  It looked great on her.

Damn.  She has a new sweater.

To add insult to injury, one of my pin experiments with the sweater snagged and broke a yarn, causing a small hole.

I gave her the leftover yarn so she can darn it up herself.  I am so .done. with that sweater.

I think I might give her the book, too.

I have another WIP that needs partial frogging.

I'm losing my knitting mojo.

I may have to cast on something else entirely.

Send yarn.


  1. Quite the cautionary tale! I have long lusted for this book, but I bet I also would not be able to make this pattern work for me (short waisted and short arms). My alternative: Cocoknits' Yvonne. All the glamour of that lush circle without pesky arm fitting problems.

    Sorry for the disappointment. At least the project is no longer moldering in stash. Forward with better results next time!

    1. Oh, that's a pretty pattern! It's a softer and lighter yarn so it might work.

      This sweater actually looks good on my apple-shaped friend. I think this sweater is just particularly bad for my pear shape.

  2. Such a pretty color-what a shame! At least it has found a good home. I don't know how to knit, but when I sew something that doesn't work for me, I make a TNT afterwards to reassure myself that I can sew. Sometimes.

  3. So sorry to hear this sweater didn't work for you. It's so frustrating to spend that much time and effort on something that you're not happy with! It IS beautiful, and I'm sure you're friend will enjoy wearing it.

  4. Thanks for all the condolences. I think I will cast on a cowl in a pretty yarn and easy pattern just to take the edge off this one.

  5. Grace10:49

    I found it a bit murderous trying to manage the sheer volume of stitches on the needle - and harder still to find a needle long enough to accommodate 697 stitches even though the yarn I used was a fine merino 3ply which is not at all bulky. I dread to think what will happen when I am near to finishing, as I too am short and a size 12; I can't help feeling this will be a knitted version of a snipe hunt!!


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