Knitting: Fail or Crisitunity?

By Tiffany - Saturday, November 08, 2014

I'm almost finished my planned grey cable sweater. But, things have not turned out as I hoped. I finished the body and the sleeves and then blocked the sweater. That's when things didn't go so well. My sweater turned into a dress!

Not horrible, but not what I was going for.

The pattern is May Replay by Debra Hoss. This is what the sweater is supposed to look like:

She looks much happier than I do in the picture above
The pattern is very well written with plenty of good instructions and charts. The sweater is a nice a classical looking cable sweater with 3/4 length and full length sleeve options. The body is knitted in the round until the neckline and then it is knitted flat. The sleeves are knitted flat and then attached to the body.

I wanted to use a nice, soft yarn. Wool often leaves me scratchy. So, I chose Rowan Baby Merino Silk DK. The yarn is super soft and easy to knit with. My only complaint is the occasional knot in the ball (you think that for yarn at this price you wouldn't have that, but oh well...). However, this yarn has a larger gauge than what is used for the pattern and that's where the trouble started.

Using a different gauge than the pattern is usually not a problem for me. I just do a bit of math, chose a size with the stitch count I want, and I'm good to go. I did a test swatch, but I must admit I probably didn't make it large enough (4" wide by 2.5" tall). I found when I washed the swatch, the yarn relaxed a lot and my swatch got much bigger. I found my new gauge, did my math, and away I went.

While I was knitting, I thought I was ok. This is what it looked like before blocking:

Maybe a little snug, but I thought it would block a little bigger, so no panic.

Was I wrong! For whatever reason, my brain must have been shut off when I started this project. I didn't take the time to see what adjustments I should make to the length. So, when I blocked it, it expanded into a dress! I wouldn't mind it too much, except the side shaping is in the wrong place.

It doesn't look too bad in the above photo, but when my arms are down, the narrowest part sits just above my hips and not at my waist. Not a great look.

I tried re-blocking it, but it didn't work. My sweater is about 3"-4" too long, the neckline is plunging, and the armholes are huge. This seems like a complete knitting fail. Sigh...

However, instead of just tossing the sweater away and/or frogging it, it occurred to me that my good friend, who is bigger than me, just might fit in this sweater. I made her try on the body and it fits! Being so near to Christmas, I guess I have knit my friend a Christmas gift. Crisitunity!

I guess I also learned a lesson in making sure my test swatches are big enough. I was just naive, since I've never had this much of a change with other yarns I have used. But now, this sweater is one giant test swatch. So, if I ever use this yarn again, I'll now how big my final project will be.

Once I give my friend the completed sweater, I will take more pictures to share. In the mean time, I must start some other Christmas gifts and re-plan a cable sweater for me.

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  1. Oh! That's so tough! I still think it looks good, but I understand how you must feel since it's different than what you were going for. Sounds like your friend won the jackpot, though! Way to "fix" your mistake. Can't wait to see the finished product.

    1. Thanks Ip! I think I would have felt worse if I had to undo it all, so I guess it worked out.

  2. It's the silk content. Anything with it is prone to growing. I also like to hang my swatches vertically (pinned to a hanging towel) and put some weights (hanging earrings work really well) to mimic the weight of the sweater.

    1. That's a great idea! I'll definitely do that in the future.