Wednesday, 16 February 2011

WIP Wednesday: The WIP that made me lose the faith

Ok, it’s work-in-progress Wednesday again, and I’m going to do something a bit different this week. I am going to show you my most recent failed WIP. It is a WIP Flop. You may wish to sympathise with me in my irritation or you may wish to tell me a way in which it was my fault, either is welcome as I would rather it didn’t happen again (and I don't really know why it happened this time!).

Now, the thing about me is, I am not a process knitter. I mean, I do like the process, but, I don’t do it just for the good of my health, I want a functional woolly item at the end of it. And this is why I don’t knit a lot of garments, because I have trouble making them fit, and I do not know if it is me or the pattern. I had some chunky yarn which I had bought to make Cheadle, but, I couldn’t get gauge, and, instead of just cutting my losses and selling it on ebay, I decided to have a go at the Corrugated Asymmetrical Sweater from Loop-d-Loop instead. Because I love the way it looks in the book, the pattern looked easy, and I thought it would be a quick knit.
So far so good! Oh wait let's check the measurements
Now where I think I went wrong initially is, I decided to knit the Medium size. Because I always wear a Medium. Despite the fact that the Medium would have been a 37” chest which would have given me precisely no ease. I don’t actually know what I was thinking there (well, I couldn’t quite get my head round how small the sizing was. Do you not get to knit jumpers if you’re bigger than the large sizing, which would have been about a size 12-14? (US 8-10?) ), so, it is fair to say even in perfect circumstances this jumper would have turned out a bit unattractively snug. So that was a bit dim. But, I knit a gauge swatch, and I was dead on. Hooray! I thought. I completed piece one, and I measured it against the schematic in the book. Again, dead on. Hooray x 2! I thought. By the time I had done the second body piece and was knitting down the sleeve I thought I would just put it together and check it would come out at the right measurement.
9" negative ease is not often recommended for a big chunky jumper. It looks very dramatic
Yes. 14”. This jumper would be a 28” chest. I have pinned it together and tried it on just in case the wool had any special properties that meant it completely defied the laws of physics and, gosh. I'm glad I didn’t take photos. I have a bust that makes me look like Ena Sharples at the best of times, you can imagine what bulky corrugated wool with 9" of negative ease did for me. Anyway (imagine dramatic flounce here), I am done! I am so done with pieced jumpers and nasty surprises at the sewing-up stage! I went off to Ravelry and asked for advice, and people were very, very helpful about How To End Up With A Garment That Fits. A kind person recommended this book,
I love you, Wendy Bernard, you and your helpful explanations
which I would never have bought in the normal course of things because I’m not wild about the pattern on the cover (how shallow am I?!). Well, that would have been a mistake, because this book is brilliant. It is fab. It is other slightly outdated adjectives to express approval and enthusiasm. It shows you patterns to do top-down and top-up jumpers and cardigans, with raglan and set-in sleeves, and explains how to adjust them and make them fit. Although I am not going to guarantee that I can make something devastatingly attractive, I am going to bet that I can make something at least good enough to wear in the garden from this book, and I am going to sell the Bulky Wool of Doom on ebay and start again. I am officially giving up on things knitted in bits. So, goodbye Rowan and other pieced patterns, goodbye forever! I have accepted my own inadequacies and it feels better ;-). (I’m not going to admit to myself that I’ll never be able to play the guitar yet, though. That one’s some way down the line).

To see other, successful, sexy, non-failed WIPs, and discover new crafty blogs, go and have a look at Tami’s blog. And if anyone with a 24” chest (I’m leaving you room for ease) wants an asymmetrical chunky jumper, well. You know where to come.

14 comments:

Mujercita said...

Oh, that's so frustrating! I own that book, and although I haven't knit anything from it yet (I got out of the sweater-knitting mood for awhile!), it definitely has a lot of useful information!

Tami Klockau said...

This is my greatest fear when I start making sweaters, that nothing will fit and I will have spent endless hours working on a project that is pointless. ((hug))

That book looks great! I've flipped through it at the bookstore a few times. :)

Affiknitty said...

Thanks for sharing a failure! Your post cracked me up! Don't worry we all have our "ughs!" somewhere in our knitting experiences. I could tell you all about the cabled sweater vest that looked oh, so cute on the model, but made me look kind of like a blue smurfette!

Me said...

Ahhhhh how irritating for you! Much sympathy, but honesty is a fab thing, not everything turns out perfectly every time. Looks like a good find in the book, looking forward to hearing some happier WIPs from it!

Marushka C. said...

Thank you for the book review. I have picked that one up in bookstores but always decided that the patterns aren't that exciting for me, but if it has the magical information I need to make Sweaters That Fit Me, I am going to get a copy immediately. Perhaps it will get me out of the lace shawl habit and into making things I can wear more often?

wrchili said...

I can feel your pain! That's precisely why I no longer knit sweaters. They are so time consuming and so much work, and they never fit me when I'm finished.

Naomi said...

oh no and it looks soooo pretty! But really, we have excellent circular needles nowadays, there is no reason to repeat this xxx

Susie said...

Thank you everyone for the kind wishes! Marushka, I don't find the patterns in the book all that thrilling either, I know what you mean, but I think you have to see them as prototypes. And I just want to be able to knit something that will be relatively wearable (says she mournfully).

Has anybody read the Maggie Righetti book? I can't remember what it's called. She says (I summarise), knit top-down raglans, move on with your life. Maggie Righetti is my other hero ;-).

And also it is a good excuse to go shopping for New Yarn! (puts metaphorical fingers in ears re talk of interest rate rises on News).

CraftyCripple said...

This is such a good book. I have referred to it time and time again. I would have felt so vexed with that WIP too. So sorry it went wrong. I think most knitters no matter how experienced have fails every now and again. Sometimes it's the knitter sometimes it's the pattern. I would recommend putting noted on your Rav project page for others to find in case it's the pattern. I always try to look at a few projects on Rav before I cast on, just in case. Hope your next WIP makes you happier!

autumngeisha said...

Thanks for sharing your WIP Flop. It's definitely something that we can all sympathize with. I almost always knit seamless sweaters because they are easy to modify. Wendy also has a great DVD available on the Interweave website. It goes over top down sweater construction. I frogged my one and only seamed sweater but I still wear my first top down one, knitted over ten years ago.

nursenikkiknits said...

Oh all that work! I'm sorry your jumper didn't work out. I look forward to reading about future successes with your new book. Aren't folks on Rav so helpful?!

Countess Ablaze said...

I would have felt arrghhh as well. Enjoy the new yarn shopping instead - much more pleasureable!

avantaknits said...

I have that book....it's been gathering dust for quite some time. Which is why I've been doing blankets and such recently. I'm sorry your sweater failed. Such a lot of work, but on the bright side you learned something, right?

Right now I'm a little stunned to learn that size 8-10 US is considered Large. Yikes.

Denise said...

You gave me a good chuckle at your expense from your description at trying on the sweater. You know I need the chuckle right now so I hope you don't mind.

I stay away from chunky yarns and garments. The results are never good on my end. But then I'm a process knitter, so I don't mind knitting a sweater with sock yarn. More bang for my buck, more mileage for my money.

Blame the yarn, it works for me.