Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sweaters can be fun.

If you are a knitter, you may have had the delight of frogging a project. In the past year, as I have become a more dedicated knitter (nice way of saying that I plummeted over the edge, into the abyss, and may never recover) I have found myself more and more at ease unraveling my hours upon hours of labor. What better way to feel productive than to say that you just purposefully demolished your own project? Well, when it comes to this raglan I'm working on, ripping has become a bit of a joke.

I should back up and give a tad of backround. I have knit one full sweater, back in college when I was a rather new knitter. I don't remember ever having issues with the fabric being uneven. I don't recall ever struggling to work with stranded techniques. My first sweater included a strip of colorwork that I designed myself, and I think it came out nicely. Now the real problem was this: I didn't know how to form a proper knit stitch. Every single stitch was twisted, being worked in the round and apparently wrapped wrong. The result? The sweater sways on a bias, kinda tornado-ing around my body. I also had no concept of clothing construction, so I just went straight up, split into frond and back panels, and sewed the sleeves on at a wonderful ninety-degree angle. I didn't even know I had done anything wrong! That was, I believe, close to seven or eight years ago. I never thought of frogging.

My next sweater was a simple v-neck vest, also done in the round. (I believe this was a slight modification from working the front and back in seperate panels.) It seemed nice enough until I seamed the shoulders and tried it on. I was missing a few inches in the torso. Now, I could have ripped back. But I really didn't want to do that, especially in Malabrigo. So, I am proud to say that I successfully (and painstakingly) snipped in the middle of the torso, picked up the stitches, knit a few more inches, and grafted it back together. You can't tell a thing! Great. No frogging for that process. So the arm and neck holes are bound off to tightly. Some day I will rip them out and redo them. Then I will felt it just a tad, since I don't like how baggy the vest looks.

Now that I am determined to break the barrier that keeps sweaters as a mystery, I am hitting my head against a wall. The body seems like it might be a touch baggy. I'm hoping to get some pointers for how to take it in a bit. The sleeves, though, are the problems. I knit up to the elbows, two at a time, and realized (thanks Ryan!) that they are too tight. Yeah, I knew it, but I didn't want to admit that I would have to frog them. I ripped one out, and reknit past that point. A couple times. One thing after another. Long story kept from getting much longer, I think I'm in the home stretch with sleeve #1. The fabric looks like lumpy oatmeal. I was thinking of calling myself Willy Wonky. I must admit that I committed the unpardonable sin and attempted to learn continental style knitting while working on this sleeve. This has now been rectified, and while I am continuing to use a modified continental style on my Daybreak shawl, I will finish this sweater the way I have been knitting all these years. And I will love myself for it. May the plague of frogs be done!

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