Day 57: IT’S DONE!

I don’t know how else to say it besides the title, guys. It’s official, this sweater is DONE!

I have to admit, it was not the revelatory experience that I was expecting. I thought I’d pull out all those pins, try it on, and be instantly in love. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.

Instead, I tried it on and felt instantly anxious. First thing I realized? The sleeves turned out waaaaay too long. Ironic, really, because earlier I was worried that they were going to be too short! Never doubt the powers of blocking.

And in the same way that the sleeves grew significantly, so too did the body.

I knit the body to the exact length that I wanted it, which was foolish in the first place. I should have known that blocking would add at least some length. I just thought that the pattern accounted for this, and that it wouldn’t call for me to make it longer than what the pictures showed.

This was flawed thinking for two reasons. First of all, I wasn’t using the yarn the pattern called for, I was using something of my choosing that certainly didn’t have the same stretch of the yarn in the pattern.

Second of all, I am short. I top out around 5’3”, nearly 5’4” if I stand super straight and put my hair in a ponytail. That kind of stature comes with a short torso and short legs. I have no idea what the height of the woman in the pictures for the pattern was, but odds are she was taller than me.

The result? This cardigan is a dress. It ended up being something like 6 inches longer than I wanted it to be. I can stand perfectly straight and hang my arms down as far as they’ll go, and the tips of my fingers aren’t even close to the bottom of this thing.

I was not happy.

In fact, I was so “not happy” when I first tried it on that I started crying. I was just so disappointed!

After my little cry, though, I put it back on and went into problem solving mode.

First thing’s first, what do you do when you’re getting to work on something? You roll up your sleeves. So I rolled up the sleeves on the cardigan. And actually, they look really good rolled up!

That was the arms settled, then, what about the body? If it’s dress length, can I make it a dress? If I did that, I could add some buttons up the center, which would be super cute! But, no, it would be too short, I wouldn’t wear it very often as a dress. What if I steaked it up the side? How about some darts or some gathering in the back?

But then I put on one of my maxi skirts (instead of the PJ pants I was wearing, which really clashed with the cardigan) and added a belt, then I got my boyfriend to help me even out how it gathered in the back, and took another look in the mirror.

Sure, it still seems way too long, which is a real shame, but it is wearable!

I learned an important lesson here, guys. Always, always, always remember how much blocking can affect your work.

I should have measured my swatch before and after blocking, not just after. Even though that wouldn’t have accounted for the extra length you get from the weight of the piece, it would have at least given me a better idea of how it could be affected, and would have helped me keep in mind the potential growth that would occur after blocking.

Barring this disappointment at the end, though, knitting this sweater has been a joy.

I have two verdicts to deal out now. First, how I feel about this pattern specifically, and second, how I feel about sweater knitting in general.

The Snowbird pattern has been a great first sweater to knit. For the most part, the pattern was very easy to understand, and the techniques it employed were basic and easy to do. The sizing hasn’t quite worked out for me, but that’s not the fault of the pattern, that’s my own mistake.

Would I recommend someone knit a Snowbird sweater for themselves? Absolutely! But I don’t think I’ll knit a second one of these. There’s nothing wrong with the pattern, I’ve just done it, and now I want to try other patterns.

Which leads me into the second part of this review, how I feel about sweater knitting in general.

In short, I’m obsessed.

I cannot wait to knit another sweater! It was so much easier than I anticipated, took less time than I expected, and was considerably more rewarding to complete than a lot of the other projects I’ve finished.

Next time, I think I’ll knit a pullover instead of a cardigan. I hope you’ll stick around and read all about it when I do!

Day 56: Blocking

Ugh, blocking. I don’t know a single knitter that looks forward to blocking their work…

Unfortunately, it is a 100% necessary task, particularly with a sweater. Maybe I wouldn’t bother with, say, a shawl or a blanket, even though I usually do get around to it for those things.

But this sweater? No, it’d be almost unwearable without blocking, with the way the edges curl up from the stockinette stitch.

I decided to wet block this sweater.

Well, no, that’s not quite right. I didn’t “decide” to wet block it, because I didn’t have much of a choice. I don’t have a steamer (wouldn’t that be nice, though), and no way was I going to attempt to steam block using the steamer on my iron. Not worth the risk of burning my precious yarn.

To do the wet blocking, though, I had to have a tub big enough to fit this massive sweater in it. And the only tub we have that’s big enough, is our bathtub.

So I ran a nice room temperature bath for my sweater, threw in some nice wool wash to make it a little bit luxurious, and set that baby to soaking.

I wish desperately that I could say “then I took it out and put it in my spin dryer, before laying it out on my blocking pads and threading in my blocking wires to make sure it got a great, even blocking.”

Unfortunately, I don’t have any of those things.

(Upon reflection, I apparently don’t have a significant number of things that would make blocking considerably easier.)

Instead, I very gently wrang out my sweater, then laid it out on a towel and squeezed out a bit more water. (Once it was all pinned, I set up a fan to help it dry faster. Again, would’ve been easier with better equipment.)

Next came the very tedious process of putting individual pins in while I spread it out on a bunch of towels on the carpet. Thank goodness for my boyfriend, Michael, who helped me with this bit. It’d have taken an absolute eternity (in addition to causing an anxiety attack when it wouldn’t freaking lay like it was supposed to!) if it weren’t for his assistance.

Speaking of assistance, I’ve got to thank you all, my loyal readers, because if it weren’t for you, I probably would have put off the blocking for this sweater. I pretty much always do – put off blocking, I mean. Even when I really want to use the thing I’ve knit, it takes a lot of motivation for me to get to the blocking.

And this time, that motivation was you all, and this blog! Because I certainly feel like I’m being held accountable here. So thank you!

Day 55: So Close!

I’m so close to being done with this sweater.

I thought that I would be done yesterday. I only had pockets to seam up and ends to weave in. But then the day ended up being pretty busy, and the free time I usually have at work did not happen.

I did finish seaming up the pockets while playing DnD with some friends after work, though.

Right pocket

Left pocket

The pattern called specifically for me to use a “slip stitch” technique to sew up the pockets. Unfortunately, I am not a sewist, and I had no idea what that was. I looked it up online (as you do), and it seemed (ehhhh, no pun intended, but a happy coincidence!) easy enough to figure out with fabric, but then the video I was watching said something about “seam allowances” and I took one look at my sweater and was lost.

I’m sure I could have figured it out if I’d taken some time to think about it or watched some other tutorials, but I really wasn’t in the mood. So I just went stitch by stitch, matching each stitch of the lining to a stockinette stitch on the outside of the pocket.

And I really like the way it looks, even if it’s not the invisible join the pattern called for.

Oh, and you remember how I said that I’d had “way too many” rows when I first knit the lining, so I took a bunch of them out? Weeeell, maybe I shouldn’t have done that. Because it was short once I actually put needle to yarn.

It’s a little bit noticeable on the front side, which I was a annoyed about. I had a real hard think about how much it was going to bother me, and if it was significant enough for me to take out all the seaming I’d just done to lengthen it. I decided it was not. So I’ll have just slightly too short pockets, but I’ll deal with it.

This is why you measure everything folks, you don’t just eyeball it.

So, after the pockets, I did manage to get a few of my ends woven in, but we finished up our DnD session and headed home before I could really make much of dent in all those ends.

I thought that I would be able to finish it up when I got home, but not only was I exhausted because it was after 10pm (and I’m an old lady with an appropriate old lady bedtime of 9pm), but I felt extremely ill. There was no possible way I could have gotten those ends woven in.

They most certainly will be woven in by my next post, though, and hopefully the sweater will be blocking as well!

Day 54: Finishing Touches

Pocket linings have been knit, all that’s left is to spend an awful lot of time with my tapestry needle.

I finished up the pocket linings using straight needles, as I said I was going to, and . The first lining I actually ended up having to take some rows out of, because I hadn’t really been paying attention to how long it was getting.

I kept track of how many rows I knit of the pockets themselves and thought I could just knit the same amount of rows to have an appropriately sized interior, but apparently that did not translate well to the lining in this case. I think I had to take out somewhere around 5-10 rows

Normally that might bother me, but I was watching Kung Fu Panda with my boyfriend while I was doing it, so I really wasn’t fussed. That and there were only about 30 stitches to the pocket lining, so I wasn’t exactly straining myself when it came to putting those stitches back on the needles.

I have to say, though, Kung Fu Panda is a really underrated movie. Or at least it was by me. My boyfriend loves it, along with the two sequels that it has so far. There were a lot fewer cringey moments in it than I remember, which is always good, and I was chuckling or even outright laughing through a lot more than I thought I would.

Anyway, I digress. You haven’t come here for a movie review.

The one thing that was annoying about knitting these pockets was that I was dealing with the entire weight and length of the rest of the sweater. And the pocket linings weren’t exactly lengthy themselves, so I had to untwist the entire sweater pretty much every row.

With two sleeves and something like 30 inches of sweater to untangle, it got to be a real pain real fast.

But that’s a tiny complaint, and in the light of being almost done with this sweater, I really couldn’t care less. I’m just happy this sweater has pockets at all!

Tomorrow, updates from tapestry needle hell. Wish me luck.

Day 53: Binding Off

I bound off the bottom of my sweater!!!

My circular needles are wound up and put away, and my tapestry needle is out. And I mean, also my straight needles. I do still need to finish the pockets. But as soon as those pockets are done and the ends are woven in, it’s just going to be a matter of blocking!

The bottom of this sweater has gone so well.

I did decide to put the seam in through the entire body of the sweater, even though I didn’t put it in when I knit the sleeves. It’s not going to bother me on the body, and I think that the body would look a little too static without it.

The pockets were really easy, too, once I figured out how to cast stitches onto my needle. And I got to learn a new cast on stitch! I don’t know if I mentioned, but the cable cast on was new for me.

Between that and the provisional cast on, that makes two new techniques I’ve learned because of this sweater. Of those two, I definitely prefer provisional cast on, and I will definitely be using that more in the future.

The bottom border on this sweater was also super easy, and it’s a great way to finish off. It’s stockinette stitch all the way across, from one end to the other, with no increases whatsoever. I didn’t have to count rows or keep track of anything, I just knit until it seemed like I was getting close to the recommended length, gave it a quick try on here and there to see how I was liking it, and stopped when it seemed long enough.

And let me tell you, it’s definitely long enough. Which is exactly what I wanted!

I knew it was going to feel like I was knitting the body for an eternity, because I wanted a really long sweater. That’s just generally what I prefer. Something to really wrap yourself up in, especially when they set the office thermostat to “just warm enough to keep the pipes from freezing,” which is what it feels like half the time in my office.

So as I’m wrapping this up in the next few days, if anybody has any questions or comments, please feel free to leave a comment on this post or any other in this series. And if you have any recommendations for my next project, let me know!

Day 52: Thank Goodness For 2-Day Shipping

I got my needles!

I cannot tell you how happy I was to get home from work and be able to hook up these new tips to my cord and get some rows done on my sweater!

Michael’s the actual owner of the Prime account that I used, so he got the email that they’d been delivered, but he let me know as soon as he did. And as soon as we got home, we checked the mail to pull the package out of the mailbox. And as soon as I got the package I tore into it. And as soon as I opened the package I opened the needles and put the new tips on my project!

It was such a relief. I felt like my life was back on track, not just my knitting.

Lately I’ve been talking about how close I am to being done, and how I only have a few centimeters left, etc, etc. But I didn’t properly realize just how close I was until I pulled out my sweater again, after not looking at it for two days, and noticed just how far I’d come.

I am nearly finished with a sweater. My first sweater! It’s unreal.

Yesterday afternoon, while I was moping over my broken needles while getting my scrappy blanket underway, I did realize something rather obvious, that would have moved me further along on this sweater and would have kept me from losing those couple of days while waiting for my needles.

The pockets.

I could have been knitting the pockets!

I’m not going to be using these lengthy circulars when I knit the pocket linings. I could have taken a couple of straight needles and knit up the linings. I probably could have even sewed them on!

Or, and this would have been just as clever, I could have woven in all the freaking ends. Then when I finished off this bottom edge, I’d have actually been properly done! I wouldn’t have to deal with that weird feeling of having gotten to the end of the project, without having completed it.

But I guess hindsight is 20/20.

Day 51: Waiting

If you guys were hoping for some kind of miracle in which I received my needles early or magically found replacements, I’m afraid that I’m going to have to disappoint you. And no needles means no progress.

No progress means no sweater update. Sorry, guys.

I can tell you what I’ve been doing in the meantime, though!

You guys know those scrappy granny stripe blankets that have been sweeping the knitting world? I say “have been” like they’re a new phenomenon, but really I’m seriously late to the trend (as usual).

Anyway, I finally decided to get going on one of those!

I cast one on the starting chain a couple months ago, but never got past the chaining. Partially because crochet is (to me) very complicated, and partially because I chained way too many stitches to start, and also chained them all too tightly. So I had to start over.

Well, I figured now was as good a time as any to get back to it, seeing as all I have to do presently is wait for my needles to come in.

My other options were casting on the hat I want to make for my dad for Christmas, or working on the leg warmers I started ages ago.

However, I need the 40” cord that is in my sweater to work on the hat. I ordered a 16” circular to make it, but I just can’t handle the size of the needles on that kind of circular, so I’m going to magic loop it. And the leg warmers are in timeout for being both fiddly and boring.

Of course, I’ve got plenty of other yarn waiting to be skeined and turned into something gorgeous, but this blanket is really something I’ve been wanting to do.

I’m still working on the setup rows, but it better be true what people say, that the beginning is the hardest part of this blanket. Because so far, I am not having fun. There’s a very good reason that I don’t crochet often, and this setup row isn’t changing my mind in the slightest.

Here’s hoping it gets easier.