Chronicle of a Sweater Unloved

Once upon a time, before there was a sweater, before there was even the yarn for a sweater, there was a young knitter who dreamed of a sweater. This sweater would be great, the knitter thought. In fact, this sweater would be the greatest sweater she ever owned. This sweater would be loose and comfortable, cozy and warm, but with a wide-ish sort of neckline that would give it just that extra touch of sophistication, and the knitter would wear it with a fabulous pair of those trendy skinny jeans (which she would also acquire from somewhere) and a pair of those cute ballet flats, and altogether her ensemble would make her look effortlessly chic and fashionable and -- inexplicably -- five inches taller. Though to be fair, in her vision the knitter also has great hair that's behaving itself, like all the fabulous hair you see in shampoo ads, and THAT will probably never ever happen. Still, she had high hopes for the sweater.

Then, in her Local Yarn Shop, the knitter came across gigantic squishy balls of James C. Brett Chunky yarn, which is 100% acrylic and machine washable (which appealed to this knitter's lazy side) and also cheap (which appealed to the knitter's thrifty side.) She bought three balls of this wonderful stuff. (I should also mention that this knitter, while full of enthusiasm and ideas, is also somewhat lacking in reading comprehension. See, her LYS puts up these handy little cards for each yarn that give rough estimates of how much you'd need if you wanted to make a hat, or mittens, or a sweater of various sizes. The knitter bought three balls of this yarn because that's how much the card said she should buy to make a ladies size small, but neglected to read on to where the shop defined a ladies size small as 34". The knitter is a 29 1/2" bust, and could totally have gotten away with only two balls, and still had some left over.)

The shop had a sample sweater knit up in a charming colorway of this yarn that made stripes of a dark rusty orange/reddish/brown and a muted teal that the knitter thought was just the bees knees. Unfortunately the shop only had two balls of this color (oh, hindsight!) and so the knitter settled for a mossy green with stripes of brownish green, and bought her three balls, and carried them triumphantly home, and cast on that night.

The knitter, I might add, was suffering from just a touch of hubris. See, she thought she was a pretty good knitter. A pretty great knitter, in fact. She had been knitting for a few years at this point and knew enough to feel really confident, but not enough to realize just how far she had to go. She'd just finished up knitting a Quadrat that fit perfectly, and just before that was a February Lady sweater knit just a little over 2 weeks for the Ravelympics. Oh, I guess I should have mentioned. This is way back in March of 2010. Anyhow, confidence, two awesome projects, hubris. Right. The knitter said to herself, "I've knit two great sweater that fit, I bet I don't need a pattern for this!"

See, the knitter knew enough about knitting to make a top-down raglan sweater, but not enough to know how to make a top-down raglan sweater that fit properly. She took her measurements, measured her gauge, and multiplied the numbers together to figure out how many stitches around it should be. She even did some fancypants math to make waist shaping as well. And then she knit. And knit and knit and knit. And came out with a sweater body that fit like a second skin, because this knitter hadn't known enough to add in any ease. Forget tossing this on over a t-shirt like she'd envisioned, this thing barely fit, period. Okay, thought the knitter, I can work with this. So she continued on. She picked up the stitches for the sleeves, and faced with the thought of more measurements for her arm, now done one-handed, and more math and figuring out the placement of decreases... well, it made her somewhat dizzy and so she decided to just knit straight sleeves with no shaping. That would look fine, right? A fitted sweater with loose sleeves?

She knit all of one sleeve and half of the other before finally facing the fact that no, it did not look fine. Also, the sweater was too short and too tight. Rather than risk the pain of a frogging, she threw it into a bag and didn't look at it again until the following March. She pulled it out, made notes about the places it didnt' fit (Hint: ALL OF THEM. ALL OF THE PLACES.) and how to fix it, and sat down to figure out a pattern. Then she remembered that this was exactly how she got an ill fitting sweater in the first place, and looked online until she found this handy-dandy top down raglan sweater generator thing and decided to go with that. Unfortunately, the knitter hadn't bothered to measure her gauge before frogging that sweater back to oblivion. Yes, she had a sweater-sized gauge swatch, and didn't take two second to measure it before ripping it all out. So she estimated.

The knitter got off to a bad start when the sweater generator instructed her to knit a sweater with a neckhole that was too small to comfortably go over her head. The knitter remembered to measure her gauge this time before rippingit out and starting over with the new and actual gauge plugged in to the generator. She cast on again, and ended up with a second neckhole that didn't fit over her head. At that point she decided to use the Generator as a "rough guideline" and cast on more stitches.

She ignored the pattern for the body, until she got to the sleeves, since that was the bit of math she didn't want to do before. She got the live stitches for the shoulder onto a set of DPNs and followed the instructions for the sleeve, decreasing as told. The sleeve was too tight, and the decreases ended withe her knitting the cuff somewhere around mid-forearm. She ripped, rejiggered the numbers, and reknit. Too tight and too short again. She ripped out, fixed the numbers again, and came up with a sleeve that was only somewhat too tight. Ripped it out again, started to knit a sleeve with no decreasing, remembered that way lies madness, and shoved the whole thing back into its bag for another year.

In March of 2012 the sweater was allowed out of its confinement. The knitter ripped the sleeve back to the shoulder, gave a great big middle finger to the pattern, and finally produced a sleeve that fit properly by trying on the sweater EVERY TWO INCHES and decreasing as needed. She ended up with a sleeve that fit, but in a spat of poor judgement the likes of which had plagued this sweater from the word go, she had neglected to write down where she threw in decreases. And since she wanted a sweater that had two identical sleeves (since, funnily enough, she was in possession of two identical arms) she would now have to go back and count the decreases. This proved to be too much for the knitter and earned the sweater another month's long timeout.

The sweater, frankly, was just thrilled that it wasn't another year.

Toward the end of spring, just as the weather was warming up, the knitter decided that she wanted to wear her new sweater. She took it out, counted the rounds of the finished sleeve, wrote it all down, carefully replicated it on the second sleeve, got partway through the cuff, and just.... stopped.

No reason. No explaination. Just... stopped. The weather was still chilly, the sweater was behaving itself, there were only a few rounds left. And she folded up that sweater, placed it neatly in the back of the WIP drawer, and merrily flounced off to go knit other things.

And there it likely would have stayed for another year if not for one little Summer Bingo square that read "finish a WIP." So the knitter brought it out, knit the last couple of rounds and wove in the ends (a whopping 10 minutes of work that she performed while standing at the dining room table) and brought it in to Natural Stitches for a stamp.

And it was done, with perfect timing, in the middle of August. After pulling it on for a quick photo shoot (and nearly passing out from the heat) the knitter folded it up and put it away with her other storebought sweaters, to wait for the cooler temperatures of fall. And there it sat, unloved, until now, when the weather has finally turned enough to make it worth wearing.

Will say one thing, though. Brett C. Marble yarn is absolutely freaking amazing -- I knit and ripped that one stupid sleeve about six times using the same yarn, while the second sleeve's yarn was just knit with once, and I honestly can't tell the difference between them.