Sometimes in a knitter’s life a pattern appears in the world that simply must be knit. Sometimes the pattern is so fabulous that it simply must be knit more than once. Sometimes it must be knit more than twice. Traveling Woman is one of those projects. I produced 3 of them this summer and see at least a few more on the horizon (distant, but the horizon nonetheless). Sandra at WMKG (Wednesday Morning Kntting Group) at Prairie Lily knit one in a DK weight, and now using even a nice worsted seems like a good idea.
Well. The sad truth is that sometimes knitting the same pattern multiple times results in only one finished project. I give you:
"Twisted Moss Cardigan" my ass
Backstory: A year or two ago, my best friend’s mother was knitting this sweater from a kit she’d ordered from Mary Maxim (yes, Mary Maxim is still around, and it’s not all drop-shouldered shapeless pullovers with moose pictures on the back), but was having trouble with the raglan fronts. (My first problem with the pattern was the name: There is no twisted moss anything in this pattern. Nothing twisted except some of the direction which I will get to in a moment.) She asked if I could help her out, so I took the fronts home, and re-knit them. The pattern stitch is simple enough as long as you can see what you’re doing, but using salt and pepper ragg yarn made this a bit of a challenge, especially when you are keeping track of decreases on both ends of the rows. Long story short, Alice finished the sweater, put it together, decided she didn’t like it and never wore it out of the house.
Fast forward to September of this year: I had copied (!) the pattern from Alice because the picture on the front perfectly fit in with my imaginary life; all coffee and relaxed in the window seat on a Saturday morning blah blah blah. (Don’t call the copyright police; I now own Alice’s original pattern). I found some yarn at Prairie Lily (20% wool, 80% acrylic- this sweater’s going in the washer and the dryer), and in an uncharacteristic fit of, oh, I don’t know what, I read the pattern and found that there were two pockets. I knit the pocket linings first- swatching, as it turned out- and discovered that while I could easily get stitch gauge, row gauge was way off. No biggie, I’ll just knit more rows.
Well. I know some people don’t like Patons patterns, but say what you will, at least they provide schematics so if you have to make adjustments, you have a benchmark. Mary Maxim? Not so much. I had to re-acquaint myself with my calculator, figure out exactly what dimensions Mary thought I should get assuming that my gauge was perfect, re-figure the raglan decreases, and hope for good things to happen. So, to summarize:
sweater back: knit the ribbing twice, because the first time I just did regular ribbing instead of the broken rib specified. Glad I did, because the broken rib is much nicer. Got to the end of the back, and realized that I would have to redo the raglan portion to get the length I needed. This adjustment is currently in progress.
Sleeves: Finished the sleeves, then had to redo one because I messed up the pattern right above the cuff, and then had to rip the other one out to redo the raglan top because I had split the wool in one spot and it stuck out like a sore thumb. (and I know from experience I would be pointing it out to everyone I met, so I just bit the bullet.) Had a brain drain at the top of the sleeves, where the pattern required 10 stitches to decrease to 5 stiches but I only had 9 stitches so in spite of the fact that it was 11 pm and I had had a glass or two of wine to fortify myself I was able to come up with a perfectly acceptable workaround. (going to be covered by the collar anyways.)
Fronts: Finished the fronts, had to rip out and redo one because of the same pattern issue that arose in the sleeves. Couldn’t figure out how the pattern accounted for the neckline decreases (don’t you hate it when you run out of stitches before you’re finished the decreases?) but realized that it all stemmed back to the row gauge issue, and that I would indeed be ripping out and reknitting the armhole decreases after another session with the calculator. aaarrrrggghhhh. This will be undertaken once the back is done.
The colour is a lot deeper and richer than my photography skills would indicate. Even with the acrylic predominating in the mix, it’s nice to work with (and a bit of a welcome change from the fingering and laceweight I’ve been using for the last several months).
So by my calculations, I have actually knit the sweater almost two complete times, and still haven’t assembled or done the front bands or the collar. I am not throwing the project against the wall, I am not trudging along in defeat; it is what it is and I am patting myself on the back and congratulating myself on a remarkable show of patience. As someone said (was it the Yarn Harlot?) I do not knit because I am patient, I am patient because I knit.
The lesson I am learning from all this is that if one can, one should attack this type of project whilst on a self-imposed knitting retreat. Buckeye is really lovely at this time of year.
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