Stalled

For a while I was steaming along on my newest project, Sparkling.  I managed to finish the back and knit both fronts:

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And then I got stalled.  There are a number of reasons for this.  First, as I reported before, I am having troubles with my shoulders and back and this has meant less knitting.  I have a great physiotherapist and have started pilates as well and I hope to get that problem sorted soon.

The second problem is with the project itself.  I talk a lot in here about how important it is to knit to your measurements and not blindly follow the pattern.  Also, about the importance of knitting a swatch and then (perhaps even more importantly) paying attention to what the swatch is telling you.  I should perhaps practice as I preach: I kept merrily knitting away on this, even though I had a few niggling doubts.

My swatch clearly gave me a gauge of 23 x 48 in the bubble stitch.  The pattern calls for a gauge of 23 x 52-60 (yes, that’s what it says!).  There must be a great deal of variation in how much the bubble stitch compresses the row gauge between knitters.  Anyway, I didn’t think about the row gauge as I made the decreases for the arms and for the V-neck, and that affects the slope.  It also means that the armscythes are quite deep as I was counting rows rather than inches; they are a good 9.5″ deep unblocked.

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If the only problem was that the armscythes were too deep, I could just pull out a few rows at the top of each piece (because this is knit bottom-up).  However, I am also worried that there are too many stitches decreased at the arms and at too long a slope.  Just look at the above photo: it doesn’t look right to me.  The shoulder is too narrow and the armhole keeps getting wider and wider.  The annoying thing is that this was bothering me the whole time I was knitting, and yet I never stopped to think things through.  Also, I never went back and checked the pattern or the photos.  I realise now that in my head the sleeve was shaped a bit differently than in the pattern photo (for one thing I thought it had wide ¾ sleeves) and so I was ignoring the voice in my head because I also had a false picture of the sweater to go with it.

So, the question now is: what to do?  Do I painfully rip back to the beginning of the armholes and re-knit the top portions, or do I blaze on ahead and put my faith in blocking?  Or do I just rip back a few rows to adjust the length of the armscythe and not worry about the width of the shoulder?  Also, do I knit the sleeves as written, or do I go with the picture in my head?  I started one sleeve but it feels pretty narrow, so maybe a re-think is in order in any case.  Until I decide I am stalled.

I must say that the situation isn’t as bad as it sounds.  It could still be that it is just my head messing with me.  What I need to do is take out my tape measure and carefully make measurements and spend some time thinking about the shape and construction of the sleeves and armscythes.  I plan to pull out Shirley Paden’s book Knitwear Design Workshop, and look at her algorithms for sleeve and armhole shapings and then make some comparisons.  This takes concentration, however, and I have been more in the knitting-blindly-along and not in the think-about-what-you-are-doing mode of knitting lately.

Regardless of what I decide, I must say that this fabric is gorgeous!  I just love it!  It is so light and fluffy, and it has great texture.  I love both the inside and the outside of the fabric (you can see both in this close-up of the v-neck shaping):

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I am having trouble with WordPress today, and with my laptop as well.  I have now written this post at least 5 times, and used three different browsers and two laptops.  I am ready to throw my hands up in the air about now and declare defeat.  Clearly my knitting is not the only thing that has stalled.

I hope that your knitting (and everything else) is not stalled and that you are enjoying a peaceful Sunday!

16 thoughts on “Stalled

  1. I guess it depends on how perfect you want this to be. You already seem to be unhappy with how it’s progressed. Will you be any happier after blocking it? How easy is it to rip back or how does the yarn react to this? Ripping back after blocking, if that doesn’t fix it, could be worse. I remember ripping back a crochet shawl a full block of the pattern as I had gone wrong and it was then skewed. Annoying as it is, I was glad I did, so I could be pleased with the end product. Don’t know if this helps, but I hope you find the solution that works for you.

  2. My condolences! I know just how you feel. As I look at the pattern on Ravelry, the shoulders seem wider than yours so it would seem as if something has gone awry. (The armholes maybe?). I would put it aside for a day or so and pick it up again with fresh eyes and a clearer mind. Perhaps the pattern is not written correctly, and it’s not your mistake after all. It’s worth getting it right though and it’s always worth undoing and re-doing it as long as the yarn can handle it. My 2 cents….

    • I need to pin the pieces together and try it on and examine it dispassionately. As you say, I think the problem is too many stitches decreased for the armholes. In the meantime, I have picked up something else while my head clears. Thanks for your 2 cents!

  3. Ultimately, if you don’t like the way it looks/fits, you won’t wear it and then you will have spent time and $$ for naught. I hate ripping back but it seems every piece I have knit in the past several years had required 1-4 re-dos. I hated doing it but knew if the piece looked wonky, it would never be worn. Right now I’m redoing the back of a tank with 4 columns of eyelets – all of a sudden I noticed the center section growing wider!! Somehow for MANY rows I YO’d but didn’t k2tg!!! 😕

    • I did this earlier this summer with a shawl with long columns of eyelets. I somehow skewed a column by a stitch and didn’t notice it until I had knit a good 8 inches (of laceweight). I spent a whole ferry ride ripping it out. My sympathies!

  4. I so identify with what you’ve written! Sometimes your brain just doesn’t engage. I have just finished Erika Knight’s Amalfi in her Studio Line as a birthday present for my daughter. It’s intended to be over-sized and the smallest size should measure 50ins. Feeling that with that amount of slack I didn’t need to worry too much about tension I just dived in. If I had read more carefully I would have seen that a tension of 18 sts to 10cms was very unlikely with a fine yarn like Studio Linen – I was getting 22 sts to 10cms so have ended up with a jumper nowhere near 50 ins and needing significant alterations to the sleeves as a consequence. I know the theory of tension but would have needed 5mm needles to achieve it in this case and an unattractively loose fabric as a result. I wish you all luck with your armholes but they definitely look loose!

  5. I hate it when this sort of thing happens, especially when I realize I’m in trouble and keep knitting anyway. I know I would rip all the way back and redo the entire arm hole with counts adjusted to use my row gauge, mainly because I wouldn’t want to actually construct it and then find out it didn’t fit. Have you tried it on?

    My mantra whenever I have to rip something out is to remember that I love to knit and I just made more knitting for myself! 😉

    • It is knit in pieces, but I will pin it and try it on. I will undoubtedly decide to do a bit of ripping. What a great mantra! And if you are knitting the same yarn twice, you are getting more knitting for the same cost!

      • Twice the knitting for one price is one of the few consolations the unraveling a project. Good luck with yours. Can’t wait to see how it turns out.

  6. Oh yes, those niggling doubts that you don’t listen to until it’s too late… Tell me about it. I think you’re wise to take it slow, better ripping and starting again than end up with something that does not fit. Especially with such a lovely fabric, it would be a shame.
    I was stalled for a while on my latest project, not sure why as there was problem, but I decided to start a new one for my summer vacation. I started a Flora cardi in red laceweight yarn, it is bottom up with two small lace panels on each side, enough to keep me interested and work through the long stockinette rows.
    Pilates is great for the entire body, you will soon notice more flexibility overall, it takes a few sessions to really get the hang of it but after that, it’s great.

  7. I think when you get stalled, you need variety. I have picked up something else and it has given me a bit of a kickstart. There are a number of cardigans called Flora, but I am guessing you are knitting the one by Carrie Bostock Hoge? It is a beautiful summer cardi and will be brilliant in red!

  8. Hi Kelly! It’s a few days on since you published this post, so I really hope that you have been able to settle in your mind how to move forward. It looks like a gorgeous fabric, but perhaps too warm for me to wear as a cardigan. I am tempted to get the pattern anyway and make a stole using the stitch pattern – I have quite a lot of mohair in my stash which it would be great to use up!

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