Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Knitting Lessons

Dear readers, have I ever told you about My First UFO (she asked for rhetorical flair, knowing full well that she hadn't)?

My First UFO has been haunting me since 2002. It was my first attempt at a sweater, the To Dye For pattern from SnB. I loved the shape, and I thought at the time that mohair was soft and fluffy. Little did I know.

Here's To Dye For today:

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Would you like to know why it isn't finished? Well, for one thing, it turns out that I HATE mohair. HATE YOU MOHAIR. Mohair is itchy as hell and it sheds like a mofo--working on this sweater gave me a rash on my (really quite sensitive) inner forearms and made me look like I'd been holding an extremely sheddy black cat in my lap for hours (bodes well for the wearing, no?). So there's that. But the real problem was with the structure of the sweater.

I was so excited when I started knitting this sweater, because, thought I, I can make it extra long! So it will fit my freakishly tall self! Yay! So I charged right ahead, and, rather than doing Knitting Math, just started knitting extra rows here and there, not really keeping track of what I was doing, and, of course, ended up with a front and a back that aren't really the same shape, and the waist shaping is, like, down at my hips, and the armpits are, shall we say, a bit short. But of course I didn't really notice any of that until I sewed together the front and back, because back then I didn't know about pinning stuff together to see how it looked before you sewed it and, well, you pick mattress stitch out of black mohair. Go ahead--I dare you.

But here's the other thing--I blithely made the medium size sweater, but decided that I should make the XL size arms, so that they wouldn't be too small around. You know what happened, right?

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Yeah. The sleeve cap is, like, three inches wider than the armscye. Why? Because I DID NOT STOP AND THINK IT THROUGH. GAH.

I'm done shouting now.

So, what lessons have I taken away from this particular UFO?
  1. Mohair sucks. (Which--ok. To be fair to mohair, maybe only this paticular mohair--the Victorian Brushed Mohair from Halcyon Yarns--sucks. Maybe other mohairs don't suck. But I doubt it.)
  2. Do Knitting Math before you knit, and make row additions proportional throughout the sweater.
  3. Remember that even though you knit the sweater in 4 parts, it's really just one garment, and the parts all have to fit together eventually.
So why, dear readers, am I telling you all this now? Tune in tomorrow--I really don't feel like I am able to talk about it right now without bashing my head repeatedly.


Anonymous Sydney said...

That sweater was my first successful sweater. By successful, I mean that it actually looks okay, although I had to frog the entire thing and reknit it because I made it way too big the first time. But I don't wear it very often because 1) as you pointed out, mohair sheds like crazy, 2) the acrylic-mohair blend I used is actually quite warm, but the sweater's all light and airy, so it works neither as a cold weather nor as a warm weather sweater, and 3) the damn bell sleeves are incredibly annoying. I sized them down when I reknit the sweater, but they're still a pain in the ass. But it does look kind of cool when I wear it. And it was the fastest sweater I've ever knit. So that's my mostly irrelevant two cents. Good luck with those sleeves.

5/04/2005 1:08 AM  
Anonymous Shelby said...

Oh yeah - Victorian Brushed Mohair sucks big time! The only thing that I think it is good for is making funky colored doll hair (don't ask... okay you can ask just remember that I warned you).
I'm quite curious to see what is coming...

5/04/2005 8:33 AM  
Anonymous Cordelia said...

I'm thinkin' another un-planned-out mohair sweater. No, right; not mohair. Maybe just un-planned-out?
I still love that quilt...

5/04/2005 10:17 AM  

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