Better… for now

It’s not that I’m super-picky, but I do like my finished objects to more or less resemble the pattern they were knitted from. (Okay, I am also super-picky…) The Mr Darcy was so far from where it was supposed to be that it bugged me and made me wince every time The Man wore it. (Despite this he insisted he loved it, even though it stretched nearly to thigh-length. Or possibly because of this…) Whether it was the Debbie Bliss Riva, or the seamless construction method, or the stitch pattern, or all of the above, I don’t know. But it was enough to make me take the wretched thing to task and rip it, rip it, rip it. (Not as fun as it sounds, because the Riva is quite ‘sticky’ and likes to stay where it’s been knit).

So after winding it all into large, fuzzy, kinked balls with little felted chunks falling off it everywhere, I started again. This time I stuck with a pattern I knew – the plain and simple chunky sweater from yarnforward.com. This was one of the first things I knitted The Man in 2009 and he still wears the pants off this one:

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There’s also been a purple iteration:

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and a variegated-grey one, of which we shall not speak because I accidentally felted it in the washing machine and it came out with no other future than to be a blanket for my mother’s cats.

So – the pattern seemed like a safe bet. I made it slightly longer than the pattern requires because he will pull his sweaters down all the time, but other than that I knitted the same size I’ve knit him before.

Reader, I f*cked up. For the last two years The Man has been doing weights on a regular basis, and while the older sweaters have stretched with him… this one? This new one, knit from yarn that I’d frogged from the other sweater I knit him?

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It’s too small. There’s every chance that I am going to have to knit this damn thing again.

Unsatisfactory. Do it again.

This is to do with a sweater that I knitted last winter for The Husband. The pattern’s from knitty.com; Mr Darcy is a lovely-looking plainish man-sweater.darcyBEAUTY

Husband won’t wear anything too fancy or patterned, so this moss stitch in a variegated yarn is about as much as I can get away with. SONY DSCThe yarn seemed fine too – Debbie Bliss’s Riva is reasonably priced, comes in some man-friendly colourways, and is warm.

However…

This is a very non-constructed sweater – ie it’s knitted in the round, you divide for the yokes to knit up to the neck and then the sleeves are picked-up and knitted down to the wrists. The only seam is the three-needle bound-off shoulders. And therein lies the rub. No seams makes for a seriously sloppy sweater in the Riva and I really wouldn’t use this yarn again for a project of this size. Because it’s knitted in the round there’s nothing to stop it stretching in any direction and it’s not only got rather longer but it looks pretty formless when it’s on. SONY DSCYou can see from the picture that it’s been pulled out into almost a skirt shape. I promise there’s no shaping doing that! The neck is supposed to be a short funnel-neck with a little roll but because the weight of the sweater pulls it all out it ends up as more of a boat-neck. I would use the pattern again but it’s actually pretty displeasing to me the way it is and if Him Indoors didn’t like it so much I’d probably pull it apart and reknit with seams. I’d take some of the length off too.

In a word. Unsatisfactory.

Winter warmer

Well, winter’s here and the Husband’s sweater is finally finished. (He didn’t know I was taking this picture, otherwise he wouldn’t be bending over the record player.)

Fortunately, given the amount of knitting time it took, he loves it. It’s a nice pattern but that amount of rib in a dk weight for any size of man was always going to take a long time and be a little tedious to knit.  What can I say, he likes plain sweaters. It’s Flint (Ravelry link), by Sublime Yarns in their Organic Merino DK. Which I would never normally be able to afford 15 balls of but I found it on ebay for half price. :happyface:

I didn’t have quite enough yarn for the full height funnel neck so it’s got a slightly abbreviated version – fine in this case because DH doesn’t like high necks but I can’t see how you’d get the whole thing out of the 15 balls of yarn specified. I wasn’t a metre or two short, I was about five cm of ribbing short.

The yarn is delightfully soft, cosy and comfortable, and a little fluffy (you can see a little halo around it). It’s also bobbling like crazy with even a moderate amount of wear.  Still, the main thing is he likes it!

Killing a sweater

Sometimes there are things that just never work out. Three years ago I knitted a sweater for the Husband that he loved – a plain stocking stitch baggy sweater with a roll collar – out of Sirdar Peru. So far so good.

Then I knitted another one out of Paton’s Eco Wool. It didn’t go right from the very beginning – I had a puddle a mile wide in the back that I frogged and reknit using alternate balls of yarn.

Still, it got finished and there it was, another sweater. But it never looked right, and although it got worn very dutifully, it was never what you might call popular. And secretly I must have really hated it, because I washed it yesterday, and although I would have sworn black and blue that it went on a cold wool wash, it came out of the washing machine this morning looking rather different:

Bear in mind that yesterday it was the same size as the red one. It might fit a child if the child didn’t mind not being able to move their arms all that much.

So that solves that one – the Sweater That Never Worked is now defunct. And I can stop feeling guilty about the 10 balls of Sirdar Peru in a lovely purple that I bought on ebay – now it’s going to be a replacement sweater! Anyone know what to do with a few square feet of felted wool? And does anyone want the remaining five balls of Paton’s Eco Wool??

Success!

Puddle duly diluted. It’s not gone altogether but it makes sense that if one ball fell into a certain pattern then two would fall into that pattern half as much.

Diluted puddle

Still not happy about the single-row stripes, but I think I may just have to live with it.

Puddle and blotch

The Husband’s new chunky sweater had been coming along nicely – Paton’s Eco Wool in chunky dark grey, a piece-of-cake pattern that I’d done before so could rattle through on auto-knit while watching a film… all good. Then this:

It puddled as soon as I started the decreases for the armholes. Then stopped once the decreases reduced to the point where the rhythm of the variegation matched the stitch number. I knitted through the puddle, reciting “it doesn’t matter, it’s part of the fun of knitting with variegated yarn”. But when I’d finished I just couldn’t bear it.  Also, if I’m being picky,you can see that where the variegation does happen around the central blotch, the stripes have become single-row rather than double, then gone back to double.

And so I ripped it back. There’s a method for stopping puddling (hopefully) – you knit with two different balls of yarn and alternate them, so I’m going to try that.