The anticipation can end! We are finally going to talk about how I messed up the Stripes Gone Crazy pattern. Let’s be honest for a minute though, it IS a complicated pattern and I don’t use a whole lot of brain power on the best of days.
In the beginning, the shoulders are shaped by doing short rows. Now there are lots of ways to start a sweater and I think the designer thought for a minute ‘oh, now I am really going to screw with people’ then decided to do short row shoulders, or it could have been an aesthetic thing since the sweater is already so busy.
As I was knitting, I was trying not to look at what I was doing, or think about it too hard. Just following the pattern was enough to think about and, like I said, I’ve been lacking brain power. The lights are on but no one is home, so to speak. I had all the markers placed for the increases and was doing them the way the pattern specified, I followed the instructions to a T. When I actually started to look at it though, it didn’t look right; I checked my stitch count. I counted the total amount of stitches and I was bang-on. There was no room for mistakes because I counted them twice and then got Paul to count them twice. At this point I went to the section break down, the part where it tells you that you should have X amount of stitches in the front lapel and X in the arm. It turns out that I had the correct amount of stitches, just not in the right sections. The front and back were too large and the arms were too small. This was not the end of the world though, the stitches were all there, just not on the right side of the stitch markers. I hadn’t gotten to the neck shaping yet, so it didn’t REALLY matter where the increases were, as long as they weren’t so close together that they create a ruffled effect.
I got all my ducks in a row and started on the stripes, this was the easy part of the stripes, you just have to make two plain ones, no increasing or decreasing, just two stripes. I had no problems here, I actually added in two more because the pattern specified If you like your long sweaters, add another couple stripes here. I had no problems separating the arms either, it was the pattern that foiled me later on.
In the pattern there are quite a few lines that tell you to go back and repeat lines X through Z. You’re not exactly reading instructions so much as thinking ‘okay, now go back and do those lines too.’ While I was working on this cardigan, I was listening to a podcast and sitting at the kitchen table thinking about how awesome I was and how awesome this cardigan was. Then I realized my stripes looked a little bit smaller than the ones in the photo. I blew it off and thought they would get bigger as the pattern goes on, you know, like a gradient…. It’s not a gradient. Instead of repeating rows 1-10 I was switching colours and starting a new stripe.
Theoretically this could have worked, because I would just have to do the same thing for the rest of the sweater. I did not want to do that much thinking through the rest of the pattern though, it looks like it only gets more complicated. So I ripped out about four inches of sweater with short rows. Heartbreaking right?
I started again and I am back to where I would have been if I hadn’t needed to rip out all that knitting. I was working on it the other day and I was mentally grumbling to myself about having to rip out that knitting when I realized I had dropped a stitch. DROPPED A STITCH?! Doing short rows and colour work, I dropped a stitch. I sat there and stared at my knitting for a few minutes, then grabbed a crochet hook and brought the errant stitch to the top. Since there are so many short rows I had to hang my crochet hook off the knitting until I managed a row that would pass by that area and I could pick up the stitch.
I am not even done the sweater so let’s hope the last bit goes easy…. Even if it does look the hardest. I am sure I will be fine though, I just need some quiet time to work on the cardigan and maybe a glass of wine. Wait. Short rows in the cardigan…. Scratch the wine.
I told you the story about finding this pattern on Wednesday, and I have actually knit quite a bit of it. So far I have only had to frog it once, and I’ll let you know about that on a Monday Mishaps post. This pattern comes in a set of three, so I grabbed all of them.
The one I really wanted to knit was the cardigan with the asymmetrical stripes. Usually asymmetry doesn’t work well with my brain, but I was looking for something different, what could be more different than a cardigan worked from the top down with stripes that slowly widen on only one side?
I didn’t know this when I started but the stripes are made larger and smaller by doing short rows. Now my short rows are a little rusty, but I managed to make it work. Once I remembered how to do a short row invisibly.
There are a few tutorials on the pages about how to do short rows and a couple tips that would make it easier. I really liked that Atelier added in all these small boxes with legends and diagrams to help keep you on track. When you are widening the one side of the sweater, there is a small photo that shows you what it should be looking like; it even has the stitch markers you place visible. She also puts the break down of stitches in the pattern. I could not have asked for a more useful tool.
I am not really sure what happened, I much have been doing my increases on the wrong side of the markers, but at some point I got off track. I was able to count how many stitches should have been in the first front piece, sleeve, back, sleeve and second front. I was EXTREMELY lucky in the face that I didn’t mess up the total amount of stitches but just managed to move them around a little bit.
One thing I didn’t like about this sweater are the short rows for the increases for shoulders. To me, this feels a bit excessive and I would have preferred to do a raglan increase or something, but I do believe I am biased on this point. This is the place where I messed up my stitch count and had to shift the stitches; and my stitches could be more even in these places. I didn’t do the best job I could have so I am mad at that part of the pattern.
The pattern is very well organized and colour coded. There were a couple bumpy spots which I am going to email about, but I really found it great that there was a clear divide between the size instructions. There were parts where the instructions were together and there had to be slashes between the different amounts of stitches. I did really like that the patterns for XS, S and M were together on one pattern and L, XL and XXL were on a completely different pattern. I feel that if they were in the same sheet, it would have been excessively long. When you buy the pattern you get all the sizes, but they are in two separate files. The math for each size is different so each size needs its own dedicated section.
Otherwise, I think Atelier must be a math genius because everything works out just so. This is one of the few patterns I do not dare to change… at all. There was a section that said ‘to add some length or shorten, add or remove more rows’ so I definitely added rows. Most cardigans are a little short for my liking and I always add in a bit, I am not sure about this one though, I may have needed more. I will have to wait till I am done in order to see.
I don’t want to post a whole lot of photos about it because I want to post a good finished object photo! So everyone can get the full effect all at once!
My knitting mojo has been really on this past couple days. I managed to totally finish a couple projects and start a totally brand new one!
The first thing I finished was the Ombre Cardigan, I know all the knitting was done, but it still needed to be blocked and have the buttons sewn on. I had already put this off for far too long. I got right down to blocking it and kept working on my French Cancan shawl while it was blocking.
I reached the point in the project where you look at it and say ‘no, I am not going to put this down till it’s finished’ and I didn’t. I finished it while I had some friends over and they all took turns trying it on. One person commented that it seemed a little small, but I assured her it would totally change with blocking.
Unblocked the shawl felt a little stiff, not that it was like raman noodles or anything, but it held it shape really well and there was very good stitch definition. I did knit the boarder on this garment quite tightly, for me anyway. I knew once I blocked it the fabric would totally and completely relax. Since it was knit in super wash I threw it in the washer under the ‘wool’ setting and let it go. This is great for hand knits because the drum doesn’t turn at all. The water fills by trickling down the mirror and then the drum rocks slightly. It is even better than a hand wash cycle because it is programed specifically not to felt.Sure enough, when I brought the shawl out and pinned it to my bed for blocking, it was much more relaxed and pliable.
While the shawl was blocking, I picked up my Ombre again and sewed on the buttons. As you probably know by now, I always sew a button to the front and a button to the back. It helps even out the pull on the sweater from the buttons and then your knits don’t look like the buttons are straining to pop off the fabric. So I got to sew my lovely orange buttons to the front and some plain blue ones to the back.
Funnily enough, I was trolling Ravelry for a sweater pattern that I liked. It couldn’t be too classy because I wanted to put a stripe through it. It was going to be in really loud colours, so I started looking for something fun. I wasn’t having too much luck so I decided to give my friend Lindsay a shout out on Ravelry and see what she has been up to for the past few months. I am so glad I did, because in her return message she asked if I had seen this pattern for a cardigan. I went over to check it out and this pattern was the perfect one I was looking for! It had stripes, it was visually interesting and an intriguing knit. Bingo, jackpot, Eureka, home run. I love it.
I swatched and cast on the sweater on Friday, and I am making a fair headway. I am a little worried about the size, it looks really small. However I measured my gauge twice and it should be bang-on. I also measured the garment itself and compared it with another knit sweater, it is a little smaller, but the other one had been blocked and was a little big on me. I am very curious about how this is going to turn out.