I almost knit a sweater in a month

I started NaKniSweMo (a web-based effort to get lots of knitters to knit a sweater in the month of November) and I ran into all the snags (no pun intended). The pattern I chose was the Fitted Cardigan from Louise Harding’s Modern Classics. The delicious tweedy grey yarn I had chosen knit up to guage but when I started knitting, the size I had chosen was monumentally too large. How is that possible?

After reknitting the first couple inches of the back several times trying to get it to knit to size at the specified gauge, I finally pulled a sweater from my shelf that fit me well and laid it out and measured it. Hmmm…. so if this yarn knits to five-stitches-to-the-inch and the well-fitting sweater in my closet is 20 inches across at the widest spot, I should be casting on no more than 100 stitches, not 111. I took the too wide couple inches and laid it behind the proper fitting sweater and counted how many excess stitches I had — closer to 20 stitches extra (it was damned wide!) so I settled on casting on only a mere 91 stitches (which was labelled in the pattern as the 34″ size) and hoped it would work. Every few inches, I would hold it up to myself and pray it would fit. As you can tell from the photo, it did.

But you might be wondering, if I worked out all the sizing and gauge issues how come she couldn’t finish it in 30 days? Well, I came down with a nasty cold over Thanksgiving. So much so, that by the time I got home I was out for three days – flat on my back. Then I had to get back to work, still sick, which left me a shell when I got home. I would eat and sleep and work and that was it. Too tired to knit? Hard to believe, but its true. I watched as the calendar flipped to December and I was still a sleeve away from completion.

Then, I ran out of yarn. Was this project cursed?

I scampered back to the LYS where I had purchased the original balls just weeks before thinking surely they would have more. Nope. They suggested I try ebay. Ebay? I’d have to wait days, maybe even weeks to get some and there was no telling what dye lot I would get. I called another shop, five minutes before they were about to close and asked if they had what I needed. They did and I said, “I’ll be there first thing in the morning!” While I slept with dreams of finishing the last sleeve and seaming the sweater up bouding around in my head, the sky dumped several inches of snow on our fair city. Fates, what did I do to offend you?!?!

By mid-afternoon, I had convinced Bob it was safe to trek across town but his parents were due in for a visit and that would leave me no time to knit until Monday. We raced across town and I secured two precious balls, the right color and in the same dye lot! With the yarn safely stashed – enough to finish the sleeve and do all the seaming with plenty left over I resolved myself that I would be ready and rarin’ to go once the visiting was done.By mid-week, I got the sleeves done and followed the instructions to steam block the sweater and seam the shoulders together before adding the button band and neck finishing. Okay…? I seamed up the shoulders and started on the button band. There was a lot to seam up. No one ever warns you that a cardigan requires a lot of finishing. It was starting to wear down my resolve.

I needed moral support so I packed everything up and headed to my favorite LYS MisKnits for some company and morale boosting. Amber provided that in spades, made me coffee and even helped me seam up a sleeve. Four hours of chit chat and entertainment and I had everything done but the buttons.

Saturday, I bought buttons and Sunday morning I sat in bed while Bob read and sewed on the buttons, some more than once as my aim was sketchy at best. But finally, lo and behold, it was finished! My first cardigan and it fits perfectly, loose but shapely in a warm, soft (not scratchy) wool/silk/cashmere blend and its mine. All mine! I don’t think I’ll take it until May.


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