When I was little I remember my grandmother telling me about one of her sewing friends, Mary, who would look at my grandmother’s crocheting project, sit down with a crochet hook and yarn, and could reconstruct the piece by just looking at it. It drove my grandmother nuts because Mary could just look at something and reconstruct it without the crocheting instructions.
I also apply this method of trial and error to my quilting as well but usually in a scrap quilt. I will pull out a group of fabrics, find a block I like and start cutting and sewing then I lay it all out and start moving blocks around visually seeing how it will all come together.
So when I started the “Men’s Polo Sweater,” I literally thought that I had a pretty good plan. I read through the patterns instructions, made notes and thought about how to make this into a “knit in the round” sweater. I made a gauge swatch; I measured a sweater of The Shaker’s to make sure that I was on the right track of measurement; and then casted on. So technically, I didn’t just blindly cast on and hope for the best. I did go into the project with some idea of how it was going to turn out. But that is usually my method of construction.
I took techniques and guidance from knitting designers and applied them that to the sweater. But then I got stuck at the neck’s back shaping part. I didn’t understand what was written in the original directions for binding off some of the stitches that were closer to the armhole side of the shoulder and what was happening with the stiches as you worked closer to the neck opening part. I knew that I needed to bind off some of the stitches at the start of each row near the armhole for shaping purposes. I understood that part but I got frustrated with the stitches that were closer to the neck opening and how those directions were written. And then it was the reconstruction of the sleeve, where I thought: enough is enough; I am seriously in over my head!
When I started the project, I thought just keep knitting and see if it could turn out like the way I wanted it to. I will put in a series of lifelines and go from there. What’s the worst that could happen? I will just rip it out and start again. Where I went wrong was when I saw the pattern, I should have gone and found similar patterns and worked that way. But I fell in love with design and I just wanted that one! Another lesson learned: keep looking for the pattern that I truly want.
Olive and I originally met in a quilting group and she can tell you that I hardly ever ripped out and restarted a quilting project. When I spoke to Olive about The Shaker’s birthday sweater and I how I needed to restart it she said this to me (very gently, I must add): “That is it! No more ripping out unless it’s a true mistake.” She swears she doesn’t know anyone who has ripped and restarted a project as much as me! She might have a point ...
Here's how far I am on The Shaker's Mojo Sweater - past the armholes and onto the body - woo hoo!
The Martini Knitter