Now that I have a few projects under my belt, it's time to knit something for myself.
It started as innocently as that. And then I saw this Adrienne Vittadini ad in a magazine, and tracked down the pattern book at WEBS (www.yarn.com
). I found a gorgeous silk & cashmere yarn, horribly expensive, at the Black Sheep Knitting Co., in Needham, MA. So far, so good, right?
(By the way, if a certain sense of deja vu is setting in, you may have read about Grumperina's AV sweater nightmare at www.grumperina.com
. Read on, read on--just be warned that your sense of deja vu will only increase.)
Anyway. I did a swatch in stockinette stitch, and then I decided to start with a sleeve so I could see how the lace pattern looked. It looked great! So good, in fact, that I decided to block it and sew the seam so I could try it on. This was back in, oh, January 2005, before I started obsessively photographing every stage of a project (before I had a blog, in other words), so I will have to rely on words alone: the sleeve was long enough for an ape, and wide enough so that, instead of falling in a fluid line from shoulder to wrist, it wadded and wrinkled into something resembling an elephant's leg.
I conquered my disappointment by figuring I had learned an important lesson: openwork stitches expand after blocking!! Undaunted, I frogged and started over, this time decreasing the width of the sleeve by omitting a partial repeat on each side. Didn't take too long to reach the sleeve cap, but by the time I arrived there, I had realized that since I had changed the lace stitch repeat on the sleeves, I would now have to change the lace stitch repeat on the body so that the cables and eyelets would miter nicely at the raglan seams (see photo above). At the time this frankly seemed a little over my head, but I did some calculations and realized my raglan seams should work if I just centered the body lace on a cable instead of an eyelet panel.
So I finished the sleeve and started on the body. Here is a close-up of the end of the sleeve, and of the transition from stockinette stitch to lace on the front--which turned out to be my next problem. My relief at seeing that the lace patterns would meet properly at the raglan seams was short-lived, as I held the front up to my body and realized that the lace started precisely at nipple level--not very flattering, not a look I'm comfortable with. (Which is exactly how the sweater falls in the photo above--meaning the fact that I got so far before noticing this was entirely caused by my own carelessness. HATE THAT. Although in my own defense, the mannequin appears to have been constructed with only a faint suggestion of nipple--kind of misleading, really.)
With much profanity, I did more calculating, having realized that since the gauge of the lace and stockinette sections was different, moving the lace up my chest was not as simple as just working a few more rows of stockinette. Not only that, but I realized I was dissatisfied with the casual, tending-to-roll stockinette hem--the sweater seemed a little too dressy for that--so with a deep breath I frogged, and started the front over, this time adding a turning row for a more finished hem.
I got all the way to the end of the front and then thought the neck just seemed too high, so I backed it down a bit, and then knit the back and second sleeve without incident. Put it together, blocked it, and then--well, here it is. Does it seem a little, um, sacklike to you? BAGGY? I don't look much like Ms. Mannequin in it, do I. Only now did I realize that I had based the measurements on an UNBLOCKED swatch. $#^^&%^**#!!! In desperation, I actually wetted the thing (silk and cashmere, if you recall), and threw it in the DRYER. Alas, that only made it short and wide, and closed up the lace pattern. By the way, that slight fuzziness that is visible on the stockinette part started while I was knitting, and was NOT a result of the dryer--so if you don't like fuzzy sweaters, don't shell out $30 a skein for this yarn--or avoid stockinette stitch, as the lace sections look fine.
I did wear it once, out to dinner, and the thing was so awfully warm that I felt lightheaded. After a couple of glasses of wine I looked into the mirror behind the bar and watched the beads of sweat rolling down my bright red face. I couldn't wait to leave.
I wonder how many others out there have their own AV sweater nightmare....