A knitting Dud!

Oh well.

I’m not sure why I’m blogging about this, if not perhaps for some obsessive-compulsive need to tell myself off.

Enter the Agora Cardigan:

I was looking for a non-vintage looking cardi to go with my high waist selection of skirts and the Agora Cardigan was a lovely find on Ravelry. Also, back view:

I particularly liked how the ribbing is used to create an interesting detail in a way that won’t scare off a beginner. Fit wise, I’m almost satisfied. A bit on the short side, but definitely wearable considering the use I want to make of it. I could easily lengthen it but you will soon see why I won’t.

My face says it all, I believe!

This project embodies a series of “never again” or better but, lessons learnt.

  1. Take time to knit a sizable tension square.

Of course, I knit a tension sample. I was over the moon when I realized it matched exactly my patter, which meant I didn’t have to grapple with odd calculations to keep the ratio but I could simply quietly follow my instructions.However, getting the hang of knitting again my hands relaxed and my tension loosened up. Which leads up to the next lesson…

2. Check fit as you go

This all went well until I pretty much finished the cardigan, and had to acknowledge it was one full size too big. It looked really baggy and clumsy and I knew there and then I would have never worn it like that. As it’s seamlessly knit top to bottom I couldn’t take it in, I could only start over. I wasn’t beaten though, I still liked it and had plenty of this yarn to spare, as it was originally bought for an entirely different project and a good friend of mine liked it and tried it on. When we saw it was a perfect fit, I happily handed it over and started again. However:

3. Do today what you know you won’t be bothered to do tomorrow.

Did I mention all this happened in December 2015? In knitting take#2 my enthusiasm quickly extinguished. I had started work again and sewing as much as I could so I ended up missing the cold season and knitting this cardi to keep my hands busy while watching movies. I was slowly but inexorably falling out of love, also because…

4. Know your yarn.

I grew up in a very warm country with incredibly apprehensive adults who thought cold air drafts are silent killers. Any souther european will probably know the feeling: in balmy winters with averages around 12 degrees we children were covered in layers of wool (and absolutely forbidden to sweat, as sweat is silent killer #2 apparently). I was always, always itchy. As in my inexperienced mind all wools were itchy I jumped at the idea of having a 100% polyester yarn that would never make me itch. I was so sure it was a good idea that I ignored the squeaky feeling it gave me while knitting it.

5. The fit? Check it properly.

I know, it almost sounds like I’m repeating myself – but there isn’t enough stressing of this point. However this is a paramount task when making your own clothes. One that, stupidly enough, I often (too often) overlook. Carried away as I am by something I am making I throw it on as I go, look at all the good bits, ignore all the iffy areas and tell myself they’ll sort themselves out. You will have noticed in picture 2 how the button band pulls apart in between the buttons. The pattern did call for a lot of ease (5 to 10cm), which I promptly ignored in my second take, considering how bit my first one came out. As a result now I’m constantly tugging them close. I will try to sort them out with poppers or perhaps with ribbon, but I am extremely displeased with myself.

Last but not least, and I wont’t even number it because it’s a life lesson I should have learnt a long time before starting this project:

Listen to Mom.

Mom told me all this would happen: the poor yarn choice, the delay, the fitting issues… and I stubbornly marched ahead. Well, that’s how children learn it’s said… making their own mistakes.

Do you have anything you had to learn the hard way?


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