The Impatient Knitter

Does anyone remember this satanic evilness? It is the long-ago abandoned Moonlight Sonata Shawl project in Fleece Artist Goldiehair and it has now to my deepest relief, been frogged and repurposed for an alternative project.

I have been trying to design some patterns recently and after a few false starts, some really bad maths, lots of crossed out and re-written notes, several scribbly charts, a lot of ripping-out and some serious neck-ache, I need a break from all the fannyarsing around that designing requires. Knitwear designers? Respect. One day maybe I can count myself amongst you, but it is not on this day!!

After binding off a project that’s taken me ages to do, I was in the mood to immediately get something else onto my needles. I specifically wasn’t in the mood for thinking too hard about exactly what. And I really, really, really wasn’t in the mood to swatch for gauge.

After a very focussed search for something quite fitted yet plain and with the smallest possible amount of seaming, I discovered the chic knits website and this understated and brilliant Ribbed Pullover thereon. The pattern is perfect for my purposes; it is simple but elegant, offers a range of neckline options and will provide me with a warm and neatly constructed sweater. I do not have to do any calculations in order to make this garment as someone else has done that all already for me (hurrah!) and I do not have to agonise over yarn choices because I already have the yarn (double hurrah!)

So I spent a few happy hours going round and round the 176 stitches I had cast on after a very cursory glance over the pattern. I should say at this point that I always take full responsibility for the consquences of my own foolishness; you will never ever find me emailing a pattern designer to give them a hard time viz: my inability to count, to read properly or to consult any pattern with the due respect and attention it deserves: I know how bad I am. So it is entirely my fault that I started the sweater in the smallest size. Cheerfully convincing myself that if it doesn’t fit I will just have to lose more weight, I continued until sense kicked in and I realised I really ought to check out the size before going ahead. Especially since Fleece Artist Goldiehair is impossible to rip out.

I decided to put the whole thing onto a bit of waste yarn and try it on over my head, around the biggest part of my hips, which is where this first ribbing section will ultimately fit.

Luckily, when I tried the first inch of ribbing on in this way, it seems to fit well even over a dress and a t-shirt. I want this sweater to be wearable either over a thin layer or right next to my skin as a super warm underlayer… and I want it to cling to me and not be loose. Thus I think it is OK that that at this stage it seems to hug to me nicely, like a glove. The cast-on row is a little tight; I am aware of it being pulled tight when I wear it and it has no further stretch. Has anyone else ever had this with a long-tail cast on at the bottom of a sweater? Will it drive me insane? Should I throw this section of knitting away and start again with a better style of cast on or in anyone else’s opinion will the tight cast on row cease to irritate me once the rest of the knitted wonderment is completed?

I am extremely happy to have knit an inch into this sweater and to have checked that it will fit, without having to actually make a gauge swatch. This joy will immediately dissipate if I discover that in fact the whole project is doomed by the tight cast-on row. But my glee is generally quite a resilient resource, so please pipe up if you think I should rip the whole thing out and I will seize it from my needles and fling it onto the fire.

That’s right: I said fire. In other happy news, we got the chimney swept today and I have spent the afternoon warmed by logs we cut last summer. An open fire is a truly wonderful thing.

Joey totally agrees.

I think I need to drink less tea… and knit more sweater.

Happy times.

Thanks for comments on posters; I think I will work on some new designs based on clean-lines, a bold use of colour, and great typefaces.

8 Responses to The Impatient Knitter

  1. colleen says:

    Unable to comment on the technicalities of knitting, but certainly with you on the open fire. I’m really impressed that you have had your chimney swept – mine has not been done for years. Must get round to it.

  2. Felix says:

    Well we had no idea when it was last done and the idea of setting fire to the flue was a bit much!

  3. Susan says:

    I know that you want your sweater to fit snugly, but all the same, I’d say you may want to to try ripping it out. My experience has been that things that don’t quite fit around the hips will adjust themselves to where they do fit: upwards to the waist. That tends to leave, for me at least, a cold drafty gap.

    Sometimes it’s possible to pull out very fuzzy knitting if you’re really careful and patient about it. If I were you, I think I’d start the sweater again with un-knitted yarn, and leave the ribbing as is. If you need it for the very end of the sweater, you can work on raveling it. If not, well, consider that yarn a loss?

  4. Felix says:

    Hi Susan, thanks for the tips. I weighed it up and decided that, now I’m 4″ into the sweater, I will keep on going with it. The cast on is the only bit that is a bit tight; the actual ribbing is good.

    I do really like your suggestion, though, for casting on again and starting afresh from a second ball…


  5. Kirsty says:

    “Cheerfully convincing myself that if it doesn’t fit I will just have to lose more weight, I continued until sense kicked in and I realised I really ought to check out the size before going ahead.”

    Ha, never underestimate the capacity for us knitters to seriously delude ourselves!

    The longtail cast on will remain tight so your options are a) rip out now and restart with a looser cast-on or b) knit the whole thing and hope that you won’t be irritated by the tightness or c) knit the whole thing, laboriously unpick the cast on, pick up your stitches upside down and then cast off.

    The longtail cast-on is always a fairly tight cast-on but it’s a good neat one that I like a lot (until I discovered the online knitting community, it was the only one I even knew). In future, you can balance out the tightness by casting on with larger needles than you’re going to use for your actual piece.

  6. lara says:

    I’m an also often a deeply impatient knitter – gauge swatching often irriates me greatly but I do think it is worth doing if you are going to invest a lot of timing knitting something. I find it amazing that a jumper is an instant gratification project for you but seeing the amazing jumper I know why!! (Also I think I might give up with the frigging moonlight sonata thingy – I’m not sure i still love the pattern any more!! After all that quest for the “right” yarn…

  7. Felix says:

    Thanks everyone for all the advice and input on the tight cast on row! Impatience has transformed itself into great enthusiasm and the jumper is now up to my waist, with some darts and shaping added into the pattern.

    The tight cast on row is not the giant problem it seemed after about 20 rows; now it is simply a firm edge to what is otherwise a very well fitting sweater.

    I am loving this knit very much and will post on my mods and thoughts soon.


  8. Pingback: The Domestic Soundscape » Blog Archive » The Summer Wardrobe/what to knit?

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