Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life

Look and see


There is a difference between “looking” and truly “seeing”.  What appears in your head as a translation of an image you are looking at may not necessarily be the reality of the situation.

When I started Olga, I saw a bulky sweater, with turtle neck and raglan sleeves.  There was a pretty cable bridging the raglan seam.  I saw that the sleeves were quite baggy on the model, but to me it looked like a case of small model in sweater too big for her.

Tonight, to my immense disappointment, I realised that I saw, but I did not see.  Halfway through the shaping for the armholes/bodice, I started to finger the rapidly reducing ball worriedly.  I looked at the length of the bodice, and wondered if I could really fit in another 40 rows of knitting…

I tried it on.

Hmm.  There is cause for concern.

It started when I was knitting the sleeves.  After I’d finished, I pulled the sleeve on to try, and realised that it was very wide.  Quite flappy under the arm actually.

However, logic told me that as the body was more fitting than it was meant to be, surely the sleeves would be right?  I decided to trust the pattern and press on.  Despite having to knit an extra 4″ of length on to the sleeves so that they were the right length.

However, the moment I put the sweater on, I knew something was not quite right. There was no way I could knit another 40 rows of decreasing given the length of the bodice was almost already complete.

I decided I’d do a rapid decrease at this point, and K1, K2tog all the way round and see if that fixed things.  To a certain extent, it did.  But those sleeves.  They were really.quite.huge and looked totally wrong in proportion to the rest of the sweater.  There was nothing I could do to fix it save to rip all the knitting out.  You can see how baggy the sleeves were in the photo.  My son giggled “Mum, you could put pockets in there!”  Nothing like the sting of truth to make one see reason!

I look a deep breath, poured myself a large glass of wine, and pulled.

It’s depressing to be within a hair’s breadth of finishing only to realise you’ve got it all wrong.  Sigh.

I put the knitting away and decided that the best thing to do was to cuddle the cat.

How could things have gone so wrong?  Why was the pattern not working out?

I went back to the photo of the pattern.  If you look closely, you will see that the sleeves are incredibly baggy, and start somewhere near the waist.

To my knitter’s eye, this did not compute.  Sleeves do not start at the waist.  Sleeves are never that baggy.  Also, I looked at the number of cables on the sweater – I can see about six twists.  The cables are twisted every six rows.  Six cables x every six rows = only 36 rows.   To my mind’s eye, this was meant to be a normal raglan sleeve.  Not some flappy, 80’ish version…  Hence the conclusion of sweater being too big for model.  The schematic didn’t really help to clarify things either.

If you read the instructions though, and knit exactly as stated, it seems to me that you will end up with a sweater that is essentially batwing in construction.  This is where the missing 4″ went from the body and sleeves – it was all knit into the bodice! Only I’ve been fiddling it all along to make it look the way I thought it was meant to look and ending up with the wrong proportions.

I’m rather annoyed with myself.  I wanted a normal chunky sweater with normal (aka 2012’ish) sleeves and a decent body length.  I just happened to choose the wrong pattern.

I’m going to go ahead and reknit this to suit me.  I love the yarn, I love the colour, and I still like the picture in my head.   But it’s not going to be at all like what you see in the pattern!


Author: kiwiyarns

Welcome to my blog where I talk about knitting in New Zealand and the beautiful yarns you can find here.

19 thoughts on “Look and see

  1. What a shame after all that work!! I always find doing my own thing works best with frequent measuring or trying on if possible. I’m sure you’ll be happy in the end – in the meantime keep stroking the cat ….!
    Bimbi x

    • Thanks! Cat therapy always works when knitting fails. 😉 You are right – I am confident I’ll get the sweater I want. Flushing a couple of day’s work is worth it if it means a good end result.

  2. Love your article – have had many experiences of pulling out especially as I knit with circular needles!!!!

  3. Bummer! I’m sorry about all that hard work you did just to get to this point. Hopefully the next version will be more to your liking! Keep that glass of wine and the cat close by! You can do it 🙂

  4. Oh so sorry you had to rip so much out…but you’ll make a sweater that you can be happy with now…and very pretty yarn!

  5. What a pain! Thank goodness that yarn looks like it knits up pretty quickly…
    I do this too – in my head it is all perfect, just not quite reality 🙂

  6. If you have Zimmerman’s Knitters Almanac, December has a Hurry up Last Minute Sweater, which is a similar construction, though without the cables, but you could add them in.

  7. I know what it’s like to have to unravel your knitting when you’ve already done a lot of it so I feel for you. Hope the wine made things easier!

  8. I’m sorry that you wasted all that time and energy, sometimes it’s easier to design your own garment than to knit by an existing pattern…

    • I agree. I just get a bit sick of doing my own thing all the time – it’s nice to follow someone else’s instructions for a change (assuming they’re right!)

  9. I like what Bimbi pea wrote. 🙂 And what you wrote. I realize this won’t diminish the sick feeling while frogging something you had high hopes for, but it does help those of us out here who don’t knit anywhere near as masterfully as you do to remember it doesn’t always go the way we plan. Frogging and tinking happen. And then something better happens (hopefully!). 🙂 Thank you for sharing this with us, Wei Siew. Looking forward to seeing Your beautiful green sweater.

  10. Apparently the big jerseys are coming back, shudder. Sometimes unfortunately you just have to bite the bullet and undo, at least you didn’t finish it completely before making the decision. Good to know that this time it will match the one in your head too.

  11. Oh that sucks! At least it wont be a big fat elephant in your cupboard, good for you for ripping it back and yes cuddling the cat is a good cure all 🙂

    • The danger of just ‘finishing’ it is always so tempting. But I knew if I did that, it would turn into the elephant you describe! And that would never do – I actually want to wear this lovely, cuddly wool.

  12. Such a shame! The body of the sweater was looking pretty good though from what I can see, it was just the sleeves. The yarn looks absolutely divine, and I’m sure with your know-how and skills you’ll be able to whip something up in no time! Best of luck 🙂

  13. Now that you point it out
    they are batwing sleeves – again, from sometime in the distant past.
    What a bummer.
    However, it’s only yarn ~ ~ ~ spun to be frogged once in a while
    p.s. Hubby helped me frog my Gemini Pullover yesterday. It was waaay toooo wide.
    oh, well, it’s only yarn
    fingers crossed for your next endeavor

  14. Oh my – we’ve all been there, haven’t we? Nothing like a deep breath, a glass of wine and a pet to make it all better!