Warning: this is long and picture-heavy.
Well, it keeps me humble, huh? I just finished what I thought was a lovely FO -- Rona -- and thought I was pretty hot stuff. "Hey," I thought, "I can do lace! And lots of it! And in a circle! Go me! I can do anything!"
Um, yeah. Not so much.
1. This is an oldie bot goody. The Sweet Mary-Jane, the pattern for which is now off the Knitpicks website. I swatched and everything, and decided that the medium size would fit me well. I cast on, and dilligently knit about, oh, six inches. It was coming out quite pretty!
Then something possessed me to take it off the needles and measure it.
See that? That's the body of the cardigan folded over. That's 22 inches, you're reading it right. That means that I'd end up with a 44 inch chest to fit my 36 inch frame. And ease is good and all, but not THAT much!
I wanted to cast on for a smaller size, but lost the pattern, so, instead, this became the Mystery Stole 3 stole. More on that later, but it's going much better. The yarn, btw, is Knitpicks Shadow in Lost Lake, a really gorgeous mossy green.
But that's not why we're here. We're here to talk about FAILURES, so let's move onto
2. I've been dying to make the Rambling Rose Cardigan by Laura Zukaite (scroll down). I even had the what I thought was perfect yarn for it -- Paton's Classic Merino in Regency for the background and Petal Pink for the lacy parts. I swatched, carelessly (in my defense, what do I ever make that requires precise swatching? Not shawls. Not socks, really, especially since I know the yarns I work with now. Not baby things, since I knit loosely and the babe WILL eventually grow into them. And definitely not toys.), and discovered that my gauge was a bit loose -- 16 st/4in rather than the 18 (I think?) called for in the pattern.
Not to worry. I sat down and cranked out the chest measurements that my gauge would give, and decided that the resulting 36 inches (I think) would fit me better than the 30 inch chest the pattern was written for. So I boldly cast on, omitting the shell pattern which, I think, really detracts from the crisp lines of the cardigan. And, of course, I was knitting the back and fronts in one piece.
Everything was going great -- I was even digging the way the variegated yarn was working out for the pattern -- and then I remembered that my waist is NOT 36 inches, and the cardigan had no shaping. And part of why I loved this pattern was the sleek fit. So I decided to give the pattern some shaping. By just throwing in some decreases:
See that buckling? Yeah. I could fix that by placing the decreases differently, but that would make the lace panels all wonky. Maybe if I made it tight enough, the stretch would even the lace out, but I'm not sure I want to knit an entire cardigan only to find out I hate it, so I think this will get put aside.
On the positive, though, I love intarsia. The way it creates a seamless, tidy fabric from two colors is just magical to me.
But I do not love this about intarsia -- the tangles.
Now that we're back on a sour note, let's continue with
3. Having found the thorns of the Rambling Rose (har, har...), and having danced my last dance with Mary Jane (har...har...), I scrambled around looking for any sweater (because I HAD to make an adult sweater, dangit) pattern I could find, and stumbled across Lucky wrap cardigan from Stitch'n'Bitch Nation. Perfect, thought I. I even have the yarn for it -- the Aunt Lydia's Fashion Crochet thread in Natural, that I got last year with birthday money. I had 8 skeins of it, and have worked with it before, and thought it would work nicely.
I went back to the original gauge I made back in January and measured it, and with size 3 needles, as the pattern called for, got dead-on gauge. Dead. On. So I cast on for the small size in the car on our way to Cleveland. That seemed too big, so I frogged and restarted with the XS. By the time I finished the back during the ride back, however, it was obvious that it was too big and too loose.
Yes, I know, I know. Always swatch meticulously. Lesson learned. You got me.
This one has a happier ending than the rest, though (although the Mystery Stole is quite happy, too), since I discovered that I get great gauge with size 2 needles, and the fabric looks much better:
The old back is on the left, the newly reworked front is on the right.
I'm still making the XS size, because it is a little bit too loose still. It measures like it would fit so far. I have, so far, made the fronts and started the back. I'm hopeful.
A note on the pattern: it's going smoothly so far. I altered shaping to account for my different row gauge, but that's it. It's also not as boring as I feared -- there's enough going on in there to keep me interested. The cotton is a bit hard to knit, though.
And now, of course, the positive: the Mystery Stole. Please forgive the poor pictures--it's an awful color to photograph, and it was already dark out.
I'm having so much fun with this! I've never done a KAL before, and was reluctant to join this one. I only joined because I figured, hey, free shawl pattern. Then I saw everyone's pictures! And then I went back and looked at Melanie's other patterns, and they are just gorgeous! So I had to start right away, and, despite being a week behind, finished both clues in one weekend. I'm so hooked! I hate having to wait until Friday for the next set of directions, but I love reading the chart and seeing this nifty pattern emerge.
(BTW, I've found a good way of keeping my place in the pattern. I took a four-pack of hi-liters and went through and colored every other row with a different color. That way, I know I'm following just the yellow, and my eyes don't wander all over the place, losing my spot. And I've found that knitting the chart for the right side backwards works better for me than reading the right side chart and then the left side chart. Which is nice, because I don't have to worry about piecing together the two sides. Someone warn me, though, when it stops being symmetrical.)
And, FINALLY: Happy anniversary to the most wonderful man in the world. I love you so much, Darling.