It's always the same lesson, his Appalachian
childhood and mine: if we can't make it,
we have to do without; if we can make it,
then we have to accept corners slightly
out of square and lines almost level.
-Tim Skeen, Kentucky Swami
Another pre-knitting (and before blog) item I wanted to share with you was my Big Bow Cardigan (also known as my No Bow Cardigan). This cardigan graced the cover of the Fall 2009 issue of Interweave Crochet. I first found this issue at my boss's house towards the end of the summer. Now, this was after my "yarn discovery" so by this point, I was well aware of different yarns and ready to take on a new challenge. Up until last summer, I had only ever crocheted afghans. It never really occurred to me that I could use crochet to make something besides an afghan. So when I saw this pattern, my initial reaction was that it was pretty cute. But could I actually make it? I read through the pattern briefly and realized that it consisted of single crochet worked back and forth from one sleeve to the other. Perfect.
I went straight to the craft store that evening and bought eight skeins of Patons Wool. I was a bit unaware about yarn weights so I just sort of assumed it would fit the pattern and since I was also on Ravelry by this time, I had scoped out some of the other finished projects and many people also used Patons.
The pattern, although a little monotonous, worked up quickly. I decided I wanted to modify the pattern to have long sleeves and no bow. I worked on this project diligently for about two weeks. Finally, I was done. I wanted my first crocheted garment to be special. More special than any acrylic afghan I had ever crocheted. Like a real yarn crafter, I would block this piece. I bought some wool wash and filled up the bathroom sink. I followed the directions and after some time, squeezed the water gently from the garment. I rolled it up in a towel, pressed out the excess water and transported it to the other room. As I was laying it out to pin it in place, I noticed that it looked a bit weird. A bit apish, perhaps. I started measuring. It was at this point that I realized that the sleeves were way too long. After the cardigan had dried, I tried it on and sure enough: each sleeve was almost 8" too long!
This was the halfway point. I really should have already realized something was amiss.
You know that feeling when you've spent countless hours on a piece and suddenly realize that it is practically useless (unless of course you happen to know some bald monkey that could use a wool sweater)? Yeah, I had that feeling. Unfortunately I don't know any monkey's, hairy or bald. I knew I could rip back the one sleeve that had been finished last but the sleeve that I started with would have to be picked backwards. On top of all this, I would still need to seam the sides. I mean really? Would anyone else like to squeeze some lemon juice in my eye or maybe trip me on my way down the stairs? I couldn't even look at the stupid sweater. At one point I even thought about just throwing it all away. All my hopes for my first crocheted garment were shattered.
I fixed the easy sleeve and then let the project sit for about a month. Finally, something came over me. I wanted that sweater. I had decided to make it because I had actually wanted it. So I sat down and spent every free moment over the next few days picking the sleeve back one stinking single crochet at a time. After all this, I seamed it up and sewed on the buttons.
I'm really glad that I pushed on to fix the problems. I love how this turned out. I have been thinking I may still change the buttons before this winter comes but overall, I think my first crochet garment turned out awesome. A couple of things came up in this project:
- wool stretches
- single crochet ribbing stretches
- it is possible to undo a single crochet from the bottom.