Featherweight: The Sweater of Nope

Let us discuss disappointment.

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Because that’s what this cardigan is: a disappointment. It doesn’t necessarily look disappointing in the photos, but I won’t wear it. I shoved it in a closet after I took these photos and it will stay there until it gets shoved in the next donation box.

Featherweight Cardigan

This is Hannah Fettig’s Featherweight pattern, but it’s the version of the pattern made using CustomFit. I made the original version of Featherweight several years ago but didn’t like the end result—it was too short in the body, it slipped off my shoulders, and I didn’t really like the fabric that resulted from knitting a lace-weight yarn at a really open gauge. I thought that a version of the cardigan with set-in sleeves and knit at a tighter gauge might work out better for me. Plus, I figured it was a good opportunity to try out CustomFit.

Featherweight Cardigan

You can see some of the problems with the sweater in these photos. The neckband ripples and doesn’t want to lay correctly. The sleeves grew too long during blocking. And there is a strange bubble at the front of both sleeves at the armscye. I’m frankly not sure what’s causing the bubble, although I’m pretty confident that it has nothing to do with seaming (especially since it occurs at the same point on both sleeves). It could be that the shape of the sleeve cap in the pattern doesn’t work for me. Or it could also be related to the yarn growing during blocking (I used a wool/silk blend). I’m thinking this last one is the most likely explanation.

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Those issues probably wouldn’t be enough to stop me from wearing this if I really liked it, but I’ve decided I’m just not that big a fan of the open cardigan. I always wear my cardigans open, but I don’t like these cardigans where the fronts aren’t designed to meet. Plus, I feel like the shoulders on this cardigan have been made so narrow (to accommodate the ribbed neckband) that there isn’t enough to anchor the cardigan to the body, even with a seamed shoulder. And this is really the biggest reason that I won’t be wearing this cardigan—because this is what it looked like after I put it on and walked down the stairs and out the door of my apartment:

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NOPE.

As far as using CustomFit for the first time goes, I’m pretty pleased with the results. Particularly since I’m leaning towards yarn growth as the culprit for the sleeve bubble, I think the things I dislike about this cardigan come down to the design and the style and not to the fit of the actual pattern produced by CustomFit.

Featherweight Cardigan

I entered all of measurements that I typically use when planning and making my own sweater adjustments, and the fit at the back is really nice. I don’t mind making adjustments to existing patterns—in fact, it’s become one of my favorite things about sweater knitting. Plus, I’m pretty happy with the results I get and appreciate the flexibility that comes with being able to alter any pattern, regardless of construction style, by myself. But if I were going to attempt another project like my Jet Pullover, I’d definitely use CustomFit to generate a pattern.

So to sum up: CustomFit seems all right, but I do not like Featherweight and probably should have been more judicious in my pattern choice. Luckily, the next sweater I have to share turned out much better, so look forward to less disappointing projects.

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13 thoughts on “Featherweight: The Sweater of Nope

  1. I’m also not a big fan of the open cardi, especially for larger sizes. While I haven’t tried CustomFit, I have tried a couple of Amy Herzog’s patterns, and find that they just don’t work for me. There’s something about the shoulders/sleeve caps in the larger sizes (I’m usually a 52) that don’t fit right. Similar to what you found in your sweater, the ones I tried had shoulders that were too narrow and weirdly shaped sleeve caps that had two wide bound-off “shelves” in the shaping that caused the front and back to pull in oddly. There are enough plus sized patterns out there, thankfully, so I just look elsewhere for sweater love. Yours does fit very nicely in the back..

    Karen

    • The open-front cardigan definitely seems to work better for a body that’s much less curvy than mine. I like Hannah Fettig’s minimalist aesthetic, but I’ve given up on her designs because they are clearly made for someone very different than me.

      I know what you mean about the sleeve and shoulder shaping in Amy Herzog’s patterns–I made one of her patterns from Knit to Flatter and the sleeve cap was just what you described. The sleeves and shoulders on that one fit okay, although I remember thinking that the shaping was very unusual. Now you have me thinking that the sleeve bubble on this one might be related to the pattern . . .

      As you say: thank goodness for plenty of other pattern choices!

      • On my last cardi, I tried the set-in sleeve knit from the top down following the Paula Ward videos on YouTube, and it fits great! As long as you can get the depth of the armhole right with the right shaping to fit the shoulder (which is an easy bit of math), there are no issues with making the sleeve, including adjusting for a fuller or skinnier upper arm. It may be my favorite go-to method yet… It’s a great technique to have in your pocket for when there are fit issues with a pattern. Many designers don’t really know how to fit larger sizes, and maybe it’s time we stop thinking that we’re doing something wrong when it might be that there’s something wrong with the pattern…..I’ll put my soapbox away now, at least for today.

        Karen

  2. I knit the non-custom fit version of this back in the day. I’ve debated donating it a bunch of times but it does have a place as a house cardi – when I’m a wee bit chilly but need hands free to do things, I basically need a shawl with sleeves. It fits that purpose, but no other. It looks pretty much like your second to last photo – except it’s also a bit short on my torso. I absolutely wouldn’t ever knit another one, although I liked it a lot when I first finished it. I also always wear lightweight cardis open and also have given up on open front ones. They just never sit right and make me feel sloppy – and my chest gets cold!

    I’m interested to hear about the Custom Fit sleeve issues. I’m knitting a CF self-generated pattern at the moment, I guess I’ll approach the sleeves with caution!

    • I have a heavier house cardi that I wear a lot with my pjs but wouldn’t wear outside the house. Maybe this one can be a lighter weight version.

      Out of curiosity, I just scrolled through several pages of CustomFit projects on Ravelry, and in most cases, the sleeves seem to fit fine so there’s a good chance you’ll be okay. In fact, the only time I saw sleeve fit issues that looked like mine were open front cardigans, so it might be less of a sleeve cap shaping issue and more a product of the way the sweater hangs.

      • I wonder if it’s both. In a buttoned cardi or a full sweater, the sleeves are pulled in by negative ease. Which is good! Because slight negative ease makes a great fit. Especially places with strange shapes, like the armscye/sleeve of someone with a reasonable bust like myself. But an open front isn’t pulled in, so perhaps the shape makes the pouf out? Just guessing here.

        I’ll knit them as written, I think, and see. Most of my bought jumpers have weird underarm poufs anyways, so I can live with it, and just adjust the pattern for next time (I’m hoping it will be a good base to jump off from for other knits). And if I can’t live with it I can always rip them out and try a knit in sleeve from the top down – I’ve always wanted to try that.

        I forgot to say, too. My Featherweight, for some reason one of the sleeves twist back. It’s so frustrating! Almost like it’s on the bias, but it’s knit the same as the other one. I do have to keep tugging it.

      • Your explanation makes sense. That’s probably why the sleeves don’t fit weirdly at the back- they are benefitting from that bit of negative ease through the upper back.

        And how weird that you ended up with a single twisty sleeve!

  3. I’m sorry this was a disappointment 😦 I’ve debated knitting this as it is a widely popular pattern but I’m not a huge fan of such wide open front cardi, like you. Would you consider frogging it? The color’s beautiful.

    • I probably won’t bother frogging it. I’ve already salvaged this yarn from two other failed and abandoned sweater projects, and I don’t think it will hold up to a third round of frogging.

      I do, however, have one untouched skein that I’m planning to make a scarf or cowl with because I love this color too!

  4. Pingback: Top 5 of 2015 | Sweet Alchemy

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