Solitude, Screwed Up

Oh, knitting. So full of “adventures.”

In December, I came up with a plan to make an easy, quick-to-knit cardigan that I’d wear all the time. I decided to knit The Solitude Jacket from KnitScene using some Valley Yarns Northampton in Charcoal. Based on my measurements, I was going to start with the cast-on numbers for the largest size and then just work a few extra decrease rows to get to the numbers for the second-to-last size at the waist. I was hoping an easy pattern and easy fit would be a nice way to get back into sweater knitting after a long break. Alas…

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Solitude Jacket Pattern Photo from Interweave

A Stupid Pattern

Sadly, this pattern is kind of a tech-editing nightmare. The pattern has a schematic, but it’s basically useless because, as far as I can tell, the stitch numbers for the body of the sweater don’t actually match the schematic measurements. Some of the stitch numbers would produce a sweater an inch larger than the schematic, some would produce a sweater .25” smaller. There was no consistent relationship between the stitch numbers for the body and the schematic measurements. It’s also impossible to tell based on the schematic how to account for the width of the button band in the overall measurements of the cardigan.

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But even more egregious was the fact that the numbers for the largest size (the size I was going to start with for the body of my sweater) are completely off and would produce a sweater that would be several inches too big. So already this pattern was not turning out to be an easy knit—I had to frog it after knitting a few inches and then recalculate all of the numbers for the body of the sweater, trying to figure out how to get the bust measurement I needed while still winding up with the right stitch count for the yoke. I looked to see if there were any errata online (especially related to the largest size) and there is, but it only pertains to the instructions for the collar. I know magazine patterns can get a bad rep because they are so poorly edited, but this is the first really rough magazine pattern I’ve come across.

A Stupid Mistake

Doing that math should have netted me a sweater that fit well. But I tried the sweater on once I finished knitting the yoke, and it’s at least a size too small. The real pisser is that I should have known. When I knit my swatch, my gauge was more like 4.5-4.25 stitches per inch rather than the 4 stitches per inch called for in the pattern. And, despite knowing damn well that it doesn’t work this way, I basically manipulated my swatch enough to convince myself that everything would eventually block out to size. The completed body of my sweater begs to differ. I even thought several times while I was knitting the sleeves that they seemed too small, but I just kept plowing through them. It’s just so stupid, I can’t help but laugh at myself.

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Now what?

I’m not going to just knit the collar on this and hope for the best. (Although I briefly considered it.) I could block the body just to see if and how much it relaxes with a nice soak, but I really don’t think a soak is going to give me the fit I want. I could also rip the whole body out and reknit it to an appropriate gauge but I’m already salty with this pattern and my commitment to this sweater is being seriously tested. The other option is to rip it all out and use the yarn for something else. Maybe combine it with a light gray or cream to make a Sundottir or a Fern & Feather? Or try to find another basic cardigan pattern?

I have no idea. I’m just putting this baby in time out until I decide what I want to do. In the meantime, I promise to swatch more responsibly.

2 thoughts on “Solitude, Screwed Up

  1. It will never block out. It’s so frustrating, but you have to listen to that voice that tells you what you know is true while you’re knitting, and just go ahead and rip the dang thing. Me? I put it aside until the rage & frustration has settled, and then I rip and think of what to do with the yarn.

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