Learning curve

I’ve been a knitter for a very long time.

I can do cables and lace patterns.  I can knit socks and sweaters and cardigans. I’m committed to learning colourwork this year too.

But the thing I’ve always baulked at is mastering the mathematical side of things to fine tune fit.  Which is amazing because I’m not a ‘standard’ shape or size (if such a thing exists), nor am I the B cup that is the standard for most pattern drafting. You’re forgiven for thinking that in this case, the fit would be the first thing I’d mastered.  Not so…I’m a dunce at maths.  Always have been.

The success of knitted garments to date, therefore, has been more a result of good luck than good judgement!

Which leads me to the current epic fail.

Audrey 183Audrey, by Jane Richmond, is a lovely looking cardigan.  It’s knit in the round from the top down in garter stitch, with a seam detail at the shoulders and side of the body.

So far…so simple.

Or not!

This cardigan is my knitting nemesis. It has pushed me over the edge.

Firstly, I’ve ripped it back so many times I’ve lost count.  I had the devil’s own job separating the sleeves from the body.  And because it’s on small needles (it’s 4ply) it’s taken forever to knit. Honestly…I cast this on before Christmas. Probably in November, if memory serves.

Then, at the back of my mind has been the nagging doubt that it wasn’t quite me and it wasn’t quite right.  When I’d separated the sleeves, I tried it on, and was assured by The Husband that it looked ‘fine’ and foolishly only made a cursory check in the small sitting room mirror before getting back to the knitting in a gungho fashion.

Big. Mistake.

This week the nagging voice wouldn’t go away.  So I took it off the needles and up to the full sized mirror and tried it on….

IMG_7204_edited-1Look at the size of that there sleeve!  And that’s being worn over another cardigan!  Eep!  Not good.  Not. good. at. all!

It gets worse, if that’s possible!

IMG_7198_edited-1Look at the armhole…just too big.

I’m not showing you how the rest of the cardigan looks on me.  Suffice to say, the sleeves sets the tone for lack of fit and shape!

So, it’s back to the drawing board with this yarn.

And it’s time for me to put my big girl pants on and conquer the maths.  Not a joyful prospect, I have to admit, as maths is not my strong suit.

To make it all a little easier and a lot more fun I’ve signed up for a Craftsy class by Amy Herzog, who’s life mission seems to be to help numpties like me knit garments that actually fit and are flattering, to boot.

knittoflatterThis is going to be an interesting journey.  Knits that fit…who’d’ve thunk it?

21 Comments
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21 Responses to Learning curve

  1. Donna says:

    I feel your pain! That Amy Herzog class looks awesome though 🙂

  2. Gail says:

    Oh no! All that work for nothing. Ah well – we’ve all been there! If it’s any consolation, I always think the fit on those top-down raglans is a little iffy anyway, and I AM a B-cup! I’m hoping that the Craftsy class gives you the answers you need!

  3. I hate it when it happens…you put a lot of work into something…and then it doesn’t fit right…Sometimes I feel I should just go out and buy the damn thing…can you tell I had a similar experience this past weekend??? I really hope you enjoy the class.

    • I hear you….
      That said…I went clothes shopping the other weekend and in the end gave it up as a bad job. Fit, quality, value for money…all lacking. At least with sewing your own you get some good results to negate the less successful ones. I’ve seen your results…they are amazing. I’m suspecting your bad experience is still far better than most RTW!

  4. K-Line says:

    I think that course will be excellent for you. BTW, I suck at math too – but once you start using it in an applied fashion (and one which makes the diff between looking great and looking like you’re wearing someone else’s clothing), it really gets much easier. I’m not just saying that. Honestly, it’s not that hard or I wouldn’t be doing it.

    • I think the key is “applied fashion”….I have no trouble with sewing pattern maths, or balancing the bank account maths…I’ve even run a business and did the books! But for some reason I come out in a cold sweat at the thought of knitting maths. But I will not be defeated! And I have to say your perfect knits, and “Gauge the Situation” series have helped inspire me to bite this particular bullet!

  5. Roxyrana says:

    well, …you are not alone in having issues with this pattern. I too, have knitted it down past the armholes and ripped it twice…… and the yarn is so fine and takes ages to knit…. ( I am using the same yarn as you but in a warm yellow colourway)
    I have placed the half knitted garment in a quiet corner and cast on a completely different project with the same yarn . So far I’m definitely feeling the love for this new cardie and will rip the remainder of Audrey when I need the yarn.
    Message me if you want details of pattern.

    LInda ..x.

  6. StephC says:

    The yarn is so pretty! Sucks that it doesn’t fit. 🙁 That class looks amazing, I should take something like that…

    • Thank you…I do love the colour. It’s more vibrant in real life too! I’m sanguine…I’ve been pretty slapdash with knitting over the years and not had too many fails. I just think I’ve reached a point where fit is becoming more important to me and it’s time to up my game. I’m fairly sure with your skills you’d be able to crack this on your own, but I’ll be reporting back as I work through the course.

  7. Evie, I’m not convinced that sleeve is as big as it might seem. (It can be deceptive before you start knitting downward and pulling it all together, and ease in the underarm is so important!) I don’t think the second image looks concerning at all. Before you rip it, do one tiny math problem! Count the stitches on waste yarn and add them to the number you cast on at the underarm — that’s your total for sleeve stitches at this point. Divide that number by your stitch gauge, and that will tell you how big around that sleeve really is. Then compare that to the measurement of your underarm and how much ease you want in the sleeve. It might be fine, or not so very far off that you couldn’t just do an extra increase or two to get it where you want it.

  8. “measurement of your UPPER arm,” I meant to say — not measurement of your underarm.

    • Oh you are so kind to share this with me (and I’m looking forward to your sweater series). Sadly for this cardi, the sleeve isn’t the only problem!!!! I look terrible in the rest of it too! Back to the drawing board, I’m afraid.

  9. I think I need to sign up or that course too! I have just finished a boat neck sweater which was done on small needles and is an almost identical colour to your wool and quite honestly I look like a purple mortadella wrapped in cling film 🙁

  10. Liara says:

    Please let us know how the class goes! I got a sale notice from Craftsy, so I signed up for the “Fit Your Knits” class. It was a toss up between that one and “Knit to Flatter”, which you have. Of course, I probably won’t get a chance to watch it until summer when school gets out, but a person can still dream and plan, right?

  11. Andrea says:

    Oh dear, I so feel your pain. I can’t tell you the number of sweaters I’ve made that I never wear because the fit is just awful on me, all because maths elude me. That class sounds like a good solution – looking forward to hear your thoughts on it.

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