Big Blue and a Knitty mini-review

I finally made time for myself to peruse the Summer ’07 issue of Knitty. Some thoughts:

As a large woman, I appreciate that designers for Knitty frequently
provide their patterns in a wide range of sizes, and this issue was no
exception. All of the tank tops in this issue could be knit to fit even me,
but I’m not sure that backless tank tops are the best choice for women
who need to wear supportive bras. Still, I guess it’s nice to have the
option if you want it.

I liked most of the patterns, but only one made it’s way onto my radar for knitting in the very near future- ‘Vog on.
I have two skeins of Koigu that have been waiting a long, long time for
the right pattern to come along. I think this is the one. I frequently
have sizing issues with socks, but since there’s a toe-up option it
shouldn’t be a problem to customize them for my long, narrow feet and
wide ankles. I’m at least going to make myself finish one of my UCS
first, but after that I’ll probably start on the Vogs.

In my last post, I mentioned that I’m feeling compelled to get my life
in order before I have my baby. Of course I have plenty of other things
besides knitting to work on, but since I don’t think you’re all that
interested in my rearranging furniture and vacuuming, I’ll mostly be
blogging about the knitting part of that compulsion here. I’m really
feeling the need to get my knitting on track. It probably sounds really
psycho to non-knitters, but I feel like when I have a reasonable number
of projects on the needles and my knitting is under control, all the
other issues in my life are positively affected. Things just seem to
fall into place, influenced by the harmony of good knitting mojo.

Right now, I feel a lot of BAD knitting mojo radiating out of my stash.
During the earlier part of my pregnancy, when I was vomiting and
exhausted for the entire month of March, I let a lot of my good
intentions about keeping a reasonable number of projects in rotation
slide. And even before pregnancy threw me off track, there were several old
UFOs hovering around me. Before I have this baby, I think I need to
begin the process of sorting through them and making a plan for their
future, either as FOs or recycled yarn. I figure that blogging about
some of these UFOs might help give me that kick in the pants I need to
get them resolved once and for all, and what better place to start than
with what is probably my oldest UFO- the Blue Sweater.\n\u003cbr\>\nWhen I was still a pretty inexperienced knitter, probably sometime in the fall of 2004, I decided that I wanted to make myself a sweater. (I said I was inexperienced, not unambitious.) I had a hard time finding patterns that I liked that were sized large enough for me, so I bought a book by Jaqueline Fee called *The Sweater Workshop*. It really is a very nice book, packed with good information, so please don't blame the book for the disaster that is this sweater. Basically, Jaqueline walks you through making a sweater step-by-step, using Elizabeth's Percentage System, or EPS method. (If you're not familiar with it, there's a great article *here*. \u003ca href\u003d\”http://www.knitty.com/issuewinter04/FEATknitbynumbers.html\” target\u003d\”_blank\” onclick\u003d\”return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)\”\>http://www.knitty.com/issuewint\u003cWBR\>er04/FEATknitbynumbers.html\u003c/a\>)\u003cbr\>\n\u003cbr\>\nThere are so many reasons why sweaters fail, even in the hands of talented and experienced knitters. Accidents of gauge or pattern misinterpretation are often to blame. Mostly, my problem was that I was too cautious about using my brains and intuition to figure out how to get the sweater I wanted, which is ironic considering this an Elizabeth Zimmerman un-pattern, and she was all about using your brains and intuition to take control of your projects. I was so paranoid about the sweater coming out too small that I maybe actually added an inch or two to my bust measurement, which I had already measured too large. I didn't know that there was such a thing as "negative ease". And I failed to factor in the fact that my wrists are very small compared the rest of my body, so of *course* taking 10% of my bust measurement was going to lead to enormous arm holes. \u003cbr\>\n\u003cbr\>\nTo make a long story short, the sweater is beyond huge. I stand 6 feet tall and it comes down past my *knees*. It is at *least* twice as large as it needs to be. If I had known anyone who could wear it, I would have happily gifted it, but remember I'm a BIG girl, the largest I know. Do you know any 8 foot tall women with a 64 inch bust measurement? This sweater would probably fit beautifully on them, especially if they find the color blue appealing!”,1]
);
//–>

Sweater1

When I was still a pretty inexperienced knitter, probably sometime in
the fall of 2004, I decided that I wanted to make myself a sweater. (I
said I was inexperienced, not unambitious!) I had a hard time finding
patterns that I liked that were sized large enough for me, so I bought
a book by Jacqueline Fee called The Sweater Workshop. It really is a
very nice book, packed with good information, so please don’t blame the
book for the disaster that is this sweater. Basically, Jacqueline walks
you through making a sweater step-by-step, using Elizabeth’s Percentage
System, or EPS method. (If you’re not familiar with it, there’s a great
article here.

There are so many reasons why sweaters fail, even in the hands of
talented and experienced knitters. Accidents of gauge or pattern
misinterpretation are often to blame. Mostly, my problem was that I was
too cautious about using my brains and intuition to figure out how to
get the sweater I wanted, which is ironic considering this an Elizabeth
Zimmerman
un-pattern, and she was all about using your brains and
intuition to take control of your projects. I was so paranoid about the
sweater coming out too small that I actually added an inch or two
to my bust measurement, which I had already measured far too large. I
didn’t know that there was such a thing as "negative ease". And I
failed to factor in the fact that my wrists are very small compared the
rest of my body, so of *course* taking 10% of my bust measurement was
going to lead to enormous arm holes.

Bigbluewithlouie

To make a long story short, the sweater is beyond huge. (See above photo with cat for scale.) I stand 6 feet
tall and it comes down past my knees. It is at least twice as large
as it needs to be. If I had known anyone who could wear it, I would
have happily gifted it, but remember I’m a BIG girl, the largest I
know. Do you know any 8 foot tall women with a 64 inch bust
measurement? This sweater would probably fit beautifully on them,
especially if they find the color blue appealing!\n\u003cbr\>\nNow, you might be aware that sometimes you can "fix" a supersized sweater by taking out the ribbing and re-ribbing everything with a smaller needle (another Zimmerman trick!), but this sweater is so huge that I dont think it would make a difference. Some time ago, I made a half-hearted attempt at taking out half of one sleeve (so it would, you know, come to my wrist instead of 6 inches past it) but I couldn't bring myself to finish the job.\u003cbr\>\n\u003cbr\>\nI really have no desire to frog this sweater because honestly, I used the least expensive wool I could find at that time, and it's probably not worth the enormous hassle of ripping out a HUGE sweater's worth of wool. It's been stuffed in a plastic bag in a closet so long that sometimes I forget it exists. I was looking for some blue wool a couple weeks ago, so I pulled the bag out of the bin in the closet. I never put it back (typical) and now my gigantic mistake is staring me in the face. Funny how it didn't bother me all that time, and now all of a sudden I feel like I have to fix it *now*. This sweater is going back on the needles effective immediately. Here's my action plan for making it at least sort of wearable:\u003cbr\>\n\u003cbr\>\n1. Rip out all of the ribbing at the bottom and the neck edge. Pick up stitches, decrease about 1/4 of them, and knit new ribbing on size 4 needles. I knit the original sweater on size 8s. That was back when I still used my kit of Denise needles all the time. Ah, nostalgia! It's Addi Turbos all the way now, baby!\u003cbr\>\n\u003cbr\>\n2. Rip out about half of both sleeves and follow step one for ribbing repair. \u003cbr\>\n\u003cbr\>\n3. Felt it. That's right, this may be the only time in my life that I find a wool sweater large enough to felt down to a size for me. We're not talking about my normal felting process of throwing it in one of the big machines at the laundromat and letting nature take its course, but a slower, more controlled process. I'll need to use a friend's top loading machine, and then I'll probably be finishing it by hand.”,1]
);
//–>

Now, you might be aware that sometimes you can "fix" a super-sized
sweater by taking out the ribbing and re-ribbing everything with a
smaller needle (another Zimmerman trick!), but this sweater is so huge
that I don’t think it would make enough difference. Some time ago, I made a
half-hearted attempt at taking out half of one sleeve (so it would, you
know, come to my wrist instead of 6 inches past it) but I couldn’t
bring myself to finish the job.

I really have no desire to frog this sweater because honestly, I used
the least expensive wool I could find at that time, and it’s probably
not worth the enormous hassle of ripping out a HUGE sweater’s worth of
wool. It’s been stuffed in a plastic bag in a closet so long that
sometimes I forget it exists. I was looking for some blue wool a couple
weeks ago, so I pulled the bag out of the bin in the closet. I never
put it back (typical) and now my gigantic mistake is staring me in the
face. Funny how it didn’t bother me all that time, and now all of a
sudden I feel like I have to fix it now. This sweater is going back
on the needles effective immediately. Here’s my action plan for making
it at least sort of wearable:

1. Rip out all of the ribbing at the bottom and the neck edge. Pick up
stitches, decrease about 1/4 of them, and knit new ribbing on size 4
needles. I knit the original sweater on size 8s. That was back when I
still used my kit of Denise needles all the time. Ah, nostalgia! It’s
Addi Turbos all the way now, baby!

2. Rip out about half of both sleeves and follow step one for ribbing repair.

3. Felt it. That’s right, this may be the only time in my life that I
find a wool sweater large enough to felt down to a size for me. We’re
not talking about my normal felting process of throwing it in one of
the big machines at the laundromat and letting nature take its course,
but a slower, more controlled process. I’ll need to use a friend’s top
loading machine, and then I’ll probably be finishing it by hand. I don’t want it to be felted totally stiff, just fuzzed up a little. \n\u003cbr\>\n4. We'll see what it looks like after coming out of the felting process, but I'm considering cutting it down front to make a \u003cbr\>\n\u003cbr\>\n\u003c/p\>\u003c/div\>\n\n\u003cbr\>\n\u003cfont size\u003d\”2\”\>\nThe information transmitted is intended only for the person or entity \nto which it is addressed and may contain CONFIDENTIAL material. If you \nreceive this material/information in error, please contact the sender \nand delete or destroy the material/information.\n\u003c/font\>\n\n”,0]
);
D([“ce”]);
//–>

4. We’ll see what it looks like after coming out of the felting process, but I’m considering cutting it down front to make a cardigan. Even shrunk, it should be large enough for me to use as a jacket to wear over normal sized sweaters in the winter.

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3 Comments »

  1. Tonya said

    I’m really into the felting-and-making-a-cardigan idea — maybe because cardigans are just so darn functional. If you need a washing machine, you’re more than welcome to come over with your sweater!!

  2. Elizabeth said

    Woah… That sounds like a LOT of work for big blue!! Good luck with that. 😀
    Once again, I can’t make it on Sunday. David and I are heading back up to Hanover to continue sorting and packing. Trust me, it’s not fun.

  3. Margaret said

    Hi, I work for http://www.shopyarn.com. Part of my job is to search blogs to find the latest books and shops throughout the U.S.
    On shopyarn.com we are going to add patterns and other knitting related books and would like reviews about them. I saw your blog and would like to ask permission to feature the following quote on our site.
    “I had a hard time finding patterns that I liked that were sized large enough for me, so I bought a book by Jacqueline Fee called The Sweater Workshop. It really is a very nice book, packed with good information, so please don’t blame the book for the disaster that is this sweater. Basically, Jacqueline walks you through making a sweater step-by-step, using Elizabeth’s Percentage System, or EPS method.”
    Thank You,
    Margaret
    Shopyarn.com
    Margaret@directionpress.com

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