knitting

French Vanilla Sweater

Sometimes we start a project super eager, enthusiastic, and with a ton of drive and desire to get it done.

And then….

Yeah, it’s one of those projects.

The thing is, it shouldn’t have been.

This sweater is self-designed, and it’s made to be simple. It is a tube with arm holes. There are no sleeves. I didn’t even add shaping.

But, well, the yarn had other ideas.

First of all, I should say that I have no idea what yarns I used.

It all started with a cone from CustomYarn.com, in the colorway Astrolabe, which had some wool and a metallic strand and some other stuff I don’t remember, and it’s no longer available on their website.

Back when I bought it, a certain author was still well-love the world over with a best selling series of books about inclusion and tolerance and defending those who are marginalized and less fortunate. I’d been wanting to make a Puck Drop (Ravelry link) sweater for ages, but use Ravenclaw colors. A Quidditch sweater, if you will. I thought this yarn would be perfect.

It turns out…it wasn’t. I got the only cone available, and halfway through the body I ran out of yarn. It was also a lot itchier than I thought it would be, and for my sensitive skin that was a no-go. So I tore it out and sat on it for a while.

When the above author decided to show her whole bigoted ass to the world, I decided to use it for something else less directly linked to the books. I figured if I removed the sleeves and lowered the neckline, I’d have enough yarn. I love off the shoulder and cold shoulder tops, so I used that as my starting point. And ran out of yarn again.

So I went to the LYS and picked up two skeins of blue and two of a gold-yellow that worked with the colors in Astrolabe, and started striping. I thought it would make the finished object softer and easier to wear, tone down the sparkle of the metallic strand, and in general improve the outcome.

And then I held it up and realized my tension was far too tight when I changed colors, so one side of the sweater was two inches shorter than the other.

At that point, the sweater went into a cupboard for 10 months to think about its life choices while I knit approximately three hundred other things and moved to a new apartment and pretended the Sweater of Shame didn’t exist.

I finally got up the guts to rip it back and start working on it again. By then, the luster had really worn off. The yarn was rough from being ripped out so many times, and it had picked up some dust and cat hair along the way. I’d decided to use it as a prototype for a sweater pattern, but then realized it was a poor yarn choice because I didn’t know what the yarns were or where to get more, which is a bit taboo in the knit design world. Lots of people want to make items that look exactly like the sample, so you want to share what yarn you used. It also means you can’t get yarn support from whatever the company was.

So yeah, by February I was so over it. I finally just sat down and cranked out the last 8 inches of sweater, bound off, and blocked it. During the blocking process, I washed it with shampoo (as usual) but then dissolved some of my heavy-duty repair conditioner for dry and damaged hair in the sink and let it soak there for about half an hour. That made a VAST improvement to the texture. Then I pinned it rather viciously to my blocking mats and shoved it in our little laundry closet to dry, half hoping the gremlins who keep stealing my socks would decided to take that instead.

It’s a lot softer now, it has a lovely drape, but…it’s just not right. Part of the problem is the model. Yes, it’s me. But the me on camera does not match the me in my head (thanks, Hashimoto’s), and that makes it very hard for me to look at pictures of myself. But that is a subject for an entirely different blog post.

Anyway, what do you think? Do you think it’s as awful as I do? I’m still trying to figure out how to style it, since it doesn’t look like I thought it would in my head.


Like what you see? Check out the shop tab for more of my (successful) knitting patterns!