Tuesday, March 20, 2007

My Desperate Cry for Help!

When there is so much to blog about it is hard to know where to begin. So much has happened, do I write a huge catch-up post? Post a little each day and hope no new blog fodder occurs? Forget it all and blog from where I'm at now? Blogging is tricky. People don't realize what an art writing the perfect blog post is. I have my good days and my bad days.

I think for now I'll blog my most pressing issue: My Desperate Cry For Help!

No, I'm not asking for a knitting intervention. I made a resolution to knit less this year and I think I've kept it admirably. I was updating my side bar and I've only presented four Finished Objects so far this year, one of which was knit last year. Yes I do have two other projects that are finished and need shown. Plus Starsky that is nearly done. Oh, yeah, and I did knit an entire pair of socks in two days while my Father was here last week, and maybe a tiny complicated cabled baby hat, but really. I'm doing much better than I was last year people. Less knitting, more living in 2007. Anyways....

The cry of help isn't for me. It's for my Father's Aran Sweater.

The sweater that almost was.

Before I moved last year I measured my Father and his favorite sweater. I was going to knit my Dad a sweater. Not just any sweater, mind you, a perfect sweater. It would be cabled. Not just one cable, but many perfect cables that twist and compliment one another in a cream colored piece of perfection. My expectations were completely reasonable and not at all too high.

All the cablesI swatched twenty different cable patterns, which is saying something since we all know how much I love to swatch and block. I arranged them on the floor in every possible combination until I found the perfect one. Then I knit a final swatch with all the cables in one swatch just to be sure, discovered it was too wide, and tried again. After three "final swatches" I had it. The perfect width, the perfect cables, knit in the perfect wool which would lead to the perfect sweater.

The sweater really was a labor of love for me. I measured and did math until my calculator broke. I knit and cabled until I couldn't stand the sight of a cable needles. I picked up and knit the collar five times. I cried when I frogged the fourth attempt, but the fifth made it all worth wile. The body was beautiful.

That's not a mistake, it's a design elementBut the sleeves. Oh, the sleeves. The first attempt went wrong. And it was sheer laziness. I didn't make an all moss stitch gauge swatch, so the first sleeve was too wide. The second attempt contained a fatal math error in my arm cap decreases (stupid broken calculator). But the third? The third attempt was a beautiful thing. And set right into the sweater body the way a sleeve should. I excitedly sewed up the seams, wove in the ends and anxiously awaited my Father's arrival. Tangible love. This sweater was tangible love he could wear and feel wrapped around him, warm and beautiful, like love should be.

I gave it to him, and he cried.

I joked "Don't cry yet, it could all go bad."

And it did. It went so very bad. The body was perfect, the cables looked perfect, the neck was perfect. But the sleeves, the stupid, stupid sleeves.

It all went so wrong

Yes they are too long, but that is not the real issue here. The real issue is the top of the sleeve, the stupid puffy sleeve.

Stupid Puff

I think I know where it all went wrong. I measured a sweater with drop sleeves. So the shoulder measurements were meant to hang over the shoulder and down the arm, which this sweater would do if it didn't have the set-in sleeves. I think the shoulders might be inherently too wide for set-in sleeves. So I think I should knit some drop sleeves. I will have to shorten the depth of the armhole (to use the fancy technical term) which means ripping out the perfect collar, but I know how to knit the perfect collar now, so that shouldn't be so bad right?

I've been wondering if there is a way to design the sleeve cap to fit the existing arm hole. Maybe something short with wide bind offs at the top. Less of an elegant bell shape and more of an overturned pot, to pull the shoulders down the arm a bit?

Or since I'm frogging would it be better to frog down to the original underarm bind offs, bind off more to make the shoulders more slender and allow for a set-in sleeves?

It makes me feel just a little faint contemplating it all. Please don't tell me just to leave it, as I have already taken out the sleeves and frogged the top of the first one. I don't know who was more upset, me or my Dad. He really would have worn the sweater puffy sleeves and all, and for that he really deserves a perfect fit.


Miriam said...

The sleeves are fabulous, so leave the sleeve as they are. Take out the body, and reknit the arm holes (and shoulder width) to fit the set in sleeves. You will have to redo the collar, but the upper body and collar redo is much less complicated than redoing the calculations for the sleeve cap. Just match the armhole on the body to the size of the sleeve and it will be perfect!

Miriam said...

Oh, and fold the extra long sleeve stuff up, and tack it in place to make a turned up sleeve cuff :D

Knittypants said...

I have no idea how to fix the problem, but I am feeling your pain. Ouch! Your dad's sweater is going to be a perfect gift and he must be feeling so loved watching you work on it.

bunchkin said...

After recently dealing with my own sleeve cap woes, I feel your pain. i don't know how to fix your sticky situation. In fact, it's the saddest thing I've heard all day. Even thinking about ripping out any of that gorgeous knitting makes me sick to my stomach. Good Luck. *hugs*

aj said...

Oh my!

It's so so beautiful, and then to have it turn on you and have sleeves that are too long! Agony, I tell you!

LilKnitter said...

But it is going to be a LOVELY sweater once the sleeve issues are resolved. You should be really proud of it; it is stunning!

shiguy4076 said...

Ok I think I'm a slacker because I think it looks great. Yeah the sleeves are a little long but you can roll those up. It's all about the love you put in it. That sweater is a exquisite work of art.
I wouldn't have the first clue how to fix it anyway so I'd end up calling you to ask how :)