Friday, April 11, 2008

Raspy Recovery

Now let's see...what happened the last time I knitted a top in cotton yarn?
Honeymoon Cami

Oh yeah. Giant boobs and hips.

Well, at least I'm consistent.
Raspy Too Big

But this time, I could do something about it!

Still not a great fit, but hey, it's wearable!

The thing about denim yarn is that it shrinks lengthwise. So apparently, I didn't think too hard about the width. Got gauge, cast on for the smallest size, and boom.

Yeah, boom alright. Boom it's too damn big. Seems there's this thing called a schematic, which you should probably look at before you start knitting. Had I done so, I'd have seen this sweater has 4" of positive ease and taken it in from the start.

Oh, I also converted this to knitting in the round, but didn't bother to delete the four seam stitches. That added about another inch. *bitchslap*

The result? A sweater like an Always pad - it's got wings! A bit long, too. Seems in fear it would shrink too much, I overshot and went the other way. *bitchslap #2*

Ah yes. When I eff up, I do it spectacularly.

Extreme makeover
I pondered steeking and cutting the sides, but this yarn frays like a mofo. Tickle-Me-Weezo side seams in stereo was really not appealing. And let's face it, you just *know* it would've frayed past the sew line (I am me, after all).

After numerous pinnings, it looked like lopping of a healthy portion of the bottom might eliminate the worst of the the hip wings. Then I could just mattress stitch the boobage in and hopefully salvage the project.

Tuesday, I finally grew some cojones and did it. All told, sweater surgery (liposweater?) took:

- 3.5" (!) off the length
- 1.5" off the hips and rack
- 2.5" off from armpit to armpit

That was as much as I could take off/in without screwing up the silhouette and looking like a midget linebacker.

I tried it on after I wove in all the ends *bitchslap #3* and there was some serious bulkage in the underarms. So I dug out the ends and loosened up the mattress stitching at the armpits juuuust a tiny bit, which totally did the trick.
It's fine as long as I don't, say...

...move my arms. Ever.

Survey says?

As you can see, the bottom still wings out too much. Like a goofy hoop skirt. And there's a stepped effect where I took in the boobage. And there's a noticeable notch where the mattress stitching meets the waist. And the new length is about half an inch shorter than I'd like. And surgery aside, it's not the most flattering neckline in the world. In fact, it makes me look a little shoulder heavy.

So, it's not what I'd want to be wearing if I say, ran into Nathan or Viggo. But eh,
it's not too bad. I can wear it outside the house even. And it's comfortable, too. Definitely worth the salvage!

Mod squad
Here's a rundown of rest of the mods:
1. Subbed SSKs for the K2TBLs (they're a little tidier and easier to work).

Used short rows to drop the front neckline. I'd heard it could be a choker, but didn't want to tinker with the row count or lose the boatnecky look of the original. It took a few failed experiments (one resulting in a scary Mick Jagger-like tongue in the center back - turns out, if you're not picking up stitches around a neckline, it's not a good idea to raise the back of it) but I finally hit the mark by placing a few short rows gradually throughout the top front area. This dropped it about 2".
Raspy Neckline
Don't you choke me baby...don't you choke me nooooo!

And man, I am SO glad I did this. As it is, it's just low enough to keep from annoying me. It does tend to ride up every so often, though, so maybe two more rounds of short rows would've been perfect.

3. Eliminated most of the dropped stitches after the bottom, just randomly placing two small ones on the front neckline and one on each sleeve. I dig the neckline drops (sorry, they don't photog well!), but the ones on the sleeves are barely noticeable. Should've dropped those down a few more rows.

4. I actually looked at the schematic for the sleeves and knocked off one straight row between each decrease row and a couple just before the raglan split to shorten the length. (Too bad I didn't do that for the rest of the sweater. :P)

That'll do knit, that'll do.

20/20 Hindsight
If I were to knit this again, I would: a) look at the schematic first *bitchslap* *bitchslap* *bitchslap*, b) make it more fitted (er,without surgery), c) shorten the body (er, without surgery), d) drop the neckline even further, e) make the waist shaping less hourglassy, f) bindoff sooner to open up the neckline, and g) do fewer dropped stitches in the bottom section and place them more randomly (sadly, almost all of them were cut off in sweater surgery).

Now let's see... where'd I put that time machine...

Yarn thoughts
This is Elann Den-m-Nit in Dark Indigo, which bleeds like my bank account during a sale. There were nights I had to do some serious scrubbing to get the dye completely off my skin and nails. It washed out of the clothes I was wearing the first time, but I took to draping a dark blue towel over me just to keep it from staining everything (my couch just won't fit in the washer).

Straight off the ball, it feels like a stiff, ropey DK weight and knits up rather loose and gapey. After a run through the washer & dryer, though, the yarn tightens up into a nice, dense fabric. It actually does fade like a pair of jeans, too - after four wash cycles, it lightened up about one-and-a-half to two shades.

Does get rather pilly, though. This sort of adds to the broken-in look, but an appointment with the sweater shaver might be in order.

Raspy Pilly
Don't be such a pill.

A couple of wtf's - you'll notice there's an odd "crease" across the middle of the waist that hasn't come out in the wash. Not sure what that's about. The sleeves also have a heavy creases along the top and bottom, where the fold lines would be if it were laid flat. Turning it inside out on the last wash cycle seemed to help, but it is rather alarming.

But it's worth it, 'cause this is one nice, soft, comfy sweater. And seriously, how do you not love a knit you can throw in with your towels!

Wrap it up
Well, I'm not *thrilled* the end result, but I am glad I can wear it! It's comfortable, and I really dig those bulky raglan seams and dropped stitches. Plus, it's kind of exhilarating (in a completely terrifying, even-my-ass-is-sweaty kind of way) to cut one of your knits. And now I know how to drop a neckline, too. So this sweater was definitely a good learning experience!

Sometime in the next week or so, I plan to cast on the Indigo Ripples Skirt in Rowan Denim. It'll be interesting to see how it differs from Den-m-Nit - and to see if I can actually knit something that fits with a yarn that shrinks!
Pattern: Rowan Denim People
Yarn: Elann Den-m-Nit, 12 balls in Dark Indigo
Needles: Addi Turbo, size 5, 40" + 6, 40"
Mods: Knitted in the round, moved or skipped most of the dropped stitches, subbed in SSKs for K2TBLs, shortened the sleeves, dropped the neckline, then altered the whole thing up in sweater surgery


Blogger Trillian42 said...

Wow. It really was an... interesting fit to start with, wasn't it? :D

I think the liposweatered final product looks quite cute. And I'm still very impressed at all of the surgical tweaking you did. That's a LOT of work!

2:14 PM  
Blogger Bezzie said...

You know one thing I hate about my handknits is I feel like I have to treat them better than my store bought sweaters, socks, etc. I wouldn't mind a sweater like this that I wouldn't poop a brick if I splashed dishwater over it doing the dishes, etc.

5:19 PM  
Blogger Beverly said...

Completely successful surgery. The patient looks great! It's nice to know that ill-fitting knits can be salvaged after the fact, especially since my 2 attempts at making myself a sweater resulted in 2 sweaters that didn't fit.

7:51 PM  
Blogger turtlegirl76 said...

I'm impressed that you went to the extent that you did to get yourself a good fit. I think I would have let it sit in the closet for a year or more before I even thought to attempt anything as extreme. You did a fantastic job on the surgery and the mods. I particularly love the neckline.

5:51 AM  
Blogger missyecaj said...

The surgery was a success! I like the revamped raspy. It certainly does look like a great cozy sweater. It was worth the stress!

7:56 AM  
Blogger The A.D.D. Knitter said...

You are so effing hilarious! Screw up more so we can read more funny posts:) Seriously though, nice save, you are very clever.

9:45 AM  
Blogger SJ said...

I see what you mean about the flare at the hips, but I still think you did a spectacular surgery job. I'd be willing to bet that, with a little wear, the hip flare will go away. It looks so comfy -- which is what you wanted, right?

5:58 AM  
Blogger chemgrrl said...

Well, I think it looks great. Plus, it gives you a little room in the hips to stack on those quarter pounders and chocolate shakes! Who wouldn't love that?

I'll be interested to see your ripple skirt, as that's another knit I want to do someday...

1:25 PM  
Blogger knottygnome said...

very impressive surgery. the results are much superior to the original PLUS you didn't come out with an extra nose or anything.

can't wait to see the indigo ripples skirt. i really want to make that one myself but i'll need to make a yarny purchase.

7:45 AM  
Blogger cpurl17 said...

You are the McDreamy of handknits.

11:23 AM  
Blogger Holly said...

Wow! I am amazed with the magic you worked. You've got guts, and it totally paid off. (I feel like an American Idol judge - "you took a risk - sniff - and it was worth it - sniff!")

You're my hero, and perhaps I'll steek my wicked in a show of support. Just not today...

7:52 AM  
Blogger Sourire11 said...

Very impressive surgeory! I think I would have just thrown the whole thing in a bag and not looked at it ever again. Until I dug it up years later and then frogged it. Your fix made it a very wearable sweater! That rocks.

11:28 AM  

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