I had been hoping my next post here would be to show off a new sweater, but alas, that is not to be. I've been working on Beekman's Tavern for well over a year now, and it's been quite the process. I've made more mistakes on this one than I thought possible, and as a result, I've done the equivalent of twice the knitting, probably, and I'm still not done - not done with either the sweater or the screwing up part of it.

But while it's a little disappointing not to have a new sweater to wear yet, I've learned a lot about the process and about patience, and I think that it's definitely worth sharing here.

Sleeve. At least the sleeves went okay for the most part.
The moment I saw this sweater, I knew I wanted to knit it. Not only did I want to knit this sweater, I wanted to wear it, and that's a rare combination for me.  I wear a lot of simple, plain things (if you're being kind you might call my sense of style "classic" but the words "boring" and "lazy" are a little more honest), and while simple, plain sweaters might be nice to wear, they're often not a lot of fun to knit. I don't know if you've noticed here, but monochromatic, textured garments are particularly appealing to me - I've never met a cable I didn't like - and Beekman's Tavern is a beautiful combination of textured stitches and a simple silhouette.

It's not this yellow IRL, fortunately.
As soon as I could, I bought the pattern and dug some yarn out of the stash (as tempting as it was to buy some of that Cormo wool, I really am committed to knitting more of what I've got first, and I have a decent little pile of Cascade 220 in a nice natural color) and off I went. At first, my goal was to get the sweater done by the beginning of 2014, but that obviously didn't happen. I got sidetracked with other things and then I started screwing up the knitting Big Time. I slipped stitches the wrong way on the lace section and it was too tight and pulled up in the middle in the most unattractive way. Rip. I miscrossed a whole bunch of the cables. Rip again. I added waist shaping and misplaced some of the increases. Sob. Rip. This doesn't include all the times I found little mistakes in the cables and lace and had to tink back a round or two to fix them. It has been a while since I have messed up this much on one single project. At first, I got really frustrated, but once I accepted that I had to commit to the long haul for this sweater, I found patience and didn't worry about any artificially imposed deadlines and just worked on it a little bit every night, figuring it would get done eventually.

Why yes, I knit while I'm playing Scrabble with children. Don't you?

It's a good thing I gave up on a deadline, self-imposed or otherwise, because last week, when I finally thought I was on the home stretch, I stopped knitting to look things over and discovered that I'd failed to center the bound off stitches on one of the sleeves, and once again had to rip back, this time to the yoke join, and I just about came unglued.


You see, in my ever-so-humble opinion, one major drawback to bottom-up sweaters knitted in one piece is the incredible awkwardness right when you join the sleeves to the body. There are so many stitches and they pull so tightly around the sleeves for the first few rounds, plus there is no way of knowing how the sweater will fit until it's practically done, so if something goes wrong you have a lot to take out. (I've formed some pretty strong opinions on sweater construction, but if I like a design enough, I can set my feelings aside for a little while.)

Anyway, after a few more nights' worth of re-knitting the yoke, I bound off all the stitches and tried it on before picking up the stitches again for the collar.

Sexy boat neck?

The neck is too big. It's just simply TOO BIG.

Nope, just sloppy.

Now, the instructions say to pick up fewer stitches around the collar than were bound off, and then you work in ribbing for a little while, so I know that will pull things in considerably. And after some conversation with the designer, I see that I ended the cables several rows after a cable-cross, so if I kept going for a bit and crossed those cables, it would help pull in the neck just a little more. But I still don't think it's enough.

There is no extra back neck shaping on this sweater, which I know will bug me in the long run. Plus here's the other thing: I've been jonesing for a big squishy cowl neck sweater for a while now and I think I could possibly convert Beekman into just that. I'll leave the stitches bound off in the middle of the front, but add a few back-and-forth rows with more decreases on the back and top of the sleeves, then bind everything off before picking up a bunch of stitches around the neck for a nice big cowl collar. I have plenty of this yarn so there is no worry about running out...I just have to figure out how to construct the cowl. Do I want to split it on the side with some buttons? Knit the whole thing in the round? Do I need to increase a bunch halfway through so it has enough fabric to fold over? I'm still mulling over all this. But I have to fix the basic neckline first.

I know this much: the sweater certainly won't get done by this weekend, and that's okay. Sometimes the creative process takes a while.


Popular Posts