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Oh, this sweater. We have a long history, it and I. And I’m sorry to say that history hasn’t always been good. But now? Now we’re cool.

just hanging out

Back when the earth was young, I bought the yarn for…the blub. (It was before written records, but after yarn stores.) Yup. I was going to knit him a sweater with it. And I did begin to knit him a sweater with it. It was a drop-shoulder roll neck pullover, from The Yarn Girls’ Guide to Simple Knits. (Before written records, but after knitting books too. Those don’t count.) The pattern is knit in large blocky pieces, then seamed up.

I got through one piece before I wanted to stab my eyes out. So, I did what any sensible knitter would do. I tried to finish in on my knitting machine.

Ah yes, that was a disaster as well. I won’t go into details, but the finished pieces got rammed into a bag and thoroughly cursed. True to his nature, the blub mostly forgot about this sweater. There were a few frightening moments for me when he said something like, “Hey whatever happened to that sweater you were knitting…for…m?” Then his eyes would glaze over and he would stop talking. (How I love online shopping. Useful information, straight to your door.) Anyway, I did knit him a replacement sweater, which he likes very much. Later I ripped the original satanic piece of hell out and stashed the yarn.

Yay, then I started a sweater for me, yay! It was fun for awhile but then it got boring, boo! I’m not going to go all into the details of that. The important thing is, it’s done now. And I love it, yay!

on the fence

Serendipity sweater (rav link)
Pattern: #77 Vine Lace Top Down Cardigan by SweaterBabe
Yarn: Jo Sharp Silk Road Aran Tweed in dusk, I have no idea how many skeins
Needle: US 10.5 (6.5 mm)
Started: August 22, 2008 (at least that’s what my rav notes say, cripes!)
Completed with much relief: September 13, 2009

So this pattern is actually written for a bulky weight yarn. But I thought it would look nicer in a lighter weight. Plus, I had a whole hell of a lot of aran weight hanging around.

Here’s how, at least in part, this sweater got its nickname: I did not swatch for this project. I just started knitting. Since I knew my gauge would be a lot smaller, I just thought “Eh, knitting the largest size should work okay.” And it did.

(Okay, I realize I’m putting this up on the internet and all, but I have to say this: do not tell anyone about this! It’s a secret! If this gets out, my knitting luck will be doomed, DOOMED forever! I will never be able to knit a fitting sweater again! Although, maybe this is comeuppance for that Hourglass sweater that I knit so long ago. That one where I swatched so carefully and it LIED to me. Fucker.)

Other mods: um. I made it fit? Yes, I realize that that’s not very specific. But it was a top-down sweater, so I tried it on as I went along. Plus I knew my row gauge was way off (I think the pattern called for Lamb’s Pride Bulky), so I winged it.

Oh! I remember one! The way I did the increases on the raglan line. I didn’t like the ones in the pattern, which I believe were just M1s. I don’t like how those leave holes. But for some reason that I don’t remember, I couldn’t make the numbers work for a central stitch between the increases. So I M1L and M1R into the same stitch. Sounds a bit weird, but um…it worked out really well.

my raglan decreases

I also made the sleeve ribbing quite a bit longer. This was a result of me not paying attention, and I started the ribbing after x rows like the pattern said. Which was dumb of me because…hey doofus! Your row gauge is way off! I don’t know why I paid attention in some places but not in others. So yeah, that means my sleeve ribbing is about 7 inches long. But you know what? I like it. I think it looks nice.


I know I also did something very small on the collar differently than the pattern, but I can’t remember what.


Oh! I remember now. She suggested putting the increases to make it flare out in the back, and I put them in the front. Like that, too. But the bestestestest part of this sweater? The pockets. You know how I heart pockets in sweaters.

super cute pocket

I know a lot of people who knit this sweater did not bother with the pockets. After putting mine on, I think that is a big mistake, for two reasons. One–pockets on sweaters are awesome. Two–the way these are sewn on is really cool.

You do it with duplicate stitch.

sewing on the pocket

Well, the bottom anyway. But isn’t that ficking ingenious? It was really really fun, too. I was kind of sad I had only two pockets to sew on when I was done. I made them kind of poofy by pulling down a bit after the bottom was attached. Then I just sewed on the sides like a sewing machine would. Easy.

What was not easy was trying to figure out how to size the pocket up. That cute little pleat thing made it kind of hard to just scale up. (By kind of hard, I mean I tried that and it looked like a pile of vomit and it was really annoying.) So in the end, I just added two stitches to each side. Which worked fabulously.

The buttons were yet another issue. I went everywhere and I couldn’t find anything I liked. I kind of wanted colored buttons, but I couldn’t find the right ones. Finally at Joann’s I found some blue plastic toggles that exactly matched the blue tweedy flecks. But, problem: I needed 9. They had? 6. I did ask a very sweet and patient lady behind the cutting counter if they maybe had any more in back. “No,” she spat out, and turned her back on me before the entire question was even out of my mouth. Friendly, eh? I bought the six anyway. Then I did what any independent, intelligent woman of the world would do.

I called my mom.

My mom lives near Chicago, where they have a wealth of strip malls and therefore, Joann’s Fabrics stores. The first store she tried–no good. But the second? Yes! They had them! She bought enough for me to have two extras. Yay for mommies!

I think they look quite faboo.

ze buttons

I heart this sweater. It was a pain in the ass at times, and a slog at other times. But I finished it and it’s soft and fantastic and fits perfectly. It looks good on me, too.

umer?dork supreme

…which you’re going to have to take my word for. Don’t quite have the hang of that self-timer thing yet. And I don’t like my auto-focus lens. (Hey, the blub wasn’t home, what could I do?)

But anyway. Over a year in the making. But overall? It was worf it.

...and more hanging out

LOVE the animation, LOVE the song. Love They Might Be Giants. Though I thought chalk was CaCO3 (Calcuim carbonate), not CaSO4 (Calcium sulfate). Anyway, this is still the stuff of awesome.

Guess what–I finished a sweater! An old one! Really! Hopefully, pics and actual blog post to follow. Until then, keep humming along.

Contact me

thechemgrrl AT gmail DOT com (you know what to do with the extras)
September 2009