18 August 2007


I have been keeping something from you. Remember the aran sweater that I am making for my husband?

Well, the reason I haven't posted about it since last April is that after many weeks of denial I finally came to terms with the gut feeling that my needle size was too big and sought help.

I turned to June of Twosheep, who is currently working on an aran for her husband. I sent her pictures.
This was her reply:

"Well, white is inherently see-through - and the
same fabric density could look considerably less translucent if the
yarn was a dark color.

How does the fabric feel? Does it feel drapey and stretchy (what EZ
called "sleazy")? If it feels too loose, then your gut feeling is
correct and US9 may be too big."

My husband can be called many things, but "sleazy" is definitely not one of them. I knew it was wrong. I knew I had to start over.

After a period of despair, I began swatching with smaller needles and finally
decided size 6 was perfect and began again.
Here is my progress so far:

Here are the two side by side. You can see there is more ribbing on the new
version. Since I was starting over, I asked my husband if
there was anything he wanted changed and he asked for more ribbing at
the bottom. Definitely an improvement.
In case you were wondering what sleazy looked like, here is a nice visual:

All together now: "Ewwww, Sleazy!"

I do find it embarrassing that I made such a silly mistake like choosing
a needle size that was way too big. I was very careful in my process too.

Here's how my needle selection process worked so perhaps you can avoid my mistakes:

I bought the yarn at Rhinebeck last year. All the label said was that it was worsted weight, so nothing about recommended needle size, etc. Here I was embarking on my first ever sweater design and I knew I wanted it to be perfect. Contrary to my impatient nature, I knew I needed to take the time and swatch. The yarn seemed more heavily worsted than other worsted weight yarns so I did a stockinette swatch in both size 8 and size 9 needles. Both looked fine in stockinette. My reasons for choosing size 9 definitely had to do with finishing more quickly with bigger needles. Then I did a pattern swatch, which I washed and blocked. I thought that looked fine too, but maybe I was a little too eager to start at this point. Or maybe it looked okay because it wasn't very big (I only did 2 pattern repeats). My denial stage was ignoring the fact that the fabric did seem drapey and see-through. However, I plodded on for 5.5 pattern repeats until I decided to wash and block it to see how it was looking. Um, very see-through.

It kills me that I was so careful but still made a dumb mistake like that. I guess the moral of this story is trust your instincts and if, like me, you are at a loss when the yarn doesn't specify a needle size, ask the person who is selling the yarn for a recommendation. Or ask your friendly blogging community for advice :)

I'm happy to be back on track again. I have even forgiven the sweater because it is looking so nice now. My biggest disappointment is that with this setback I don't think I'll finish it before Rhinebeck this year, which was my goal.

Phew, it's good to have that off my chest.


At 12:30 PM, Blogger Dearest Cupcake said...

Wow. I feel your pain! But with the new needle size it is looking beautiful. I think it´s best not to publicly admit defeat in anything until there is a new triumph to replace it. So congrats on the aran 2.0!

At 3:02 PM, Anonymous June said...

Yay Jen! I definitely can see the difference in the fabric. You're doing the right thing, of course.

Did you add more seed stitch to the sides to make up for the lost width?

I really ought to dig my aran out, too. I got so sick of it, I just put it away. I've been saying I ought to dig it out for months. j

At 11:11 PM, Blogger Luni said...

It looks like two different sweaters. V. 2 is sooo much better!
This proves the point that it is worth it to rip and reknit.

At 9:03 AM, Anonymous Cheryl said...

What a difference! I've been guilty of that too, knowing deep down that I needed to start over but refusing to believe it for a while. I love the new start, looks great.

At 9:07 AM, Blogger Emily said...

Your new version looks great. Definitely worth starting over. Just think of version 1 as a large swatch.

At 9:51 PM, Anonymous Deidre said...

I have been reading you!! Now the sweater with the different gauge--of course. It's all coming back to me. It was really nice to meet you tonight, I hope that you will join us on Wednesday nights! Is your CSA the same as Annie's?
Hope to see you on Saturday. Let me know if you need directions.

At 12:12 AM, Blogger Theresa said...

Wow - you definitely just made the right decision. Looks great. My husband is bugging me for his first-ever sweater, and he's telling me how much he likes cables . . .


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