For 13 months I have been, sporadically, knitting on a cardigan that I have had serious doubts about. These doubts have been intensified by the experience of a knitting friend and by my own eyes.
When we were in Bath last September I purchased enough yarn to make this garment, when we got home I knitted the tension swatch, got gauge....this is important...my gauge was totally spot on. I looked at the schematic for my size and decided to knit two sizes bigger as I wanted a loose fit and I had the yarn to do it. I cast on. I know garment knitting with me is always a long haul, my early enthusiasm wanes very quickly as the rows get longer and the work gets heavier and bulkier, and this one also had the downside of moss stitch which I love the look of but hate knitting.
I worked on this fairly regularly, it was a slog as it is bottom up and knit in one piece (back and fronts all at once) but I slowly inched my way up the rib, the boring stocking stitch to the moss stitch and the cables. I divided it at the armholes and finished the back. I took it to my knitting group where one of my friends, who is a highly respected and experienced knitter, told she had had a bad experience with this pattern coming out very small! I worried. I laid it out on another cardi knitted from the same designer, in a size smaller, I worried a bit more. I put it down and walked away.
Every now and then I'd pick it up, knit a bit, look at it and sigh and debate froggin it...but it was such a lot of work. So I carried onward and upward. Then it got abandoned completely with a back, 2 fronts and a sleeve....I knew it was too small.
A couple of weeks back, I hauled it out of the norty corner...tried it on, sighed, debated and thought 'Fuck it, I'll finish it and see.' So I started sleeve two. I also was niggling now at the colour, it's a mauve/rose with grey/green flecks. I had wanted to make it in green or grey but the shop didn't have the yardage in stock in many colours and out of the ones they had Mike reckoned this colour was more 'me'. But colour preferences change or mine do...and now I was regretting my choice.
I slogged on. I moaned - to friends and family in real life and online. I finished the sleeve and the edging bands. I got my Mum to try it on....it fitted her! She is a size 12 up top at most I am an ample 16 and I was making a 48 which should be looooooooooooooose on me. I had forgone buttons (I never button up a cardi) and altered it a little to make it edge to edge but it was too small. Mum joked it could be her Xmas present,which was an option, but I would have been grumpy if she'd ever worn it, cos I had worked so hard and it had fucked up plus she can't wear wool (it makes her itch) and this was knit in pure wool which also made it a fairly pricey fuck up too.
Finally I knit the collar. That was it all the knitting finished. I was seriously downcast. I rarely make garments as, for me, they are such a commitment. I decided to wash and block it.
A wash , two rinses and a roll in a towel later and I was ready to lay it out.....it had grown. I was pessimistic it would shrink as it dried and it still wasn't ever going to be a loose fitting 48...but it did look bigger. It has taken two and half days to dry. This morning I tried it on. It is not the loose baggy cardi of my dreams but it does fit and fit nicely (I knit the sleeves long as I like them down my hands) even the sleeves are OK, actually they are too big really around the top but that is better than the original sausage like fit.
This stroke of wonder is not down to patterns author, it is down to the yarn (which is different to what the author used) but as I got gauge...perfect, spot on gauge, the yarn sub should not make a difference. I dread to ponder whether this miracle would have occurred if the proper yarn was used and I wonder if anyone else (other than my friend) has suffered the disappointment of so much effort and a badly fitting result. Of the other garments I have made where the patterns are by this author I have had no issues with sizing. Just this one - I looked at the picture of the uber skinny models in their baggy loose fit Flyingdale Cardigans and realised that to get that fit.....I better diet for the next two years!
P.S. Still not sure I like the colour though!