There have been moments when I just wanted to chuck Cassidy into the wheelie bin. She started out smoothly enough, but then there was that whole sleeve debacle in which I knitted three sleeves and ripped back and reknit one of them a couple of times. Then, after finishing the sleeves and having two of the three be the same size, I sewed them into the sweater and sewed up the side seams.
At that point I realized that, although I had measured carefully (or so I thought) while knitting the sleeves, the sleeves must have had a mind of their own because they were in fact about 2.5 inches too long.
My original plan was to simply snip of the bottom of the cuff, pick out the stitches, and finish with a sewn cast-off. But after a little thought, I nixed this idea because the ribbing on the cuff matches the ribbing on the bottom of the sweater, and I didn’t want to screw up the look because the design of Cassidy is pretty much perfect from a design standpoint.
So I bit the bullet and removed the sleeves from the armhole. Then I undid about 3/4s of the sleeve seaming, ripped back the sleeve cap and a couple of inches of the sleeve, then redid the sleeve decreases. Then I sewed the sleeves back in. Of course, I also had to undo about 3/4s of the side seems, too, so that I could easily sew the sleeve cap into the armhole. It was a lot of work, but it kept the design intact, and the end result is that the sleeves are now the perfect length. I know this because I was able to try the sweater on Emily last Thursday.
Since then, I have finished the hood, which was an adventure unto itself, completed the left button band, determined the button placement, and started the right button band.
Electric Blue Cassidy nearing completion
The hood gave me fits. It’s mostly a straightforward knit, but one part is tricky. Hoods are formed by knitting a rectangle, then folding it along one long edge and sewing it together. The other long edge is attached to the body of the hoodie.
On this sweater, the center cable panel is continued from the back of the sweater up the middle of the hood, so when you have knitted the hood to a certain length, you bind off all the plain knit stitches on each side of the hood and continue knitting just the center panel. When the center panel is long enough, you bind it off and then sew the plain-knitted edges to either side of the center panel. The trick is getting the center panel the proper length so that when you sew the sides to the center panel, the hood doesn’t pucker.
I ended up doing a lot of knitting, sewing, picking out seams, knitting some more, sewing some more, picking some more, cussing a lot, threatening Cassidy with the wheelie bin, cussing some more, threatening Cassidy with replacing the hood with a crew neck, and finally finding a good ratio between the bound of stitches of the sides of the hood and the rows of center panel. The seam is neat on both the public side and private side, and there is no puckering whatsoever. Once again, there was a lot of aggravation and frustration, but it was worth it to get the final results.
Fortunately, the left button band went a lot more smoothly than the hood. The “polka pickup” (pick up 3 stitches, skip one, just like dancing a polka) worked really well. I ended up with too many stitches, but I just evenly decreased down to the correct number of stitches on the first row of the button band. There’s no puckering and no holes along the picked-up edge.
I repeated the process for the right button band and will knit it the same as the left only with the addition of the button holes. I love the fact that Bonne Marie Burns knows how to place buttonholes on a knitted sweater. Hint: they do not go in the middle of the button band, but rather toward the sweater body. On an inch-and-a-half wide button band, the buttonholes go half-an-inch from the body edge of the button band. When the sweater is buttoned, the buttons will be in the middle of the button band and the two button bands will line up outside edge (on top) to inside edge (on the bottom). If the buttonholes are placed in the middle of the button band, the outside edge of the band on top will fall short of the inside edge of the band on the bottom and the button bands gap, pull out of shape, and look terrible.
Emily’s Electric Blue Cassidy will be finished in a few days, and I will be very happy to mark this project as finished on Ravelry. It’s not because I haven’t enjoyed knitting this sweater. I have. The design is brilliant, the directions are clear, there are no errors in the pattern, and the cables and shaping are fun and keep the project interesting. My only complaint with the design is that it is knitted in pieces, then seamed. I don’t like seaming and avoid it as much as possible. When I knit this sweater again (and I will probably knit one for myself someday, but as a cardigan, not a hoodie), I will knit it in one piece up to the armholes and knit the sleeves in the round. Then the only sewing I will have to do is setting in the sleeves and maybe the shoulder seams (unless I do a 3-needle bind-off, which is what I did for Emily’s Cassidy). Oh, yeah, and sewing on the buttons. 🙂
The other thing I would do differently is use a different yarn. I am knitting Cassidy with stash yarn, Québécoise from Schoolhouse Press. I’ve really grown to hate this yarn as I have knitted with it. It is very rough, although it does soften a bit when washed, and is suitable only for outer wear, for sure. I would not want this stuff against my skin. And it doesn’t hold up very well to being ripped out and reknitted, and when I was seaming the sweater, the yarn wore out from the abrasion and broke. I learned quickly to keep an eye on the length of yarn in my tapestry needle and to replace it when it started looking tatty. I’m really afraid this sweater is going to fuzz, pill, and otherwise look awful after only a few wearings. If Emily finds this sweater eminently wearable, I might have to knit her another one in a better quality yarn.
That’s it for today. I do have some other projects OTN and OTW, and I even have a FO, but I think this entry is borderline too long already, so I’ll shut my yap.
Please visit Tami’s WIP Wednesday to see what creative activities other folks are up to.