Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Little Man, Big Sweater

The lopapeysa isn't the only thing I've been knitting, but it's the one thing I can show you.

Vetur

Having now shown it, I will confess that almost everything you see below the yoke has been ripped back and is being re-knit.

One of the great advantages of working from the top down is that the sweater can be tried on while still in progress, without any danger of this happening. For interim fittings to be of genuine benefit, however, the knitter must be able to make honest assessments of his work and correct as needed. I, perhaps due to an excess of enthusiasm, was unable to face facts until I'd nearly completed the ribbing at the hem. Denial, as I was saying to Kevin Spacey and Ryan Seacrest the other day, is a powerful thing.

The problem? The front was fine, but the back had enough extra room to park a couple of minivans, one of them pulling a trailer. It looked like that flap of skin mother dogs use to carry puppies around. This, in spite of my attempts to head off exactly such an outcome by dividing the work at the underarms with considerably more stitches in front than in back.

Man knits; God laughs.

It's startling for a guy to become a knitter, take stock of his measurements and realize that he requires what his dressmaker grandmother taught him is called a Full Bust Adjustment. Even if it does indicate that all those bloody bench presses haven't been for naught.

In a ready-t0-wear sweater, I might have let it pass. I'm accustomed to store-bought clothes not fitting properly. Commercial menswear lines consider stocky fellows under five feet, seven inches to be flights of fantasy, like the Loch Ness Monster or Mitt Romney's moral compass.

But there's no such excuse when I'm making it with my own hands. Rip I must, and rip I did; and the results will be worth it in the end.

I can't sign off before drawing your attention to the length of insipid pink yarn that's holding the live armhole stitches–you can see the ends hanging down. It came from a gigantic ball of shoddy acrylic I picked up years ago, when I still believed that yarn was yarn was yarn. I made three baby gifts from it, taught myself lace by using it for swatches, and have sliced off what must be miles of it in bits and pieces to use for class demonstrations, provisional cast-ons, stitch holders, and stitch markers.

The ball is still exactly the same size it was when I bought it. When Bill Clinton was in the White House.

This never happens with cashmere.

New York Calling

Online registration is open for my early December classes at Lion Brand Yarn Studio in New York City. This will be a first visit for me, and they'll also be hosting a talk/book signing the same weekend. The place is a kick–come and join us.

52 comments:

Rabbitch said...

A most excellent sweater. I may even just learn to knit one of these days ...

Beth Rasmussen said...

OMG! I have the exact same problem with a ball of sea-green acrylic that I picked up years ago. And yet the alpaca I'm working with can't run out soon enough! There has got to be a conspiracy somewhere...

kristy said...

just because you don't want it around , it will remain in your stash,Knitting Rule number 15, What you want will go what you don't want will stay with you forever,

Unknown said...

I totally agree with you about getting the fit right. Funny how we can be forgiving for RTW. I'm facing a ripping myself, having finished a back to a vest, adding an inch for good measure below the arm shaping, and now realizing it is too much, too bulky, etc. I feel guilty stressing the yarn...but it's gotta be done.

So, you used a little of the pink acrylic in the sweater? I can't tell for sure it's the color in the design. The wool is ok with that?

Cara said...

Mitt Romney's morale compass? My desk is now wearing my Dr Pepper. *snork*

Anonymous said...

We need to talk about mother dogs and how they carry their puppies. Private lesson.

Anonymous said...

Ryan and Kevin, giggle :)
-Tom

Seanna Lea said...

Your sweater, even knowing it has been ripped, looks awesome.

And at least you are getting a full bust adjustment for a reason more attractive than moobs.

=Tamar said...

No, no, Unknown, he didn't use the pink acrylic in the sweater, he only used it to hold stitches temporarily. Acrylic is great for that.

WonderMike said...

That sweater is awesome and will be EVEN MORE AWESOME with your brave assessment and ripping. I can't wait to see the final product on you. Photoshoot anyone?

Bonnie said...

I thought about suggesting you put the acrylic near your favorite yarns so perhaps they will learn the magic, but what if they learned bad habits as well? Much too dangerous. Good work being the boss of your sweater! Ripping out is HARD.

Claudia said...

Beautiful sweater.
Admirable will-power for ripping out and re-knitting.
Hilarious commentary (esp. Romney comment). Thanks for the laugh.

JK_in_KC said...

Inquiring minds want to know just how you will make this full bust adjustment so that things will come out better the second time around. Even a knit humorist can do a tech post once in while. Please?

jeanne said...

I have a skein of bilious mint-green synthetic yarn that I bought for making cat toys. I've slice off bits of it whenever I need to soak yarn recycled from one project to make another. Aside from making indestructible catnip mice, all it's good for is to hold big wodges of wrinkly wool together while they soak their way back to usability. I've had it for years - it never gets any smaller. ;D

Anonymous said...

Beautiful sweater.

leFiligree said...

the more you rip out = the more it will be worn in a 1:1 ratio. that's basic knitting statistics 101. you are adding life to the sweater, really.

seashells said...

I'm thinking you are going to look pretty Hunky wearing that sweater, especially after the adjustments. Love how the colors are working out together.

Mel said...

So...you're saying the adjusted version will have darts?

spider (ravelry) said...

gorgeous! now i want one too. love the colors!

Lynn said...

Now if you had said "the moral compass of Bill Clinton", I would have given you a hearty AMEN! The yoke on that sweater is astoundingly beautiful. Kudos to you for knowing what was needful to make the rest of the sweater worthy of that yoke, and for having the courage to follow through.

Anonymous said...

It's a great sweater, Franklin.

Isn't it wonderful that we are all such individuals, possibly barring moral compasses like that Romney guy, whom I momentarily thought you were referring to in your Halloween post.

[signed]
A mature 5'7" woman with legs as short as a 6 yr-old. All the sweaters look too short in pattern books, never mind RTW, and the pants always need to be shortened!

Colleen Fitzgerald said...

OH Hon, You know it would have been great for being 6ft. 2 in. plus size woman. Dang there goes another Christmas present. ;)
The sweater looks beautiful and warm. Keep up the Good work, and hopefully no more ripping. :)

KatKNits! said...

That's a yarn tribble, Franklin!

Love the Sweater!

And just be glad you're not like me, barely scraping 5'3", and carrying extra around the middle. Hate shopping for clothing...

Liz said...

I have a cone of pale yellow acrylic which also fails to die. Kilogrammes of yarn have been tied with this yarn prior to dyeing. Huge numbers of provisional cast-ons have been worked, to no avail. I think it's eating the good stuff to maintain its bulk.

Good luck with the sweater re-knit - it'll look wonderful when it's done.

Krispian said...

Good luck with the rest of the jumper. It will be worth it! It is a good thing that you noticed the extra room at the back.

I have the problem that my jumpers are too small. I measure to start off with, a few months go by and I cannot fit into them owing to Christmas or pies.

kathy b said...

Black just makes those colors amazing.....
nice work. Sorry you had to rip...
and the pink yarn...well it seems to have a life of its own eh?

tonya said...

Don't feel bad you're not alone. I may have to rip out 1/2 the colorwork in my self designed one 'cause I forgot to decrease between the 1st and second motifs. However denial is alive and well and I'm trying to make up for it by decreasing before and after the last motif...yeah, it'll work! Right?

Michele / akkasha said...

I am interested in the LB class but I don't see anything on their schedule. Am I just missing it somehow?

Unknown said...

Michelle - check the "workshops" section of the site. I think that's where I found it. Unfortunately, I expect to be in Boston and will have to miss the classes :(

Nigel said...

I've been wondering if a Lopapaysa would be too warm for Vancouver. Ever since your first posting from Iceland i've been coveting one. I suppose that a cardigan would mean that I could ventilate if it got too warm. I have downloaded a couple of patterns ("just in case", you know).

Michele / akkasha said...

Thanks for the info Unknown. Found it. Missed the obvious tabs at the top. *blush*

Gecika said...

Your strength for frogging is nothing short of amazing. I knit a sweater while my elbow was fractured, and even though it's far too big for me I can't bring myself to frog it. It got me through 3 very hard weeks!

Heather W. Torrance said...

It's actually kind of nice to hear that it's not just ready-made women's clothing that assumes an "average" size and proportions that don't fit real people.

You're not stocky, though. We've seen the addi ad in the magazines, and are thus qualified to say so.

Donna Lee said...

I, too, have a ball of white acrylic that I use to tie off freshly spun skeins of yarn and to be the leader on the bobbins.....

It's been in the basket for a very very long time.

Anonymous, too said...

A good ball of acrylic can be like a good ball of butcher's string -- you may have to search for it when you want it, but you'll never run out. That's one of the best things about acrylic other than its washability.

And I hear you on the fit. I once had a store's tailor tell me he would have thought my measurements belonged to Frankenstein's monster if he hadn't measured me himself. It wasn't my height -- I'm 5'9" -- but the proportions didn't seem go go together. Torso too long, arms and legs too short, feet too big, neck too skinny, etc.

FiberQat said...

I have no qualms whatsoever ridding myself of a persistent lump of acrylic in my stash. But I have two skeins of Interlacement Yarns dk superwash wool purchased when I was a knitting neophyte that has gone through several iterations of projects that end up being tinked.

I hope you find your right shaping.

Gecika said...

I'm commenting again because I'm actually losing sleep over wanting to knit a Lopapaysa so badly. I can only find one pattern online, and I'm not sure how easily it will adapt to a top-down pattern.

Sleepless nights dreaming of your sweater lol

Cheryl said...

tyvm , I have come back to re-read this several times as I realized I knit an intricate color work pattern mitten set with 2 different cuffs and now I need to re-make one. I hate owning that, but your fortitude and the laughs will keep me going....

gail said...

Franklin you are just too funny. I should know by now not to drink coffee while reading your blog!

torhild (in NL) said...

i find it just so clever how u knit from the top down. as a norwegian born, and 'the way i learnt to knit', i simply cannot get into my head how to do it. not to mention 'knit a sock from toe up'... looking forward to the result despite the 'humpback whale issues' (and ifimaysayso: nothing wrong with a bit of pink). have a great (knitting) weekend. tata

Sarah http://huggiedoeshomespun.wordpress.com said...

Great jumper (I'm English can you tell)! also makes me feel better about having to repeatedly frog back my latest make due to not concentrating and doing the pattern wrong...I also like the man modelling the jumper a couple of blogs down, is he available to buy at all good Finnish retailers?

Fe said...

What a beautiful, beautiful sweater! And I love the fact that you chose alternate colors to the ones traditionally used. Really, lovely work, Franklin.

Bess said...

I have a skein of pink acrylic "utility yarn" as well... it too, seems to be endless.

In your photo though, the contrast of the pink yarn is so strong, that before I ready the post I thought you had drawn pink lines in MS Paint to illustrate where the sleeve should go!

Anonymous said...

I have pink wool from the Reagan years. I think it is the color that causes eternal life.

Watercolor said...

"This never happens with cashmere"
LOL. Love it!!

Anonymous said...

so great to see you working on it; vive la knitting in unexpected places! you provided such a welcome diversion in my otherwise hectic day and have inspired me to get going on some other projects... love, the englishwoman who believes adamantly in knitting tension squares, no matter how boring it may seem.

Rosi G. said...

I have that same flap going on at the moment on a man's sweater I am (was?!) designing. It was meant to be a gift for another man, the Director of HR at my last firm. But somehow my husband decided to forget this piece of news and then get all Jealous Macho Man about it when I tried to tell his GIGANTIC CHEST AND BACK HAVING SELF that NO this sweater is not for him.

Now I have to rip back about 17" worth of knitting to insert some fucking short rows to accomodate his back. Fuck.

Dez Crawford said...

Scruff. The flap of skin mothers dogs carry the puppies around with? That's what it's called. It tightens up as the pup matures (unless you have a Sharpei).

Another coffee-spit on the bit about Mitt Romney's moral compass.

GREAT sweater. I t will look wonderful on you. One reason I love kitting is custom fitting. I a am five-foot-six female with WIDE shoulders and monkey arms. Always have to buy a suit two sizes up and have the pants taken in. If I wear a sleeveless dress I look like a drag queen who plays rugby for her day job.

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