2.24.2016

Knitting Fail: A Lesson in Yarn Choice!

I've knit my husband 2 sweaters successfully since I started knitting... one I finished a few weeks ago, and one back in 2010. If you have taken classes with me you may have heard about the first sweater I ever knit him.... no one has ever seen it, and while cleaning out the studio the other day (to make room for more yarn) I found it balled up in a bin of shame.

I've decided it's time to "let it go" (I'm practicing KonMari at its finest... this sweater does not bring me joy) but before I do I had to tell the sweater's story in all its glory so none of you make the mistake I did!

So, what did I do wrong? So many things, but really it came down to yarn choice.

It was like 2006, I was just learning to knit and I wanted to make Joelle Hoverson's Men's Zipped Raglan from Last Minute Gifts... it didn't look hard and I was pretty sure I could figure it out! So, I went to the yarn store and found the softest damn bulky weight yarn I could find... cause men don't like itchy yarn, right? So I settled on some Clekheaton and bought everything the yarn store had in the murkiest manliest olive green possible.

And then I started knitting.... did I do a gauge swatch? I think so? But I definitely did not understand anything about the properties of superwash wool.... or men's sweaters.... or installing zippers... or... (fill in the blank).

Needless to say, I just kept knitting, and didn't stop until it was done...
Come on... look at these sleeves?

And the zipper?
 
What the hell was I thinking? Why did I keep knitting? Why did I both to install the zipper? Weave in all the ends?
Did I think that would magically fix it? I don't think these questions will ever be answered. If only I had known the trick about hanging weights from the ends of my wet swatch while it dried... or maybe if I had already met Clara and taken her Craftsy class about yarn choice.

I'll never make a mistake like this again. Superwash wool has it's place, but not in a man's loosely knit ribbed sweater.... ummmm... NO! Maybe one day I'll reknit the sweater (I do like the pattern) in a yarn with a bit more memory that isn't quite so heavy. Then again, maybe not...

So, tell me about your worst knitting fail! Bonus points if you can show us a photo! (just include a link, I don't think my blog is fancy enough to allow you to post a photo) If you use social media use the hashtag #knittingfail with your photo!

16 comments:

  1. Well, your sweater is bringing us joy with your goofy photos!

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  2. This is so funny and so true as we all have our fails especially when we were learning. Mine happened back in 2006 when I found a beautiful long Noro chevron Cardigan that I loved. It was a special project as I had never spent that much money on yarn before. I worked on that sweater for 2 years. Did I get gauge? Of course not as back then I thought the pattern was all knowing (telling me which needle size to use). While I was knitting it, I would try it on and it was totally off but I kept on knitting it thinking it would magically change when it was finished. All I know is that once I finally finished it, it was hideous! I'm not quite sure what went wrong (although I think we all can guess that my problem was most likely gauge) but it was just the most gaudy huge sweater that I had ever seen. And I felt so bad as I had spent so much money on the yarn. I still loved the pictures of it in the pattern though and couldn't figure out back then why it didn't work for me.
    I then spent 5 years trying to rip it out in an attempt to repurpose the yarn but I got tired of doing that and at some point I gave it away. Wish I had some pictures!

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  3. Before I knew about gage i knitted a hat, right. Who can mess up a hat, right. My hat was too big for the jolly green giant. After that for about 3 years, I knitted only, many afghans. Now I knit Laura's projects, sweaters that actually fit someone. And people at the lys atually ask me for help

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  4. Before I knew about gage i knitted a hat, right. Who can mess up a hat, right. My hat was too big for the jolly green giant. After that for about 3 years, I knitted only, many afghans. Now I knit Laura's projects, sweaters that actually fit someone. And people at the lys atually ask me for help

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  5. Years ago I tried to make a vest that is done in a circular pattern from the inside out. Still don't know how I did it, but it came out just so so wrong...something about the increases done wrongly or at the wrong places. Anyway, the yarn is so pretty I saved it and someday I really will rip it all out and make something else. One of those things that sits in your stash for a long time!

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  6. Well, your sweater is bringing us joy with your goofy photos!

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  7. Your sweater is bringing me joy too and confidence to admit my sweater blunder! It was the Everyday Sky Hoodie sitting unfinished in my PP. I know I did a swatch because my notes say so but I know I didn't block it! This was back in 2012 when I didn't know the importance of blocking a swatch. The body is huge and the sleeves are cutting off my circulation (kidding on that part but they are super tight!). It currently sits in its corner waiting to be frogged.

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  8. I have had many knitting failures, but the one I remember the most, was very early on in my knitting journey. I was perhaps 9 or 10 (we all learned to knit very early on in Finland) and I decided to make my father a pair of socks. The wool was a hideous mustard color; very scratchy, fingering weight yarn. I don't recall much of the process - I certainly did not swatch, and the pattern probably was more of a recipe and would certainly never have included gauge or needle sizes - that is just the way patterns were in Finland those days. I just used double pointed needles that I had inherited from somewhere only God remembers (Mother did not knit). The resulting sock - and there was ever only one - was the densest, scratchiest, ugliest pieces of knitting I ever recall. It was perfectly proportioned, and very evenly knitted, but would have fit someone with about a size 20 shoe. I no longer have the sock and it was not in with Mother's things I went through when she died, but I still vividly recall the disappointment.

    Liisa - finnknitter

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  9. I have had many knitting failures, but the one I remember the most, was very early on in my knitting journey. I was perhaps 9 or 10 (we all learned to knit very early on in Finland) and I decided to make my father a pair of socks. The wool was a hideous mustard color; very scratchy, fingering weight yarn. I don't recall much of the process - I certainly did not swatch, and the pattern probably was more of a recipe and would certainly never have included gauge or needle sizes - that is just the way patterns were in Finland those days. I just used double pointed needles that I had inherited from somewhere only God remembers (Mother did not knit). The resulting sock - and there was ever only one - was the densest, scratchiest, ugliest pieces of knitting I ever recall. It was perfectly proportioned, and very evenly knitted, but would have fit someone with about a size 20 shoe. I no longer have the sock and it was not in with Mother's things I went through when she died, but I still vividly recall the disappointment.

    Liisa - finnknitter

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  10. You know, if you could find a nice walrus, it might look pretty good on him. I mean, you *are* petite after all.

    (PilotJoyce)

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  11. I love your pictures! I can't send you a picture of mine, because I frogged the whole thing and re-knit it. You can see the pictures of the re-knit sweater on my Ravelry page: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/pdxknitterati/to-the-cottage-pullover

    I knit the original for my husband while he was having surgery; my gauge swatch was tiny. The sweater was huge. You could put two of him in it. I re-knit it the following year because he was having another surgery. Sweater fit, and he's in good health ever since. (2007). Oy.

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  12. I wanted to make a dress for Mom with an entrelac skirt. I took my stockinette gauge, and did the math for her hip measurement and 28 in length. I learned that entrelac don't work that way, it lays on the bias. The skirt came out only 23" long, but a whopping 68" in circumference. I won't give away Mom's measurement, but two of her could have fit into this skirt! And, yes, like all good knitters, such as your very own self, I did knit the whole thing, trusting that it would magically snap into shape once it was off the needles. I recalculated the correct gauge using this massive swatch, ripped it all out, and remade the dress, with the proper sized skirt. When I gave it to Mom, she immediately asked if the skirt couldn't be removed, as she would prefer it as a sweater.

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  13. I consider this to be the old Laura. The current Laura would never make this mistake. And she taught us not to either!
    HilaryinSA

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  14. I had a very similar size problem with the first sweater I ever knit, also for my husband. But the error was totally mine and not the yarn's fault.
    I used Cascade in a cabled design of my own, but based on the Ann Budd sweater math book. I did a lovely cabled swatch of a goodly size, washed and blocked, and gauge measured over 2" in multiple places. All well and good... Until I failed to divide my math by the 2" I had measured over and proceeded to cast on over 600 stitches. After about 6 " I realized that this sweater could cover a very large hula hoop.
    Oops.
    I recovered it by choosing to steek and add side seams. It meant having to stabilize lots of ends, but that wasn't that hard really. And the work was worth it... he wears it constantly. In fact, it's time to do some repair work as he's worn it to the point of needing soe darning around the neckband!
    I don't have any photos of the hula hoop cover, but here's the sweater in progress post surgery...
    https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=4926511418538030340#editor/target=post;postID=3867858919270729572;onPublishedMenu=posts;onClosedMenu=posts;postNum=8;src=postname
    and the Ravelry page (I don't know if that's publicly accessible?)
    http://www.ravelry.com/projects/KathleenC/jeffs-sweater

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  15. Oh yes. Knitting fails! I know them well. It's part of the learning process isn't it? Most of my failed experiments have come in the form of hats. Until I learned how to get my gauge and calculate for a proper fitting hat, NONE of my hats would fit. They were always too big or too small if I simply followed the written pattern. Matching gauge is such an art and science. I still don't have that completely figured out, so I still to accessories where the time investment is not so massive. I posted some of my fails on my blog last week. If anyone is up for a good laugh, then you probably want to see this.

    http://pattymacknits.com/supreme-knitting-fails/

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  16. Oh how I wish I'd taken more expressive photographs of the sweater I made in the 1990s and finally frogged last year. I made it because I just had to have a Lopi sweater. Had to! I spent a zillion dollars on yarn and dutifully knit on it. I was aiming for oversize so I didn't worry about fit or gauge or any of those silly little time-wasters. I'm sure it would have fit if I had grown gorilla arms, a ginormous potbelly and enough underarm hair that I needed extra space to stash it in.

    This was 20 or so years ago and I have yet to attempt another sweater. I didn't even start knitting again until last year.

    My first-ever knitting project was also a sweater. I ran out of yarn and just stopped the neckline where I was. Unfortunately, I made it for my mother and she still wears it sometimes. Now that's love.

    http://www.ravelry.com/projects/kittybusiness/leaf-yoke-cardigan

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