So close (and yet so far)

walpole chunky sweater

So hey, look at me, staying away from the laptop! I wish I could say it’s because I’ve been knitting until my fingers fell off, but that’s only a small part of the story. You see, my husband gave me the best gift I could have wanted: the gift of space. I’m setting up a new office for myself in a chunk of his painting studio, and let me tell you: That is a project. Over the past week, we’ve been deaccessioning, cleaning, reorganizing, building, assembling. And we’ve barely made a dent in it. Oy.

Meanwhile, yes, there has been knitting. But brace yourself, for this is a sad story. On Friday afternoon, knowing the next four days would be all manual studio labor, I decided to sit down on the couch with my Walpole and knit until I could knit no more. I really really wanted to have this done before the calendar flipped over to 2013 — perhaps even to wear it as I rang in the New Year. The night before, I had steamed the front panels, measured the relaxed fabric (good news: no need to rip out any of my work!), made a decision to change the proportion of the sweater (to a shorter length), and charted out my yoke decreases. All of which meant Friday afternoon began with the moment I’ve long been waiting for: joining the sleeves to the body. Those first few rounds after the union were a bit stressful (even more for the underarm stitches than for me) but I was soon sailing along.

By the end of the night, with just a handful of rows to go, I was able to pull the cardigan on for the first time. The armhole depth seems great. My decreases are working out beautifully. I could picture myself wearing it as the ball dropped. Yay me! Then I took it off, caressed it a little (have we talked about this yarn?) and my heart sank. Those last couple of rounds — it being quite late and there having been beer — I had somehow screwed up the I-cord selvage on one side. Those three brilliant, simple little stitches. Derailed in the most visible spot possible. I’ve tried everything I can think of to debug it, but to no avail. And I have no idea how to rip this out and get those three edge stitches and the working yarn oriented correctly. No. Earthly. Idea.

But wait — I wasn’t at all certain I’d be getting the yoke calculations correct; didn’t I leave myself a lifeline? Well, sure I did. You can see it in the wretched snapshot … all the way back at the union round. So I’m going to try ripping out just four rows and seeing if I can figure it out. But if anyone wants to place bets, the smart money is on my ripping all the way back to the lifeline. Sometime in 2013.


I hope everyone’s having a lovely and relaxing holiday season and planning a wild time tonight. I’ll be back tomorrow to kick off the knitalong!

19 thoughts on “So close (and yet so far)

  1. Aieee! So sorry to read that. Thank goodness you did leave a lifeline. Maybe there’s an ace knitter at your LYS who can help you fix the problem?

    I did zillions of lifelines in the brioche scarf because there was no one around who could help me if I screwed up. I expect I will do the same on the cowl.

    • I didn’t buy the yarn from either of the local stores (got it at Stitches Midwest) so they’re not likely to want to help.

      But if anyone reading this knows how to fix this particular flaw, let me know! Nicole, if you’re out there, I know you knitted the original Walpole. Do you know how to right the i-cord bit once it’s gone wrong?

      • Most of the yarn stores here have a “knitting help night” where you can bring in whatever project you have, regardless of where you bought the yarn. It brings people into the store and creates goodwill. If they can save you ripping back so much, it’s worth a shot!

        • That’s worth looking into. But I also keep reminding myself that I knit that whole yoke in one day. I should just rip it and get on with it, as Jo says. It was a long afternoon and evening, but still — it’s not like it’s my life’s work. I’m mostly just hoping not to have to do those stressful post-union rows again, putting all that strain on the underarm stitches.

  2. Oh man! Don’t you just hate when something like that happens?
    Can’t tell you how many times I’ve found errors many rows back.
    Just suck it in and start ripping!
    You’ll be glad you did.
    And Happy New Year

    • It helped that earlier in the day I had been reading Kay Gardiner hilariously live-tweeting her lopi yoke gone wrong (she switched to the wrong color at a ball change), and had seen the pics of it ripped back. I know it happens to the best of us. Just so frustrating that I got all the challenging parts right and screwed up the easy bit!

      Well, easy to knit. Not so easy to tink.

  3. I’m going to chime in here and say that I can’t even see where things went awry! It looks great! Maybe this could be your boozy sweater-each time you wear it, have a drink and forget your mistake :-)

    • Yeah, you can’t really see it in that pic. But unfortunately, it’s not the kind of mistake that can be overlooked or lived with. (I’m definitely not above overlooking a mistake here and there.) With this edge treatment — which is totally brilliant and my favorite detail here — once it’s off course, it’s just compounded with every successive row. I have no choice but to rip and re-knit — it’s just a matter of how far and how much.

  4. Oh what heartache! Having been in your knitted shoes before, I know that ripping back is such a painful thought but you know you have to do it. Your new sweater is looking so lovely so far … you’re nearing the finish line and every time you wear your Walpole, you’ll have a satisfied feeling that you make it PERFECT! Happy new year.

  5. Karen, Just wanted to say congratulations on getting ‘Room’. I am an artist so I know it is a big gift coming from your artist husband. Artists need peace with no distractions. I wish you the best with your beautiful sweater and your new work space. Your blog site has been a true inspiration for me and I have already made a trip to a yarn store for a New Year’s project!

    • I think it’s difficult for a lot of people to understand why that’s such a big deal, but it definitely is. A bit dicey, even, but we’re going to give it a try!

      What’s your New Year’s project?

  6. Pingback: New year, new cowl: State Street knitalong | Fringe Association

  7. THAT was excruciating to read. My heart is actually racing….even though I can’t see it in the picture. From where I’m sitting, it looks beautiful. That yarn is such a great color too. Perfect for this!

    I’m a little behind on blog reading, so I’m hoping there’s an update on this in the inbox, and everything’s good :)

  8. Pingback: The elusive chunky Walpole, with glamour shots and mod details | Fringe Association

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