The Sweater From Hell

Like most relationships, it started out so well. We hung out together every day for several hours, we went on trips together, we made memories and watched movies and spent quality time with friends together. We were inseparable. But then, about five months after we met, everything went horribly, horribly wrong. I am speaking, of course, about this:

I hate you.

Let me back up. This time last year I was studying abroad in Dublin freaking Ireland, and it was amazing and wonderful and I miss it every single day (for more info, visit my other blog, The Fair Green Isle). When packing for my trip, the amount I could bring was very limited, so alas, most of my knitting supplies had to remain behind, scared and lonely in my childhood bedroom. But I was going to be there for four whole months; I couldn’t just NOT knit for that long! So one of my first orders of business upon stepping foot on the sweet, winding streets of Dublin City was to scope out a potential temporary LYS (Local Yarn Shop). And boy, did I strike gold. In the Powerscourt shopping center off of Grafton Street, there was a small yarn shop charmingly named This Is Knit. It was bright, cozy, and had very friendly and knowledgeable staff: I quickly made myself at home.

Doesn’t it look inviting?

I had an idea for a project while I was in Ireland: to make myself an “Ireland” sweater. Knit with wool from Ireland, needles from Ireland, I would make myself a long, thick, warm, cowled, cable-knit sweater, and I had found the perfect pattern several weeks previously in a European knitting magazine back at home. I was undaunted by the fact that the needles were from England. I was unphased by the fact that I had never attempted a sweater of such complexity before. I was in Dublin freaking Ireland, and I could do anything. How wrong I was.
By the time the semester was half over, I had the front and back of the sweater completely finished. It was a little odd with its variegated brown colors, but I was love with it, and I was euphoric in my triumph. Only the sleeves left to go! I would have it finished by the time I got home, and then have all summer to worry about blocking it and sewing the seams before it got cold again. Hooray! Then, approximately 30 rows in to the first sleeve, I did a small double take. There were five edge stitches on one side, and six on the other. How could that be? I went back through the pattern, scrutinized every stitch I had made. They matched up. But I MUST have missed something, so I frogged the sleeve, gave it a few days to give me fresh eyes, and tried it again. This time 18 rows in, I had seven edge stitches on the right, and eight on the left. What was going on? Five tries later, I had had enough. I was defeated. About the third attempt, I began trying to just fudge the pattern, make it work, cast on an extra stitch, something, anything, to get me through this stupid sleeve. It all ended the same way: a pile of crimped yarn, cruelly unbound, lying in a puddle in my lap.
The Debbie Bliss yarn, Glen, pre-puddle.
After I got home, I took this pesky pattern to my real LYS, Northampton Wools in Northampton, MA. The owner, Linda, sat with me for a half hour, looking it all over with a practiced eye. Eventually, she told me there was simply a mistake with the pattern and that I would just have to fudge it. A mistake! I’m not crazy! The person writing the pattern (upon whom I now wish great personal ill (just kidding)) made a mistake, and made me waste tens of hours on an asinine problem – but I’m not crazy! I quickly went to the magazine’s website to let them know of the mistake and see if there was anything on the forums for solving this problem – finally – FINALLY – I might get some answers! And then, after all my agonizing, all my searching, when I thought my pain was finally at an end, I got a tiny little email, letting me know ever so sweetly that the editor’s inbox was full, and my request for access to the forums could not be delivered. After much cursing and a small (read: large) temper tantrum that was awesome to behold, I threw the stupid thing in a bin and hoped to never look at it again. 
Early this semester, nearly a year later, I briefly picked it up again and tried to figure out where I was, remember the pattern again. It felt brand new again, and for a bit I thought I might actually make it. However, finding myself becoming immersed in the old frustration, I quickly allowed myself to get distracted by an awesome lace shawl (to be featured in an upcoming post), and here it lies, still, to this day, a sad little unfinished sleeve.
I still want to finish this sweater – very much so. Maybe some day after graduation, when things calm down a little bit (yeah, right), I will take another crack at it. For now, anyone who has any knowledge of the Charlotte pattern from Verena magazine’s Winter 2010 issue, please let me know.

What knitting – or writing, crafting, painting, etc. – skeletons lie in your closet? 

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Filed under Ireland, knitting, Northampton Wools, Sweater from Hell, This Is Knit, Verena Magazine, yarn, yarn store

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