Sunday, January 26, 2014

Cables, Frogging And In The Round...

Sometimes, things just don't work out as planned. The cake flops for no apparent reason. The car won't start. The dinner party you had prepared for weeks results in two of your guests being struck down with food poisoning - no, this has never happened to me (she lied)......

The same sometimes occurs with knitting. Not often, but sometimes. January 2014 has been one of those 'sometimes' for me. Let me explain.

At the end of last year I ordered this book.....

Now for those of you that have never heard of Amy Herzog, do yourself a favour and go check out her website Have a roam around and I think you'll agree that her designs are fab and her CustomFit software truly awesome. I digress....

This particular book is crammed full of amazing patterns but more importantly, her ideas about Fit to Flatter are both welcome and unique. It basically entails working out your true shape and knitting designs that both flatter it and fit you properly. How many of us have knitted sweaters that look great on the pattern only to be hugely disappointed because the arms are too baggy/tight, the neckline too high/low or the whole ensemble just makes you look like a sack of spuds! Amy to the rescue!

I chose to make this -

Simple, classic and cabley (my word meaning full of gorgeous cables)! I had some green-based self patterning yarn and I set to work.

I made the ENTIRE jersey. I was thrilled. Admittedly, it looked a little skinny but hey, that's cables for you. I convinced myself that once I had sewn it up, given it a quick wash and blocked it, all would be well ... 

It was not to be. I sewed up one sleeve and knew straight away that things were NOT going to work out as planned. I sewed up the shoulders and put it over my head. My head did go through the neckline but it was tight ... in fact, very tight. Once the back and front were hanging down over my torso it became obvious (even to a blind man) that there was no way in this life, in my next life or even in a previous life when I was actually an ant, that this sweater was EVER going to fit me. No amount of washing, blocking, praying or tribal dancing would make it happen. It just wasn't going to work. No. Never. Nada.

So I frogged the whole thing. For those of you that don't know what frogging is well, it's the subtle art of (a) admitting that as a knitter you've made a humungus mistake, (b) that you've wasted valuable hours of your life constructing something that with every stitch, a little voice in your brain was saying "It's too small! It's too friggin' small!!!!" and (c) confessing that with middle age you've grown slightly and are no longer a 34 ... or even a 36 ... I took a deep breath, admitted all of the above and unpicked like a demon.

Then I turned my back on Amy (I know it's not her fault but hey, sometimes you just need to blame someone else) and picked a new pattern. I chose this -

Like it? I do. It's Gabbro by Carol Feller (another inspirational designer) and although it's a very simple design, the detail is beautiful. See the cut-outs on the neckline and down the sides? If you can't quite make them out, go to the Ravelry link here and have a look at the pics. Stunning.

Not only is this a lovely design, but it's also going to involve a couple of new skills for me, not least knitting the sleeves on DPNs or using Magic Loop. With my sock experiments I think I've almost mastered DPNs so now it's the turn of Magic Loop. I'm quite looking forward to it but know that I'll need a peaceful hour or five, my laptop, plenty of strong coffee and permission from my conscience to swear out loud when it goes wrong...... But then again, what is life without a challenge?

This design is knitted from the top down and although the neckline is done on two needles, after that you switch to a circular needle which means VERY LITTLE SEWING UP AT THE END!!!! Yay for circulars!

I started this yesterday and have already charged ahead......

Can you see the neckline, the cut-outs and sleeve shaping? This is what I love about top-down knitting - you can see the sweater literally growing out of the needles! I've already slipped it over my head to check the fit and it's perfect! The shoulders sit where they should and all is well in my little world once again!

I shall return to Amy's design during the course of the year and this time I will knit the version not for the size I wish I still was, but rather for the size that I really am....... although I may well lose weight by then ....... and then again, maybe I won't ......

Til soon.


  1. Oh Dear! I hope jumper No2 is more successful!

  2. Oh my goodness I feel for you. And that awful sinking feeling when you try to persuade yourself it will be ok because it MUST be ok! Becasue you've spent so long making it and you've done the Mathis and everything. But it isn't. But at least you have got beyond the frogging and are on to the replacement already - great you can check the neck fit early on too! it will be stunning when you've finished it and all the more so Becasue of the history! Weather here is terrible - think I may take up your sunny gin and tonic offer by a SA pool! Happy Sunday! E x

    1. Thanks E! You know you'd always be welcome poolside. I have the ice and lemon all ready! x

  3. To me, "Frogging" means something else - the ornamental braid (originally fastenings) on a formal military uniform, such as "Mess Dress"!

    1. Hi Mark - nice to hear from you again! Thanks for the tip on frogging! I've definitely learnt something!!! x

  4. Frogging is the right term for yarn. Because you rip it, rip it. (ribbit, ribbit) Like a frog croak.
    I love the new pattern. The self striping yarn is much prettier on the smooth stockinette. How will you handle the yarn on the arms? The patterns will be different.

    1. Love the explanation of frogging!!! Thanks so much. Not sure how the sleeves will turn out with the self-patterning stuff but think it will be fine - I'm nothing if not flexible!!!

  5. Hello Laura
    Just discovered your lovely blogs, so much gorgeous knitting and crochet.
    I shall be back again !
    Kate x


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