Finished Object {Gretel Sweater}

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I don’t do winters very gracefully. Where we live in western NY it’s not only cold, most of the time we don’t even get to see the sun. I get so blue over the grey skies, frigid temps, and snowfall. Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate the beauty of a fresh blanket of snow covering the landscape and the peacefulness of a quiet night, softened by the gentle falling of flakes on your face. However… I can only “appreciate” so much of this before I’m ready for warm weather, green grass and that glorious sunlight. I tend to go into hibernation during the cold months, only going outside if 100% necessary (like getting my daughter to school and going to work). But otherwise you’ll find me under a million blankets with a hot beverage in my hand and more often than not some knitting. My productivity really plummets. And this long introduction is just me trying to say, I stink at blogging (consistently) and these are my excuses for not writing in so long. HA!

So, rewinding back to April 2017 I casted off an adorable little pullover for my daughter. She wore it a couple of times and that was it because I was dissatisfied with the fit. Nothing is more discouraging that putting hours and hours of work into a project to not have it turn out how you wanted. I’m not a knitting perfectionist… I’m okay with a small mistake here or two. I believe that it wouldn’t be handmade if there weren’t a few hiccups here and there but for something that doesn’t fit, this has to be remedied. So, I posted my FO photos on a thread in ravelry and expressed my concern to the group. One of the lovely ladies came up with an idea and I thought it was great, and it could possibly work for my problem. – – Insert a years worth of other knitting here – – and we’re in March of 2018 and I’m ready to tackle this sweater surgery FINALLY. So, stick with me and I’ll show you what went wrong and how I fixed it. But first…

The Details

This is a pattern by Nadia Crétin-Léchenne of NCL Knits in Switzerland. The name is “Gretel” and you can find it on ravelry here. It is a children’s pullover worked in sport-weight yarn. I choose a b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l colorway from one of my favorite indie dyers, Jackie Vlcek of Luna Grey Fiber Arts. Her yarns are always top of the list for me when I have a large project because they are so luxurious and beautifully soft. The base I used is called Nova Sport which is a non-superwash merino wool and the colorway is “hydrangea.” Go visit her here, you really won’t be disappointed.

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I love the finished look of this sweater with the drop shoulders and straight sleeves. The little pattern on the front is so darling. Construction was very easy as well, I had no issues at all with how the pattern was written. Back when I started this sweater I choose to make the size 4. Because it took me so long to fix it (a year) unfortunately she won’t get much use out of it. So we will wear the heck out of it this spring.

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So, what went wrong? This sweater’s construction is bottom up. So after you cast on, you work upwards to the armhole shaping, work the front and back panels, join the shoulders, and finally pick up stitches for the sleeves. One disadvantage (for me anyway) for working bottom up, is if you don’t get the length right prior to the armhole shaping, you’re out of luck. I prefer to work top down so the piece can be tried on periodically, and the length can be knitting to whatever you want. So I had a sweater that was pretty short on her. As long as she didn’t raise her arms (or move) it looked alright. Here’s a photo of how the sweater looked the first time I casted off…

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In the bottom right photo, take note of how the bottom edge is straight across. If you look at the whole sweater you can tell by it’s proportions that it is a little short. So, what’s a girl to do? Stash the sweater away for a year until I’m mentally prepared to fix it. OK.

So the really cool idea that the fellow knitter (from the forum) had was to rip out the bottom ribbing, pick the stitches back up, and work in the opposite direction until I had the length I wanted. But what to do about that front texture part… I couldn’t duplicate it working in the other direction. So, then she said to work short rows in the back to create length behind. Brilliant! So in short, this is what I did. But, don’t you know that you can’t simply unravel knitting starting at the bottom?! Oy vey. You have to painstakingly CUT every stitch or every other stitch directly above (or below depending on how you’re looking at it) the stitch you’re picking up, and pick out the yarn. Yup. Thank goodness this was only a child’s size 4! I have a video clip of me doing this but I am unable to upload it. Maybe you can access it by this link: https://www.instagram.com/p/BghcFToH5DU/?taken-by=rdpknits

After I had my stitches on, I choose a spot and went to work. I used German short rows along the sides and back (I think I did 8 total) and followed along with this cool tutorial to complete it.

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Here’s photos of it before blocking. You can see where my short rows added about 1.5″ to the length at the back and I also made the ribbing longer than before too.

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And here it is still wet, not even noticeable! I was slightly worried that the color wouldn’t match because this yarn is slightly tonal but it looks great. I am so pleased with the outcome of this sweater surgery.

My daughter was wearing it the day after it dried, and for whatever reason was playing with SILLY PUDDY……. need I say more?! I was a little distraught to see it caked in between the beautiful stitches. But, it was glue and water based so I let it dry, scraped some of it off and then soaked the area for a half hour. We were lucky because it came right out.

Anyway… if you’re still with me kudos to you! This was a long post but I wanted to give the details of how I completed the fix. So since I am obviously longing for summer weather, I’ll end with a few photos of my daughter wearing it last spring.

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Finished Object {Gretel Sweater}

FINISHED OBJECT {Pearla Sweater}

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I made this sweater a couple months before the pixie bonnet that I have shared in a previous post but it’s a favorite of mine so I felt it deserved it’s own post! I finished it December 2016. This is the second pullover I’ve made for my little girl and after much trial and error in the beginning, the end results was perfect. This piece is called the “Perla Sweater” and it’s designed by Alejandra Graterol. You can find this patter for sale on ravelry HERE. You can also find her on instagram as kurokiknitting.

The Details

The yarn I choose was Quince & Co. Chickadee in the colorway “sorbet.” This was the first time knitting with Chickadee and I must say I’m impressed. The face that it’s 100% American wool is also really apealling to me. (I liked it so much I am currently in the process of working on a bonnet collection made solely in this yarn). According to my project notes, I used about 162 grams of yarn which was just over 3 skeins.

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The sweater is worked top-down and it utilizes the tubular cast on. I love the finished look that this gives. The first time I made this it was very wide and was going to be too large on my daughter to even make it work. I ended up ripping it out and starting over and although I didn’t make clear notes as to what I did differently, I think I went down one size. I have learned one thing with this project and that’s that when knitting in this type of brioche stitch, it is much looser/stretch than regular ole stockinette stitch. But second time’s the charm. The designer even noticed my project notes stating I had issues and she reached out to me to see if she could help in any way!

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The raglan increases are so lovely and this textured stitch is really quite squishy and comfortable. My daughter loves to wear it.

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Just the other day we had an exceptionally cool day (in July) so I grabbed this sweater off the shelf and my camera too and we headed outside for a mini photo shoot. I was so happy to see that it still fit and I am hopeful that she will be able to wear it this winter, giving her two seasons out of it. Yippee!

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I know she’s mine but she’s just the cutest!

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FINISHED OBJECT {Pearla Sweater}