I finally finished the baby hoodie!!!! This was definitely one of those projects that if I had not been making it for someone else I would have put it down to come back to later, with “later” meaning “never.” I re-knit the hood three times, sewed on two different zippers, and took off at least 10 misplaced rings. I’m sure there was more trauma, but I’ve blocked it out of my memory to retain my sanity.
Not that I am complaining! Because this particular project was so antagonizing, finishing it was that much more satisfying. We were at war and it won a few battles. I felt like moving forward and leaving in the mistakes; but eventually my sheer desire to produce a piece worthy of heirloom status took over and I unraveled inches of beautiful-but-wrong stitches.
The first piece to go wrong was the hood. Once I picked up the stitches from the neck and knitted the first row, I counted the number of stitches. Short by 3. I unraveled and tried again. And again. I am now convinced the pattern is wrong; however, I didn’t know that for sure at the time, and I finished the hood anyway. (Kind of the burying-my-head-in-the-sand tactic, which historically never works in the long run.) By “finished,” I mean I bound it off and sewed it closed. Finis. Next was the edging. I finished the entire outer garter-stitched edge along each side and on the hood, and mastered the kitchener stitch, which I’m not entirely sure I’ll ever be able to do without looking at instructions. So, I’m finally done with the sweater and ready to move on to the appliqués. Or so I thought. Having ignored the strange lump on the left collar while I was sewing on the edging, it was now time to face it: one side of the collar blended smoothly into the edge of the hood, while the other side jetted towards the neck as if to house a button. No amount of “reshaping” was going to fix this one, so I (gasp) unraveled it. This is a family blog so I’ll skip past what happened next. Let’s just say that the mistake was corrected and the next try was a success.
The second piece to go wrong were the rings. I was so excited about figuring out how to crochet onto a knitted piece that I forgot to look at the pattern for placement of the rings. I put rings of all sizes on the hood, and it was gorgeous! It seemed a little heavy for a one-year-old, though, and I got a sneaking suspicion that the author had not intended for that many rings to go on the hood. Turns out I was right. I unraveled all the rings and started over, this time looking at the picture.
The third (and, hopefully) final piece to go wrong was the zipper. The pattern called for an 8″ zipper, so I went to a fabric store. I went to the zipper rack in the middle of the store and was surprised at the seeming lack of selection: there were 7″ zippers and 9″ zippers, but no 8″ zippers. Settling yet again, I went with the 7″ zipper. I figured that in the zipper world it was better to have too little than too much. Like Cinderella’s glass slipper on one of the ugly step-sisters, it was an almost perfect fit. At a friend’s house that night, I carefully sewed on the zipper. The color matched the yarn perfectly, and–to my amazement–the sewing job looked terrific. I was so proud because the only thing I’d ever sewn onto a handknit piece was a button, which really is almost fool proof. Upon completion, I showed my friends the finished piece and slowly demonstrated that the zipper not only looked great, but was also functional. I carefully and methodically grazed the handle down the teeth, making sure not to snag any of the yarn. When I got toward the bottom of the jacket, though, I got a sinking feeling; and at the end, the zipper handle just stopped. Now, it’s been my experience that when the zipper handle on a jacket reaches the bottom of the jacket, it’s supposed to release the two sides of the jacket. Come to find out (thanks to my friend’s love of all things Google), I had purchased–and sewn on–a pants/skirt/pocket zipper. I’ll admit that I actually considered for a moment presenting it to the buyer as a pullover that zips. As if a one-year-old isn’t difficult enough to dress. Ugh. With a seam ripper in hand, I removed the zipper. I had been so close to getting rid of finishing this project.
Turns out that the only way to get a jacket zipper in Richmond, VA, is to purchase one online. Basically, it’s a zipper for doll clothes, which I think is hysterical! The good news? It’s 8 inches!
Catastrophes aside, I truly love this finished piece, and would make another in a heartbeat since I (usually) learn from my knitting mistakes. The finished product and sense of victory are well worth the struggles and frustrations. Here are some pictures of the heavenly sweater from hell!