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Weighing the Options
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Weighing the Options

So, I finished Kris’s sweater.  I finished it with time to spare before our 7th wedding anniversary.

Woven Bands Pullover

All pretty in the close-up shots, right?  not so much in the modeled shots… so, you don’t get to see those until I figure out how to fix it… I guess you could say that I am disappointed.  Making the anniversary sweater is something I look forward to each year, and I want each one to be special and unique.  This one felt special while I was knitting it:  I liked the small linen-stitch detail and the wool was great to work with… but I guess I am not the biggest fan of the pattern. I felt that there were some details that the designer neglected to mention in the details and descriptions:

For one, the pattern never states that the pullover is elbow-length sleeves.  The photo in the magazine (Interweave Knits, Winter 2008) is slightly deceiving because the model has shirt cuffs rolled out of the pullover, giving the impression that the sweater’s sleeves are pulled up.  Once you look at the schematic, it is pretty clear that they are shorter sleeves (17 inches instead of the 21+ inches of an average man’s arms) but it would be nice if the pattern stated that somewhere, just in case people miss it or assume it is full-length… (I mean, it is not common to see short-sleeved men’s pullovers, so it is a fair assumption to make)  Since I did notice the sleeve issue early, I knit my sleeves longer – I had enough yarn, so this was not a problem for me, but if you don’t know…

Woven Bands Pullover 

Secondly, the neckline.  Since this pullover is knit from side to side, it is harder to envision the neckline as you are knitting because the garment is bunched up on the needles vertically.  I got gauge and followed the pattern, but I ended up with a very wide boatneck.  That was *before* I even blocked it. (Edited To Add:  One of the other knitters on Ravelry mentions a possible mistake in the pattern for the neckline increases/decreases…)  Once Kris tried it on, it looked like a woman’s boatneck top – and that is not what I was going for at all.  With all the seaming done and garment blocked to proportion, the neckline looks even bigger.  So, I am trying to figure out the best way to fix it.  There is some room on each side of the neckline where I could seam in 1-inch without puckering the neckline… but I am not sure that 1″ is enough to help the overall look.  Of course, I am willing to try it.  Picking up stitches around the neckline would not look right with the stitch pattern and the existing edges, so I think that is not really an option.

He could relegate this sweater to his camping trip/hiking sweater, but it would be nice for it to get a little bit of face time too.  The yarn is nice.  The stitch details are nice.  Hopefully with some little fixes, the fit will be better too.  I don’t want a failure sweater on my hands (especially not the first of the year – and for Kris!) and I even considered ripping it and just figuring out another use for the yarn.  Hmph. 

I am not trying to blame the designer for the issues with this pattern – I realize that there could have been some “user error” involved here too (i.e. *me*).  A few others have knit this sweater on Ravelry with relative ease, although others have noted the problems with the sleeve length and the neckline, so in that, I am definitely not alone… but theirs are also turning out to look better than mine!

I hope to come back with some good news (and a more positive attitude!) and nice photos to share after I do some more work on the pullover… stay tuned!

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47 Responses

  1. Harpa J

    How frustrating! But I have faith in you – you will figure out a fix for this I think!

  2. ames

    I’d say the pictures are definitely deceiving wrt the sleeves – I thought they were pushed-up sleeves, too. The neckline looks pretty wide in the pictures, though. Maybe this is one of those sweaters that you have to wear exactly as modeled? Hopefully you can tweak it to your satisfaction; I’d offer suggestions, but I have none. :x

  3. stacey

    Ugh! That stinks! I looked at the pics on Ravelry and the neck doesn’t look like a boatneck – I would have been thrown off to. And I have never heard of 3/4 length sleeves on a mans sweater! That is just strange! Good luck fixing it – I know you will come up with something!

  4. Kelly

    ugggggggh! I had this in my queue to knit for Moose…. now i’m not so sure. Hope you can figure something out so that its wearable for Kris! Good luck!!

  5. Preita

    Bummer! You know, I feel there are certain patterns that just kick our butts. It’s even hard to see others on ravelry that did the same pattern with out a hitch. The swallow tail shawl is still my achillies heel. I just can’t figure it out.

    I hope you are able to fix it with ease!

  6. Stephanie

    I love the color and hope you can fix it to your and Kris’ satisfaction. I looked at that pattern for my hubby, but he’s such a plain jane kinda guy that I’m first going to finish the existing sweater I have on the needles for him and then maybe try an EZ ala Jared. Or maybe socks. I think I need to start small for my guy.

  7. jen c

    oh that sucks! i never would have guessed it was 3/4 sleeves…because what man wears 3/4 sleeves outside of a baseball t? the boat neck is actually misleading in the pics too because of the shirt! double tricky. hopefully you can fix the neck into something that kris will wear and you will be happy with!

  8. ulli

    oh, that sucks. the sweater looks so good in the pictures – it would be a shame if he ends up not wearing it. but knowing you i an sure you will come up with a solution!
    on a side note – you are a FAST knitter!!!!!!

  9. Josiane

    How frustrating! Good luck in finding a way to fix it to your liking.

  10. mai

    oh i’m so sorry it didn’t turn out the way you expected. i hope you find a fix and i look forward to seeing some modeled FO shots!

  11. Aponi

    Wow, it almost sounds like the sweater was designed to be for women and was morphed into being a man’s sweater pattern at the last minute. I hate those arty, deceiving photos – I wish every pattern would include a normal, straight on shot of the garment without weird poses and accessories! So frustrating!

  12. Emilee

    I’ve never heard of 3/4 sleeves for a man either. The stitch detail looks lovely, best of luck making it look how you want it to!

  13. whitney

    Oh, I can so relate. I hope you’re able to fix the issues without a total frogging. Good luck!

    I find the idea of 3/4 length sleeves on a man’s sweater to be very strange, and was surprised when I found out that this pattern hard them. I guess my ideas about clothing are even more gendered than I thought!

  14. Kim U

    The sleeves thing was my first question when I saw the photos in the magazine preview. It was *very* unclear from the photos, and the 3/4 sleeve length seems very odd for a man’s sweater.

  15. knithoundbrooklyn

    Oh that is so frustrating. I’ve never heard of 3/4 length sleeves for a man!!!
    The stitch pattern initially attracted me to the sweater, but when I showed it to my husband, he wasn’t as enthusiastic. The thing I noticed about it from the start was the lack of ease in the design, which I figured could be dealt with? I didn’t see the sleeve and neck issues…argh!

  16. kelly-ann

    Oh, that stinks about the pattern. I did notice the really wide neck when flipping through the magazine at the store. At the time, I was excited to see a men’s pattern, but I am 99% sure my husband would only wear a crew or v-neck. As for the sleeves…that is so odd! I really hope you can come up with a way to make this sweater well-loved by your husband :)

  17. sixoneseven

    oh dear – it’s always particularly devastating when a gift knit goes wrong. i agree that 3/4-length sleeves on a mens’ sweater is strange.

    i’ll have to double-check the magazine photos when i get home, but could you possibly pick up stitches around the neckline, do some short-rowing to bring in the shoulders, and then just bind off in knit so you get a rolled edge, kind of like the bottom hem? i guess that would only work if the neckline needs taking in around an inch or less.

  18. Ingrid

    Aw. That’s a bummer. I can’t offer much help, but I can offer some encouragement! You can fix it, Lolly! I believe in you!

  19. Jessica

    Oh, I’m so glad you ‘tested’ this pattern out. My boyfriend really wants one, but I guess I’ll have to figure out how to fix the neckline before I make it. Boatneck sweaters for men seem to belong to fashion models. Not many regular guys are going to rock that neckline! At least the sleeves are an easier fix.

    Thank you so much for inparting your knowledge on this pattern.

  20. Jillian

    That does suck. I looked at the photo and thought it was a really nice sweater…until I saw how wide the neckline is! I didn’t even realize the sleeves were 3/4! Weird.

  21. Erin

    Oh man, I hate it when a pattern I have high hopes for doesn’t work out. I totally agree with you on the sleeves though–the picture looks like they are scrunched up. What guy wears a sweater with 3/4 length sleeves?

  22. Theresa

    I wondered about the sleeves when I saw the picture in the magazine and thought maybe the shirt sleeves were hiding too-short sweater sleeves.

    I hope you can fix the neckline. Sorry I don’t have any ideas. Just sending out some encouragement!

  23. Kamicha

    Oh, crappers. Hopefully you can fix it, I love the stitch detail!

  24. Cassy

    That is aggravating! I would also assume the sleeves were regular length. You hardly ever see shorter sleeves on men’s sweaters. Sending good vibes your way for the fixes.

  25. Jacey

    You’re right; the detail shots are stunning. I’ve been admiring it on ravelry, and the fabric is so interesting. Would added neckline, accompanied by some sort of v-neck be a possible mod? It may be nothing like what you envision, but it was just an off-the-cuff thought. Good luck!

  26. Nora

    Hard to tell from the IK pictures and Rav is down right now, but could you pick up stitches around the neck and knit them in the linen stitch pattern? It looks like the linen stitch goes all the way up the sleeves to the neckline, so the added band could be a continuation of that design element, connecting the sleeve bands across the neck. The sweater looks beautiful–good luck with fixes!

  27. Kristyn

    I am so sorry about this! How disappointing for you. Good luck with the fixes.

  28. Alice

    Hi! I read your blog on a regular basis and really enjoy it. I have a niece in Annapolis and she is learning to knit. Can you recommend a class or group for her? Thank you.

  29. Elemmaciltur

    I’m sorry that the pullover is not working out. When I first saw the pictures of the sweater, I already thought *urgh*. Anyway, I hope you can fix it….with your skills, I’m sure it will be a piece of cake.

  30. Lisa

    How frustrating! I hope that seaming up another inch on the neckline helps! Otherwise, could you remove the sleeves and reknit the neckline of the front and back? That way you wouldn’t have to rip the whole thing, just the offending neckline… You’re such a crafty knitter–I’m sure you can figure out how to salvage it!

  31. Renee

    All that work ~ it’s just annoying to have to adjust and fix things!! I’m sure you’ll figure something out though so you’ll be pleased when you’re done. :)

  32. Jenn

    Definitely frustrating, I hope you can find an easy fix! It’s really pretty, in a manly way, of course! :)

  33. Alice

    Ahh! That stinks! I know you will figure out a way to fix it. The color and stitch pattern rocks though!

  34. Leslie

    Oh, how frustrating! I’m not much of a sweater knitter, probably because I’ve never been happy with any that I’ve knit. The sleeve thing is really weird…I’ve never seen a men’s sweater that was elbow length. Good luck in making the adjustments!

  35. Debi

    I didn’t read all the other responses but how about this….?

    Single crochet and linen stitch look very similar. If this were my sweater I would single crochet 2 little “gussets” in each corner of the too wide boatneck to fill it in and then pick up stitches all around the “new” neckline and knit 3 rows ad bind off….the 3 rows will form a rolled edge and make the mods blend in at the same time pull in the neck without looking ugly or obvious.

    Email me if you need more info or some support :)

  36. Mom

    So sorry about the sweater. I ‘ll bet it will have a good finish, though, when “it’s all said and done”. I hope one of the suggestions here is just what you are looking for.

    I can’t believe it has been 7 years for you and Kris! The time has really sped by. I hope your 7th (Monday) was a good day! I am so proud of you both! XXOO

  37. Jennifer

    Boohoo! I’m so sorry. I must say, though, that I’m intrigued with the anniversary sweater idea. It would be great to copy… except I still haven’t finished the BF sweater from when we first started dating 5 years ago. I did manage to finish the BF Wedding Blanket this week (which he loves). There was no fitting involved in that. You are truly inspirational. Good luck with the fixes. I have faith you’ll make it all turn out right in the end.

  38. Nicole

    Oh no! Close up it is SO gorgeous! What a weird thing to have 3/4 length sleeves and a boat neck on a man’s sweater! These details are certainly “obscured” by the styling in the photo.

    I have no doubt that with your skills and eye for detail, you’ll find a way to fix it.

    Good luck!

  39. Wendolene

    That’s so frustrating! Seaming in the edge a little sounds like a good plan–I hope it works to your (and Kris’s) satisfaction!

  40. Jenna

    OMG, I forgot it was your anniversary! I’m sorry that I’m late to the party and, apart from the sweater, I hope it was a great day!

    I did notice the strange shape of the sweater in the magazine and wondered what was going on there. I wonder if it was supposed to be a women’s sweater, but they showed a man wearing it because they’ve caught flack for not having any men’s patterns in the last few issues. In any case, how disappointing.

    Would it be possible to create a gusset-style insert in the corners of the neckline, right over the shoulders? That’s the best I can think of…

  41. Erica

    I’m sorry the sweater didn’t turn out as planned. I wonder if the neck looks extra large because linen stitch isn’t stretchy? I just tried a saddle shoulder in moss stitch and ran into that problem…I ripped it all back and started over. If it’s an issue of stretch, then maybe a simple crochet reinforcement would help. I’ve used it a lot on pieces where I just want to firm it up a little bit. Keeping the stitches from stretching makes a surprising difference (sometimes a few inches!) and doesn’t bulk up the edge. The yarn harlot described the technique here:


  42. Diana

    Sorry this sweater is giving you trouble.. its so cute in the magazine! Maybe there is a reason they styled it with a collared shirt…

  43. disentangled

    what a bummer! those are always such disappointing realizations to make. luckily it sounds like you have some fix options to explore before you decide whether or not to rip. good luck!!

  44. Sarah

    Hope the fixing is going well, such a shame and doesn’t it seem worse that it’s the first sweater of the year, carzy really , a pain whenever! Happy New Year to you and I hope your hats are being more fun.

  45. Stephanie

    Aww. That’s just sad. I hate it when a sweater isn’t all it’s supposed to be. You’re a good little soldier for trying to figure it out. I bet it looks really awesome when you’re done.

  46. mary lynn

    hey went to the John C. Campbell Fold Art School this morning, we are on a rode trip. It was very,very interesting. love, love your

  47. Walden

    I agree with you one the sleeves, not sure I realized they were suppose to be so short, I kind of assumed they were pushed up also. I think the boatneck look is suppose to be that way. If you look at the first picture in this link to Interweave it looks like a woman’s sweater kind of on backwards.

    Sorry it didn’t turn out the way you wanted it, but good luck on figuring out how to fix it.

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