As I mentioned last week, I’ve started working on a raglan sweater with the Kauni yarn that I bought at the German Raveler’s Meeting. The gauge came out a lot finer than I anticipated. I ended up knitting it on size 2’s, and getting about 8 stitches to the inch.

This sweater is going to take a long time to knit.

Despite the gauge, I was making a lot of progress. Three days of borderline obsessive knitting got me here:

Which is a pretty good start. Except that it wasn’t a good fit.

I don’t know much about raglan shaping (in fact, before starting this sweater I knew almost nothing at all). All of my reference books are in a box in a storage unit in Madison, so I used the internet to find a pattern for “The Incredible, Custom-Fit Raglan Sweater.” It sounded promising, and had a neat little set of calculations for short row neck shaping. In short, it seemed like a good general pattern.

The one thing that seemed off to me was that it never factored row gauge into the calculations, and the length of the raglan shaping seemed a little poorly defined. It was also a little bit strange that there were no calculations to determine how many stitches to add for the shaping; just an instruction to add 8 every other row. Still, I figured that it was a pretty good bet, given that the numbers seemed mostly reasonable and that I knew nothing. (I have to remind myself of this latter fact a lot when I knit from patterns, which is part of the reason that I don’t use them. I’m not always so good with the blind faith thing…)

In general, it’s a good pattern. I like the neck shaping. And I think that the raglan increases would have worked out as prescribed if I were using a normal raglan-weight yarn.

But I’m not.

With such a fine yarn, adding one stitch doesn’t get you much. Adding eight stitches also doesn’t get you much. So, my piece that should have looked like a flat rectangle instead looked like a small volcano:

Not such a good fit on the shoulders.

I also seem to have misinterpreted one of the instructions, and ended up with one set of increases that curved a bit and then veered off at a strange angle:

Asymmetrical increases paired with a very snug shoulder fit sealed the deal; it needed to be frogged.

This was made slightly more painful by this bad habit we have of estimating how many stitches I’ve done on any project that doesn’t feel like it’s moving quickly. If it takes you an hour to go half an inch (that last row in the picture clocks in at somewhere around 275 stitches around, and each little diamond is 8 rows, since four rows are mostly just slipped), sometimes it’s comforting to say to yourself, “well, at least that’s 2200 stitches.”

This, of course, backfires quickly when you suddenly realize that you need to pull all those stitches out. Ouch.

Branden helped me frog it on Friday night. It’s a two-strand pattern, and each color is used separately, so the easiest way to pull it out was to have him wind one ball and me the other, and to take turns winding on the two colors. The knitting was suspended in mid-air between us, and wandered toward one or the other of us depending on who wound their yarn faster, in a kind of unraveling tug of war.

Branden, though sympathetic, had a hard time concealing his glee at watching the erstwhile sweater dance back and forth between us. He said that it’s too bad frogging is so painful, because knitting is so much fun to unwind. I have to admit that some part of me agrees that it’s fun to unwind…just not the knitter part. At least he had fun, right?

I cast on again as soon as we finished, and am back past the short row neck again. And this time, I’m really hoping that there will be no new beginnings!