December 07, 2005

reconstructing willow - review of past knitting

top left to bottom right: still new and much loved; photographed recently, all worn out; clumpy big wool tufts and the fuzzy halo, bulky yarn's best friends!
purly started reviewing her knits from the past and i like this idea very much. so today, i am going to share my feelings of willow, the sweater that i knitted at the beginning of this year.

in case you are wondering, knitting life is not always peaches and creams at whispering pine. i have my own stumbles. hate to rant on such a merry moment of the year, but i must do so now. why? the weather is getting colder, many of you are probably feeling the urge to knit a bulky, cozy cardigan so you can look even more stylish apres-ski or whatever you choose to do stylishly. as such, i feel at least you need to hear from me first before you do.

so willow, i loved it so much when i was planning on making it, i got the yarn (100% full retailed price, mistake #1) and i started working on it almost immediately. the process was also much loved, those cream color, unspun wool intertwined with variegated ribbons could not be any more lovelier to a fiber ho' like myself. knitting on US15 needles meant instant FO gratification. i finished this knit in less than three weekends. i wore it almost immediately out to the public. and then, my love for it faded as fast as this past short winter that grazed alabama.

the unspun wool bloomed up very quickly upon wearing, thus the newness of the wool really disappeared before you had a chance to appreciate it. little fuzzy halo appeared every where. i suspect the amount the wool blooms is proportional to your body temperature. so, the longer you wear it, the fluffier this cardigan gets. very unpleasant indeed.

also, the big wool tuft only looked good until i washed it. all those snow flake like tufty stuff balls up and it really lost most of its original attraction. i think part of it was my fault, i washed it with wool-lite and rinsed it excessively. blamed it to my ignorance.

honestly, the whole fuzziness of the wool did not bother me as much as the shortness of the sleeves and the tightness around my arms. i knew the cardi was very form fitting and i sort of expected the sweater to relax and stretch, but, as you can see, it did not happen in my case. it just fuzzed.

the collar. it is really beautiful when you look at it, but in reality, it is way big. way impractically big. it does not hug so it has very little contribution to the warmth of your neck, but it does helluva job of adding on extra weight to the top of the shoulder. wearing this cardigan requires a lot of fudging and shuffling in order for it to look right. bleh. not my cup of tea.

but what to do then? i spent way too much money on this yarn, i can not just carelessly throw it away and i still love the color and the yarn. i can even learn to like the fluffiness. so, the plan is that i'm going to rip it apart and reconstruct it (thank goodness i always buy an extra skein of yarn!). i'll make it roomier, collar a bit smaller, and i will keep those lovely, lovely buttons as they are the only thing i love about this cardigan right now.

think twice, my dear readers, before you put hundreds of dollars on a bulky knit sweater. they look lovely on rowan models and all, but in real life, it's a different story. i'm sure mine may be a bit on the extreme end, and i do intend to make more bulky weight sweaters in the future. but before i do it again, i will definitely study the yarn a lot more and will try not to knit impulsively.

please feel free to share your thoughts on ribbon twist yarn, willow, or any other bulky knits. we can all use a little exchange of hate, or ideas.