Finally, she made her diagnosis. "Well, I've got got good news and bad news. The good news is that this can be fixed. The bad news is that you're not going to want to do it. But you should."
Her prescription entails the following (see diagram below):
- Keep the yoke as is (whew) since it fits well across my bust, back, and shoulders.
- Scrap the rest of it. :-(
- Start with the neckline. Remove the ribbing and add another round of decreases in dark blue before adding the brown ribbing. This will help close up the neck opening and lift the entire yoke up. She didn't say this, but I think I should add some short rows to the back of the neck so that the neckline fits better, too.
- Try on the sweater. Pinch the sweater under the arms to get a real-life measurement of what the armhole depth should be. This is probably two or three inches below where the yoke ends.
- Cut off the bottom of the sweater below this point and pick up the live stitches.
- Although I originally knitted the sweater from the bottom up, I would now reknit the sleeves and body from the top down, trying the garment on as I go to ensure proper fit and length.
- Start with the sleeves and knit down, re-creating the fair isle design and ribbing as I go. Ensure that both sleeves use the same number of stitches.
- With the remaining stitches, knit the body back and forth in rows from the top down, including the ribbing.
- Add the plackets and buttonholes.
- Finish with a cardigan that I know will fit because I have tried it on four million times during the knitting process.
I created this pattern using Sweater Wizard. I probably should have done designed the garment from scratch given how things turned out. I don't know how the program's calculations work, but I suspect that when I increased the hip measurement, the software automatically moved the armholes downward. I've checked my gauge and it's accurate - 5 spi. I don't know how this went so off track.
So my verdict is in: I'm going to do it. I can't believe I'm signing up for knitting more miles and miles of brown stockinette. But I want it to be right. Plus it will be an interesting lesson learning to remake a too-large sweater into a garment that fits.
The LYS lady advocated strongly that I knit the entire bottom of the sweater in 2x2 ribbing, but she's nuts! The last thing I want is this thing clinging to me. Plus I want to make a classic sweater, one that matches the original sweater my mom gave me so many years ago. The LYS lady isn't into classics; we have very different taste in knitting, patterns, yarn, and color. But when she's right, she's right, and she's right about remaking the Handstrikket.
So I'm going back to the drawing board - and lots of brown stockinette. Whining about stockinette will commence in three, two, one...