Sunday, December 26, 2010

A too-big Christmas

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas (for those of you who celebrate Christmas). We certainly did - with one exception: Tom's sweater is just too big.

Despite my best efforts, the sweater fits like a tunic rather than a pullover - and dudes like my boyfriend haven't work tunics since the 1500s.

We both like the sweater in principle, but the truth is, if the pullover doesn't fit perfectly, he won't wear it - and it will drive me absolutely crazy. The damn thing is both too big and too long, except for the sleeves which fit perfectly. Because it is a drop-sleeve sweater, the body is essentially two large rectangles with some neck shaping. This makes it a bit easier to alter; at least I don't have to mess with the armscyes. I've given the alterations a lot of thought. Here are my goals:
  1. Make the sweater eight inches narrower.
  2. Make the sweater five inches shorter.
  3. Leave the neckline as it is (it looks really great actually).
  4. Make no changes to the sleeves.
Here is my alteration plan:
  1. Cut apart the side seams and the sleeve seams.
  2. Using my sewing machine, sew a narrow and dense zigzag line two inches in along both sides of the body.
  3. Trim off the extra fabric outside the zigzag line. This will remove approximately eight inches from the width of the sweater.
  4. Reseam the sides and the sleeves.

These alterations will fix the width issue, but not the length. Like I did with my Handstrikket sweater, I plan to cut the sweater about two inches above the ribbing; this will shorten the sweater by five inches. I will then carefully pick up the stitches and then knit down to re-create the ribbing on the now-shorter sweater.

I think this should work. I wish I'd knitted it the correct size to begin with and I thought I did - I blocked it to size but it's just too big on him. I wish there was a controllable way to shrink sweaters but we all know there's not.

So this is my bad news. The good news is that we had a lovely Christmas. We spent the day relaxing, making crab cakes (we're Marylanders after all), playing with our toys, and watching several episodes of Six Feet Under. Even with the oversized sweater, we all had a perfect Christmas.

The boys really spoiled me. Imagine my surprise when I opened Michael's gift: a size 8, 24-inch circular bamboo needle. I couldn't believe it. Michael actually took himself to Michaels and picked out a knitting needle! I would have bet a large skein of cashmere yarn that Michael would never, ever venture into a Michaels store even though it could have been named after him. So his gift was a big surprise.

Tom, my true love, made for a great Santa, too. He gave me a 64 GB iPad AND a new watch that I'd been eyeing for three or four years but couldn't justify buying. Isn't he something? I knew the iPad was coming my way but he really surprised me with the watch.

All in all, I feel very blessed and very loved - and this is the very best Christmas present of all.


  1. I'f very leary of cutting that much out of this sweater.

    The sleeves look like the perfect lenght, but they look too full all the way down.

    It's going to change the placement of the cable/ribbing stripes too - makign them too far apart.

    I know you don't want to hear this...but I'd seriously consider ripping and reknitting. I think you are going to be disappointed with the end result if you try to cut it down and then you won't be able to salvage the yarn.

  2. aww gag me with a spork! haha I'm glad you had a great Christmas! I am sad the sweater didn't fit! :(

  3. Hi Julie,
    I'm so glad you had a good Christmas! What a sweet guy, surprising you with the special watch!
    The pictures of the two of you are priceless!

    I'm going to agree with Amy. That's a lot of improvising and then if it doesn't work out, the yarn is wasted.
    If you cut off the bottom and redo the ribbing,the top patterning will look too long compared to the bottom panels. It will throw off the lovely proportions of the whole sweater.
    Are you sure you can't shrink it without going too far?

  4. How disappointing! You could try pinning/basting the jumper, take a photo and see if you are still happy with the proportions as per the issues raised by other commenters. If you do go ahead with the steeking/seaming adventure - keep in mind that the sleeve construction with this style of pullover means that part of the body width contributes to the sleeve length. So it's probably worth checking if the sleeves get shorter if you change the body width.

    Good luck! Sue

  5. You look so happy've got a great guy there!He's a real keeper.
    I admire you. You do so much better and learn from your knitting than I. Before you know it, you are back to the drawing board..needles at the ready!
    I sulk for days.
    Thanks for sharing your great holiday time!

  6. I have actually done what you plan on doing to some other clothes and it does work.

    What neat christmas presents, hubby got an I pad and he is way enjoying it.

  7. I'd be a bit leery about fixing as you suggest because the neck hole will be too big. It needs to be made smaller too. Although its a lot of work, I think you will be happier if you reknit completely.

    P.s. came to your site via Ravelry..can't remember now which group.

  8. Oh nooooo! so sorry about the sweater being too big. I must agree with some of the previous comments though, if you cut some inches off the sides for the width, the sleeves will end up too short. Also the neck opening does look a bit too big. As bad as it sounds, I think it needs a re-knit. :(

    Glad you had a good Christmas after all though :)