In April I started knitting the Slanting Gretel Tee from the Fall 2009 edition of Interweave Knits Magazine. I love the design of this sweater and have enjoyed working on it. However, due to some sizing problems, it has taken a lot longer than I planned.
There had recently been a KAL (knit-a-long) on knittingdaily.com for the Slanting Gretel Tee, so I read some of the posts. Some people were saying that the pattern ran big, so since I usually make a size 32", I figured the size 30 1/4" would be perfect.
I cast on and knit blissfully for two months until I finished the lower body and then tried it on for the first time. That's when I discovered it was way too big. I had made the smallest size in the pattern, and my gauge had been correct, but it was a few inches bigger around the waste than I wanted it to be. Naturally, I was reluctant to undo two months of work and start over. I thought about just making it for someone else. After a few days I decided that I was not willing to let my work go to waste by creating a finished product I was not satisfied with. I unraveled the whole thing.
The pattern said to cast on 196 stitches. I decided to make my smaller version with 172 stitches. I also ended up changing the shape of the sweater. I realized that the pattern produced an A-line shape that started out wide at the bottom and gradually got smaller, so that it was closer-fitting at the bust line. Since I am a small person who doesn't like to wear loose clothing, I wanted to make it wider at the hips, smaller at the waist, and wider again at the bust, resulting in a close fit that would complement my shape.
I tried my sweater on more frequently this time. In the pattern, the chart for the lower body includes five decreasing rows. I only did the first two decreasing rows. (Since I was starting out with fewer stitches, I did not want to decrease too much.) My next resizing move was to increase eight stitches for the bust line.
I am now past the bust line and working on the sleeves. It is fitting really well, and I am hoping to finish it in a few weeks. I am really glad I decided to start over. I will have a sweater I feel more confident about wearing, and I learned a little about altering a pattern to fit my shape better. Even though I knitted for two months before realizing I needed to start over, I don't feel like it was time wasted. For me, knitting isn't just about the finished product. I enjoy the process, and practice is never a waste.