Knitting Sedgemoor; or, It’s Not Over ’til It’s Over

This is the story of a piece of knitting that began nearly eight years ago, that hung around as a finished but unloved garment for six years, and that I picked up again and reworked into something that I really would wear last weekend.

It began when I fell in love with the garment on the front cover of an early issue of ‘The Knitter.’

It was the kind of knitting I am at home with – a garment knitted flat in pieces and rich with cables – and it was the kind of garment that would fit very well into my wardrobe.

It wasn’t long before I ordered the yarn and began to knit. The yarn – Fez by Debbie Bliss – worked beautifully knitted with needles rather smaller that those recommended on the ball band, It took time to knot so many cables and columns of twisted stitches but I was sure it would be worth it.

There was only one hitch.

It was only when I had knitted the back, one whole front and a good bit of another front that I realised I had worked one pattern repeat less that I should have before the armhole decreases. I put the pieces to one side for a while, but it wasn’t long before I went back, to rip out a great deal of hard work and re-knit.

It had to be done.

The sleeves were easy.

Luckily I saw the errata which said that the decreases at each end of the collar should be worked every row, not every other row as the magazine said.

I found some nice buttons, I did a little sewing and there it was.

It looked lovely, but after I’d worn it a few times I decided that the proportions were wrong. Maybe the sleeves should be narrower … Maybe the collar should be bigger …

My Sedgemoor lay in a chest until earlier this year, when I decided it was time to do some serious clearing out. I picked it up, I tried it on, and I saw it with fresh eyes.

The sleeves were generously cut, but they weren’t the problem. The collar was wrong!

At first I thought it was the cast-off that was the problem, It was very tight and it was pulling the collar in. I had more yarn, and so I unpicked it and did it again with a bigger needle. That was better, but I saw something else.

I didn’t like the look that the decreases that the designer chose for the collar –  decreasing a few stitches in from the edge – made those edges look a a little lumpy. I saw it on the pattern, and I saw it on Ravelry projects.

When I knitted the collar first time around I hadn’t learned about short rows, but with them in my knitting armory I realised that they were exactly what my collar needed.

The pattern is a 2 x 2 twisted rib, and so I decided that I would use yarn-over short rows, turning two stitches further in on every turn until the number of stitches between the turning points was the same as the number of stitches that pattern said I should have left at the end of the decreases.

I unripped the collar, I picked up the stitches again, and I did just that.

The difference is amazing.

The fabric is just a little more relaxed and the collar sits so much better now.

I’m not 100% happy, but I know that’s because I’ve learned a lot more about knitting in the years since I knitted this garment. And because fashions in knitwear and my tastes have evolved.

So I shouldn’t be thinking that it would have looked more polished with a tubular cast-on, that I could have mattress stitched the seams, that the collar could have been done completely differently …

I should be thinking that I have a useful addition to my working wardrobe, that the cables are gorgeous, that the wool is warm and soft, and that it seems to be developing a nice halo with hardly any piling.

You have to draw the line somewhere!

And I have a big project that is 90% finished that I must pick up again!

I should mention that the colour is a richer, darker shade than the photographs suggest, that the yarn is discontinued, and I’m not sure about the pattern. It’s not available individually but I’m sure that there are back issues of the magazine out there and the pattern was included in a special supplement with the Issue 100 more recently.

And, while I’m not going to change anything else,  I am thinking that if I come to a point when I know I’m unlikely to wear it much the body could make a lovely cushion ….

6 thoughts on “Knitting Sedgemoor; or, It’s Not Over ’til It’s Over

  1. Congrats for finding the one thing that would make the sweater better – you’ve done a lovely job with it! There’s nothing like finishing a languishing project, especially when a day or two of knitting can get you from lump o’ yarn to favorite sweater. Great work!

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  2. So impressed with your expertise, Jane…to see how a pattern could be improved upon takes a very good eye and a lot of skill. A gorgeous garment! I knit two sweaters that were exercises in patience and perseverance, and they don’t see the light of day very often, but my skills and confidence improved so they were worth the challenge and time.

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  3. A truly beautiful piece of knitting. And well done for finishing it to your liking after so long. Now I’m suffering from twinges of conscience about my eleventy-five unfinished projects.

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  4. Well done you, I would have thrown it out the window in frustration! I am still perfecting my finishing skills which is what always lets me down when I make garments for myself. Just need to practice more but currently in the middle of Knitting unicorns for Christmas presents.

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