Return to MDK

Discouraged—A Sweater Newbie


Hi everyone - while I am seeing all of these gorgeous pictures of Hadleys, I just ripped out 5 inches worth back to the ribbing because I forgot to do the decrease row and am going to do the waist shaping. I (wisely) tried it on and I hated the blousey shape, and this Shelter yarn (first time using it) is too nice (and too $$) to not have this fit just right.
The only sweater I tried to make for myself was 10 years ago and when I excitedly put it on, it was so WIDE it looked like a boat turned sideways. The cotton yarn didn’t help.
I know so many of you have done this before, and the frogging is just part of the journey, but I just need your words of encouragement. This kit was a present to myself after a heart scare and after a big musical performance, so I want it to be fabulous!!!


The Shelter will be much more elastic and lovely than cotton. When I have to rip back (as I frequently do) I remind myself that it could be worse if it was something I could not fix. Also since I like knitting, it is just more knitting. This does not always make me feel better, but sometimes it might. And then I have a cookie -if I am not doing the whole30.


There are many other sweaters out there that would use your Shelter and might have a shape you like better. Are you a Ravelry member? Search by yarn, Shelter, and the yardage you bought in this kit and knit the yarn into a shape you like better.They have thse side bars which will even let you search by number of colors typically sued in the pattern. I would advise picking a pattern which duplicates a machine made sweater you own and love. Good luck. I have made many sweaters and have done plenty of ripping out over the years, and then knit a sweater I loved.


You got this! Don’t let speed deter you. I recently went from being a project knitter to a process knitter. So when I had to rip back the entire second sleeve at first I was down but then realized who cares? I do this because I love to knit. And when you are knitting with really great yarn enjoy the knitting for knitting’s sake.
Good luck and share your finished result!


There’s always plenty of room on the frogging ship, welcome aboard. One of my knitting friends says ripping and reknitting your yarn makes expensive yarn more economical because you knit it twice, therefore the cost is halved. That’s my kind of rationale. BTW, the first cardigan I knitted could have been mistaken for a Smart Car cozy. I had to semi-felt it (because I couldn’t frog it, the yarn was too clingy to itself) and then sew up the sides and down the sleeves so it doesn’t look too much like I’m wearing a Barnum & Bailey cast off. It’s warm though. Guess who swatches now.


I knew you all would make me feel better! I’m at it again - I love this Hadley pattern and I really want to do it right. It is also double the knitting pleasure:)


My first sweater was also too large. My husband started laughing when he saw me try it on. My solution has been Amy Herzog’s great book You Can Knit That - I’ve realised all the things I did wrong with my first go and have chalked it down to a learning experience. I’ve knitted a couple of successful patterns from that book which gave me the courage to try this KAL. I’m still nervous about how my Hadley is going to turn out because it’s my most complicated sweater yet and I’ve never done colourwork or worked from a chart before.


You will love the shape of your Hadley when you do the decreases and increases. The fact that you ripped it back instead of just putting up with an ill-fitting garment shows that you’re going to be a great sweater knitter.


One of the wonderful things about knitting (or any handcraft, maybe) is that you get to be in charge of the outcome. If you love something that others might think is ill-fitting, “wrong,” or anything, you get to keep it exactly as you made it. If you don’t like something, you get to take it out/do it again/tinker with it/start over with another pattern. . . . 100% your call. When I came to see that power as the joy of making my own stuff for my own self, my attitude towards starting over again changed–

–which is a good thing because I have to do every sleeve over three times. Three. And I have been knitting for over forty years!

Enjoy being boss of your very own self.


You will love this sweater no matter what it takes to finish it! A word of advice from someone who has fixed and ripped back so many mistakes - read ahead in the pattern and keep some paper beside you and write out your rows for so you can check them off as you go. Especially when you get to the ‘at the same time’.
Also when you are doing color work put stitches markers in every repeat. That way if you make mistakes it’s so much easier to see what is going on. You can do it :blush:
Those are the things that help me stay on track.


:blush: love your theory about twice knit yarn being more economical. …


My first sweater was so small that I ended up giving it to be best friend (who is my height but very, very slender). That was about ten years ago and she still wears it. My second sweater, I went the wrong way and it’s too big. I also didn’t really know how to pick up stitches around the neckline, so there are some holes there. (Of course the yarn is half mohair so no way to frog and fix.) I wear it sometimes, but it’s not really me. My third sweater was OK - I didn’t do a great job on the sleeve caps, and it’s not hugely flattering on me, but it gets some wear. My fourth sweater was not well-thought out. A few years later, I redid the neckline, lengthened the sleeves (Who in their right mind knits a short-sleeve sweater out of Lamb’s Pride Worsted? It was never the right weather to wear it!) and body, and now I love it and wear it all the time.

My fifth and sixth and seventh and eighth sweaters are fantastic. I swatched, and blocked my swatches. I took the time to rip out and correct mistakes. I was careful in the finishing. They all get worn regularly. It feels like such a waste of time to rip back and redo, but once I realized how many more hours well-fitting sweaters spend on my body, it’s actually a small investment of time.

Good luck!


Most sweater patterns, in my limited experience, are designed to fit loosely with not much shaping. To get a sweater that doesn’t look like a sloppy sweatshirt you often have to make a size smaller than your body. This is called negative ease.
I do the math using my gauge to figure out how big around the sweater will be and that’s a better number than the pattern will give you. Measure yourself to see how that size fits on your bust waist and hips. That way you can decide for yourself how tightly you want the sweater to fit. Try it on often to check. Remember that gauge can change, measure it on the garment to check.

I completed my first sweater and had to completely frog it because it fit so badly.
My first half dozen hats ditto. I consider frogging part of knitting.


This was my first sweater and first time to read a pattern. I was concerned with how the fit would end up even though I knitted a swatched and washed it before checking guage. Sometimes the swatched guage reading differs than the actual guage while knitting in the round because you are alternating between knit and purl rows with a flat swatch piece. Some will knit an accompanying hat in the same yarn as the sweater to get a truer guage reading from knitting in the round. For this sweater I knitted the sleeves first so I could get guage reading from in the round so I could adjust the number of cast on stitches or amount of increase and decrease more accurately.

When I almost got to the Colorwork on the body I didn’t like the look of the left and right leaning decreases being immediately next to each other and frogged back 10" of body rows to put a knit stitch between those symmetrical decreases.


You can do this!
Take a look on Ravelry to see the shaping modifications that other knitters have made. Find a body shape that is similar to yours - wearing a sweater that fits how you’d love yours to, and see how they accomplished it.
There are many variations. :wink:


Thank you for sharing that. I often have to start a project 3 times – start! Now I won’t feel Quite as stupid.


Agree completely! I’ve been known to frog entire projects years later. Which reminds me I have some frogged cashmere to reknit the same hat at a better gauge for the yarn.

My mantra re mistakes generally and also frogging " it’s just knitting" relax! Rule No. 1 Knitting is 'spose to be fun; so make sure it is for you!


Thank you so much for that. Since some “size and shape” changes I’ve experienced, and which I am now resigned to acknowledging will forevermore be my new shape, albeit the size is surely going to go up, I’ve been especially reluctant to knit a pullover (last one was made on HS). But you have given me some real hope, amd even more important a little more impetus to just do it! Perhaps I need to heed my own advice from my previous comment/reply?

To MDK: I love the advice given to me about commenting. I shall follow it in the future. You really do think of everything!


I make almost everything two or three times – at least the beginning parts. :wink:


And thanks for that too!!

I just discovered I wasn’t insane honking my cord on size 0 needles was fatter than usual. It screwed up my sock toe (toe ups), but at least it’s only a toe. Now need to call KP. I may just use dpns instead.