Starting off on the wrong foot

Maybe it’s bad luck to start a project that’s so public by talking about my largest and most frustrating crafting failure to date. Maybe, but I’m doing it anyway.

This was my first sweater. This is also the first project for which I made a swatch, and the most ambitious lace project I’ve tried.


I loved the bright, fun turquoise and the lightweight lace pattern. I also loved that, even though I’m usually a toe-up socks and top-down sweaters kind of knitter (read: poor planner and fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants crafter), I had plenty of this lovely wool gifted to me by my sweet friend Stephanie. I worked quickly and I followed the pattern (also not my usual forte), and I was SO PROUD when I finished sewing the pieces together. I finished the binding off and planned to block the thing before making the button band, because it just made sense.


Then I lost my mind for a crucial minute.

My sweetie was working overnight, and I had most of Saturday at home by myself, so I tried to tackle a list of projects. Sweeping, food prep, editing a manuscript, laundry… Laundry. I’m still kicking myself for this. Since most of my ten or so years of knitting experience is with small projects like gloves, socks, and hats, and I usually use yarn that’s either still somewhat in the grease or specially made for socks (read: ridiculously superwash/somewhat synthetic), I’m usually quite happy to toss my nearly-finished projects into the washing machine on very cold and very gentle cycle. No problem.

Well, as I’m sure you can tell by now… Problem. This was my first knit FO with this washing machine, and more importantly, the label for this yarn is in Chinese. Not only was the washer not actually on super-crazy-mega-gentle, the yarn was much more shrinkable than I thought.


I didn’t cry when I pulled it out of the washer, because I didn’t have enough energy. I was so sad and in so much disbelief that I didn’t have room in my brain for it to send those impulses to start crying.

No amount of stretching or blocking will fix this. I’m on to the next sweater now, but this tragedy has been hanging around our dining room since that fateful morning, casting its shadow over all my subsequent knitting projects.

I’ll be alright. There’s more yarn. There’s even more of this particular beautiful turquoise yarn, probably just about enough for another sweater if I make the sleeves a little shorter (which is what I wanted anyway).

Hey, I already have the swatch, right? It’s not like I’m likely to make another one of those anytime soon.



5 thoughts on “Starting off on the wrong foot

  1. So glad it was you and not me. They’d just have to put me away if I did that. You have my only sweater flop. My first lace sweater meant to be 3/4 sleeves on a 5’4″ girl fits YOU perfectly as long sleeves. And that’s after frantically crocheting faux seams all over inside to shore it up. Bamboo and silk have no memory, and that means “never stops stretching out into infinity”. Wool and you had the opposite problem.


      1. Fair?! I mean, I did it to myself, it’s not like the circumstances were beyond my control.


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