Frogging, frogging, frogging

I guess the fact that there are no reviews of this cardi on Ravlery should have warned me off.  This is the Shelburne cardigan from Knitting Fashions of the 1940s, by Jane Waller.  The initial decision to frog it came when I finished the first sleeve and pinned it all together to try it on.  That’s when I discovered that I had forgotten to make note of changing the length of the ribbing.  The right front ribbing is several inches longer that the left front and the back.  Oops!  I went ahead with the pinning and tried it on.  YUCK!

Since this books has no diagrams of the finishes pieces, nor finished garment measurements, I took a gamble and made it up in a size smaller than recommended.  This book appears to be one of several knitting books that has resized vintage patterns for a “modern fit”.  All of the modern models look straight from the 1980s or early 90s, with large, unfitted sweaters.  I even used some of the fitting tricks I learned from last year’s knit-along.  I narrowed the shoulders, raised the waist, ect.  Even with raising the armscye, look how low it is!  So, I will be frogging the whole thing.

Please excuse the pony tail and lack of makeup.  After nursing my son back to health, he lovingly gave me his Strep throat.

Here’s the original.  Isn’t it darling? I’d love to take a look at the original pattern.

Something else that I’ve learned from this project: I think cotton yarn is unsuited for vintage projects.  This yarn even has 20% wool blended in.  It just doesn’t have the elasticity needed for a tight fit.  The ribbing is supposed to be snug, but on my version, it’s not.  In fact, the only vintage knitting projects I’ve been happy with the fit have been made with 100% acrylic yarn.  I know the yarn snobs out there are cringing, but the owner of my LYS has seen what my hands look like after knitting with wool and declared it a “real allergy”.  It’s almost enough to make me give up knitting.  I hardly wore any of my handknitted sweaters this winter because they were too warm.  Perhaps this is just not the hobby for me.


About andreahg

I'm a stay-at-home wife and mom to two boys, a cat and two rough collies. I love to sew and knit with vintage patterns, primarly from the WWII era.
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6 Responses to Frogging, frogging, frogging

  1. babswife says:

    As an avid knitter — I have a few notes to share with you.
    Cotton yarn is a bad choice for sweaters — it tends to grow and is exactly what made our ’80’s sweaters so unconstructed. Another fiber to avoid (unless it is a blend with wool) is alpaca — but it is also MUCH hotter than wool, so that might not be a reasonable choice.

    Now for options. I’d suggest you look at silk as an option — perhaps even a silk blend. It will lighter in weight than wool, but can still be rather warm. (I’m hoping you have read or at looked at a copy of Amy Singer’s No Sheep for You.)

    For a fitted sweater you need a smaller gauge of yarn — not worsted, but actually more like DK or sport — which does tend to make sweaters take a year and day to knit. But keep this in mind — small needles, small yarn!!!!

    Finally, I’ve been knitting for years and I have made a ton of sweaters — I can tell you that in handknit it is much harder to match the fine gauge and fit of RTW or even machine knit. After years of trying to get the fine gauge look of the sweaters I love most — I’ve decided that my handknits are more outerwear.

    (oh and don’t throw the knitting out with this past winter….we didn’t really even have a winter. Up here in the great white north, we only had 10% of our normal amount of snow!)

    • andreahg says:

      I usually knit vintage sweaters in fingering but all these “rewritten” vintage books use worsted. The last fingering sweater I made took me about 12 weeks to knit. I love it, but it’s about 2 inches too short, so I only wear with under a jumper/pinafore.

  2. Gail Ann Thompson says:

    Try looking on a website She has so many wonderful old patterns you can order reprints or pdfs, in a few cases the originals. The cost is in pounds sterling, so there is an exchange rate to consider.

  3. Jen Anderson says:

    Well, this winter was not a good one for knitters. I never even got out any of my old hats, let alone felt the need to make a new one.

    I second the suggestion to read No Sheep For You. You need to find the right fiber to use instead. Then get a copy of Knitting From the Top Down, and copy the sweater in the book with whatever yarn you end up using. That way you could use whatever weight yarn you want, and try on and make adjustments as you go.

  4. I abandoned knitting sweaters because I had too many similar experiences to the one you just described. It’s been a few years now, so I may be brave enough to attempt one again but…so. much. work. and then to have to frog? Exasperating beyond belief. That color looks great onyou, though.

  5. Suzanne Schneider says:

    I have several forms of arthritis and had to scale back the knitting years ago. I learned how to knit as a young child. Vests, sweater, baby clothes, gloves, socks. I knit the European way which goes quite fast. Now I knit for hubby. He has size 13 EEE feet. Fun fun fun. His feet are cold in winter but after I made wool socks for him all is well. How about making socks for your fellas? Pick one colour for each guy and make two pairs. Knitting socks was very much a part of previous eras. 🙂

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