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  • In the parking lot of a quilters’ shop I once saw the simultaneously hysterical and sobering bumper sticker, “She who dies with the most fabric wins!”

  • Hilarious and inspiring. I would have never thought to do this to something I had knit.

    • It may not end up being something I should have thought to do, really!

  • “Folkloric freehand style.” 😀

  • Get out the scissors. Think of it like a steek.

  • Ann, do you really have 62 Alabama Chanin kits? I am impressed!
    Even more impressive is your backstitching. I had forgotten how wonderfully neat your hand sewing is. I also enjoyed linking back to see those wonderful shirts. Amazing work!

    I looked at the Ravelry page twice, that sweater does not exactly make the model look svelte (IMHO). However, Ann, the “after” side that you are modeling does look a whole lot better, and more fashionable. MKG’s suggestion to “think of it like a steek” is just what I had been thinking (although I have never made a steek in my life).

    Just to be on the safe side, I think that this begs the question WWTD? (What Would Tantesophie Do?).


    • Diane, I figured by the time I go, I’ll have 62 Alabama Chanin kits . . .

      • 😉

  • I knit one of my first sweaters for my daughter when she left for college. It was admittedly an “oversize” pattern, but we could hold a small cocktail party inside it. I used Lopi (love it!) and thought of washing it in hot water to shrink it – but couldn’t bear to ruin the beauty of Lopi. I’ve carried it around to several LYS for suggestions…nothing! I could steek the center seams, but the armhole and sleeves…not so sure. I’m watching your plastic surgery with baited breath to see how you solve the “what next” problem. You’re a very courageous knitter, Ann – thanks for sharing!

    • I think I’ve located my sharpest scissors, so we’ll see what happens next.

  • That is a phenomenal before/after snap. So much so that at first glance I was baffled by your happy expression until I read the words and realized it *is* a before and after snap, and not a very oddly-fitting sweater. The transformation is remarkable! Kudos!
    Are you going to make it reversible? I would really love to see it with all those flossy ends a-dangling ans a-tangling. I imagine it as vaguely botanical. A magical garden cardigan. A Magical Gardigan.

    • Gardigan!

  • Do you have a friend with a serger? That’ll get rid of the excess and give you an overlocked seam at the same time.

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    • A serger sounds so precise. The vagueness of this project cannot be overestimated!

  • Love it. Seam it up with your new machine and steek that sucker. I love it!

  • I gave my Emmeline away after a year of thinking it would look better. Rowan model isn’t standing up for a very good reason. Now I think of all that Koigu held with Kidsilk Haze and wondered if it should have gone under the blade……nah.

    • Agreed on all that. I hate to be a negative Nancy, but you will never be happy even with the altered sweater because the shoulders are still in the wrong place. Call this a learning experience. I had a similar Rowan sweater that was too wide and was frogged after sewing up with basting stitches.

      Now that you are going to get more into sewing you can have fun exploring fit and construction. These skills will inform your knitting.

      • I wish I could link to my Ravelry page (can I? If anyone knows how to put links in these comments let me know). You could see another twenty-year old mistake with the exact same fit problem. It is supposed to have set in sleeves but it’s still too wide and behaves more like a drop shoulder. I feel your pain. If that whets your curiosity, go to Ravelry page NinaK and look for the hideous fisherman knit project.

  • I should never read before my morning caffeine fix. I read “floss” and “minty fresh” and–despite the photo–imagines dental floss! Dental floss. And the I imagined how you might use it to bolster a droopy hem. Kind of like knitting with wire on the brim of a hat.

    Very strange. FWIW, I say steek the thing. It can’t make it worse than it is–unworn and essentially unloved. The serger is a great idea. If you don’t know someone who has one, take the basted sweater to a good sewing shop and ask to test one out. Bring the cardigan.

    • I was thinking dental floss too and it was not a pretty image!

  • All I can say is I want to go estate sale shopping with you. The ones around here never seem to have a craft section. Well, except for that one from the lady in our guild…

  • If your backstitching is rock-solid and you feel confident about it, I say go ahead and cut off the seam flab. Why not? This baby has moved from “sweater” to “art project” and you might as well see what happens. Either way, you learn something. 🙂

    • Yeah, it left the garment world a while ago…

  • I knitted a pullover for my husband several years ago and now that he’s dropped a few pounds, the sweater is absurdly big. All that yarn, all that time…I can’t bring myself to donate it, knowing it would likely end up the size of a coaster the first time the next owner washed it. I found this post, http://blog.knittingatlarge.com/2011/01/sweater-surgery.html, and although I haven’t tried it yet, there might be something in it for you.

    • Please post an after picture. Would love to see. That sweater is indeed large! So much for the theory that top-down knitting allows you to try on for better fit.

  • This is voyeur knitting at it’s finest. With the added benefit of reading the comments cheering you on. I think Kristen is right, when you’re feeling reasonably confident about the seams, cut away and move from sweater to art project to wearable art with any luck at all. Await the next installment.

    • And of course it might just totally unravel, which might be a merciful end.

  • I thought you were talking about dental floss, too!

    I did this years ago to a sweater my mother had knit for my father. He didn’t wear it, and of course it didn’t fit teen age me. It worked, and I wore it to death. Good luck!

    BTW, I did it on the sewing machine.

    • Just wanted to add, think of this as a steek, and act accordingly.

  • Sewing machine another line. Then get your scissors out. Yard sales haven’t started here yet. We are just melting out of a freezing rain/snowstorm. A LOT of floss for 25 cents is amazing! That said, my local thrift store and I have a good relationship. A $150 sweater kit, never even wound from the skeins, for $20. Not bad. (and no, I haven’t started to knit it up yet. Not sure I like the pattern, though I adore the wool).

  • If you look at the model again, you will notice that the sweater is baggy and bunched up and the she is slouching down in that chair to hide her embarrasment. Maggi Rhigetti has a lot to say about model poses in one of her books.

    Model with arm behind her back or up in the air: something wrong with the sleeves.

    Model shown with arms akimbo: body is too wide but arms stretch it out to look ok.

    Model shown from the back only (yes, I saw one of these): front is a disaster, wear this sweater only when walking away from people.

    My Emmaline turned out too small (swatch? Nah.) so I sent it to my svelt niece. Never heard from her. She was probably too embarrased to wear it.

    • I thought of that Maggie Righetti book as soon as I saw that picture.

  • It’s a puzzle all right – the border and edges are so pretty, yet the fit is not exactly alluring. I like your experiments – add me to the list of readers who love your fearlessness. Not all of us have the courage. Also this is the first time I have seen the words “butt” and “Sharpie” in a knitting post.

    PS – Maybe those of us who will have embarrassing post-departure yard sales can get together in the great beyond, for mutual support and a good laugh.

  • 25 cents! Maybe this Jewish lefty east coast urbanite single disabled woman could live in Tennessee.

    Btw, I don’t think yours looked so different from the model. She’s slouched in a chair with all the excess pinned behind her & it’s still pretty baggy on her.

    • Come on down! Everybody else in the universe is moving to Nashville.

  • You have given me the courage to do the same with one of my vests. Only I think I’ll use the Singer. We spend all this time wondering how to steek, but a friend who learned to knit in Sweden just sews and cuts for the sleeves. No fussing around for her!

  • I would not put this much time and effort into this sweater. Taking it in helps it fit a little better, but that’s not enough to save it from itself. The style is frumpy, at best, and the colors are blah. Sorry to hurt your feelings, Ann, but my suggestion (other than lighter fluid and a match) is to give it to Olive or another pup to help keep his or her basket warm.

    • LOL! It’s an art project at this point, as Kristen says. Not too fussed about where this is headed; enjoying the ride no matter where it leads. And Olive? Olive prefers a pullover dog bed, so I’m out of luck there.

  • I knitted for a year on a cardigan that would have made a good SmartCar cozy. I am not a small person but I am NOT SmartCar-sized. I displayed the disappointing vastness at Guild and our Master Hand Knitter member suggested a light felting. I did that and it helped some but the thing still had enough room for a family of hippos in the armpitular areas, so I turned it inside out, used a sweater I like to draw new curves, sewed on the lines with my sewing machine, and cut out the excess. Because of the light felting I have had no crazy yarn escapes; it’s a sort of semi-steek. All I have on Ravelry are “before” pictures but trust me there is an after and it’s wearable. http://www.ravelry.com/projects/bookie/-241-neck-down-v-neck-shaped-cardigan

  • Post Face Lift Cardi looks so well rested! Amazing difference!!

  • Amazing! I can imagine how you’d edit this cardigan–way to go on forging ahead. Sometimes I forget that it really is a fabric we’re creating when we knit–and fabrics are meant to be cut.

  • I kept wanting to double tap the before and after picture. Oops. Wrong app. Amazing what a well fitting sweater will do for you. BTW, I’m in your fair city for the weekend. It’s my new favorite city! Absolutely love it. And I haven’t even made it to Craft South yet. I’ll be back for sure.

  • I actually rather like the sweater design—kind of a cross between Chanel and Norway. Thing is, to make it soigné, svelte, and all that, the Chanel aspect needs to be brought to the fore, I think, with a high, snug arm hole (there’s a nicer name for that bit where the sleeve connects, but I can’t remember what it is). I’ve held on to a Scandanavian-style sweater I made probably 30 years ago that cannot be worn. I must have been going for drop shoulders, but the yarn is too massive to drop, so the shoulders stick out like Samurai armor. For three decades now I’ve been meaning to cut it up and re-sew it, but with climate change, I’m not sure it will ever be appropriate anywhere below the Arctic Circle. It will likely end up, among many equally strange objects in my “estate” sale. I can picture browsers holding it up and shaking their heads.

  • It seems like a perfectly reasonable thing to do since that is what I did with my oversized Klaralund which I had knit to bear-like proportions (it was my first sweater). And being the former sewer that I was, I machine sewed over the basting and cut off all the excess fabric. Except for the sadness of wasting at least a ball of Noro yarn,I am very happy with it, And would never have gone to the trouble of frogging and re-knitting so even more yarn would have been wasted while waiting to throw it onto a passing bear. Your surgically corrected side looks like such a perfect fit it seems a shame to stop there.

  • Jumped in as usual without doing my “homework.” Decided to take a look at the Rowan picture and immediately saw what every Righetti reader realizes instantly as your Comments indicate. In your defense the model is posed in such a way as to imply “drape”. You have easily eliminated the bunchy drape under the arms problem but it is hard to know if you have also eliminated the “frump” per Anonymous Too’s comments. It’s such a quick fix to do the “steeking”, I, personally would do that and then decide how I liked it. If it wasn’t love at first sight after that quick surgery I’d stop right there and bag it for GoodWill (or turn it into a pillow). But that ‘s me, based on having wasted time on far too many unfortunately projects in my less-than- illustrious knitting career. Your mileage may vary. I’d love to know what you decide.