I knit my husband a wool sweater a couple of years ago. I used a basic sweater pattern and invented my own striping, with my husband’s input. We were both very pleased with the final result, except for one thing: the yarn we picked turned out to be scratchier than we thought. He couldn’t keep the sweater on for more than five minutes, even with a T-shirt on underneath. It made him itch like crazy. So the sweater sits in the closet, folded up on a top shelf, unworn and unloved. Unless you’re a knitter, you probably can’t imagine how much this bothers me.

My husband, being the supportive man that he is, really wants to have a hand-knit sweater that he can wear. So back in the summer (July? August?) we found a pattern he liked, carefully chose a yarn with more acrylic than wool, and that had a nice, soft feel to it, and I got to work. We are now nearly mid-February, and I’m still knitting this damn thing. (For the record, the scratchy sweater took about a month.)

Part of the problem is the pattern is dull as dirt. It feels like miles and miles of stockinette stitch with no shaping, no stitch pattern, no colour changes. Secondly, the yarn is a DK weight with a gauge of like 50 sts per inch. (I might be exaggerating just a tad.) I don’t normally undertake sweaters with this small a gauge, so progress feels painfully slow.

Then I made the mistake of trying to alter the pattern a bit to make my life simpler and ended up making it harder. My own fault, really. The sweater is standard construction of four pieces — front, back, and two sleeves — all sewn together in the end. Well I dislike sewing, so I thought I would at least knit the sleeves in the round and save myself a considerable amount of sewing. Only problem is, when I got to the assembly instructions, I learned there are sleeve gussets to knit and sew in separately, and in order to sew them in, the sleeves have to be flat, at least for the two or three inches closest to the body. So I had to pull back both sleeves by three inches and re-knit them flat instead of in the round. See? My own fault – I should have read the instructions to the end before starting. But that’s like reading a whole recipe to the end before you start cooking. Who has time for that?

So with the gussets done and the top few inches of the sleeves re-knit, I figured I was in the home stretch. Wrong. I’m not sure if I made the sleeves to big around, but there’s no room to sew them onto the body and still have room for the gussets. (I also sewed one of the gussets totally wrong and had to pull it out.) This project is turning into a neverending nightmare and I’ll be glad to be rid of it. As soon as I figure out how to sew the pieces together. Hopefully soon my husband will be able to proudly wear his new, soft and snuggly, hand-knit sweater. He should have at least a few days to wear it before spring comes . . .

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