Posted by: Kate | March 30, 2008

Sacre Bleu: A Knitting Quandary

I am verging on despair for this project, and hoping someone out there has some brilliant idea to rescue it. I’ve posted this to a knitting message board, too. Someone out there can help, I’m sure of it.

As background, my mother and sisters and I went to Paris last year. Before we ever left, I decided that my souvenir of the trip was going to consist of yarn purchased there, to be knit into a sweater upon my return home. Our first, jet-lag-hazed day there, we went to the Opera House, and I was reminded that I love the mosaic work on the floors there (Willem and I had visited during a backpacking trip in ’99 and I’d loved the floors then, too).

So I thought I’d combine the mosaic floors with a knitting pattern, and after much charting and erasing and planning, I cast on. I now have about 12″ of the body done, and back in October or so I put it away to make physical and mental space for Christmas knitting.

A few weeks ago, I pulled it out again. It’s still pretty, and still makes me think of Paris, but this time I realized something awful: I Will Never Wear This Sweater.

First of all, it’s very unlike anything else I ever wear. I typically wear solid colors, low-key sorts of clothes, both by personal preference and because, given the nature of my job, I think it’s best not to call a lot of attention to myself or my clothes/makeup/jewelry while at work. I might wear this sweater once, ever, and then it would sit, lonely and sad, in my closet, and I would feel bad about that because the yarn is so soft and lovely. But it’s simply not my style, and forcing myself to finish the project won’t somehow make it be my style.

Second, it’s huge. About 48″ around the waistband. I prefer to wear roomier clothes, but not THAT roomy. It would have been a more appropriate size at the time I cast on, because since then I’ve lost about 25 pounds (at the time, I was down 15 pounds from my heaviest and hadn’t given much thought to potential ongoing weight loss).

So, now what? I can’t rip it out and redesign another sweater – possibly something with stripes that I might be more likely to wear – because in the finished area, I’ve already woven in (and, yes, I’ll admit it, in some places I got lazy and tied the yarn). Frogging isn’t just an emotional hazard here, it’s physically impossible.

Thus I have a tube, about 48″ in diameter and 12″ tall, that needs to become something other than a sweater.  The whole project has been carefully bundled back into a bag and tucked away in the craft closet until I can come up with a better plan than sitting on the couch and staring blankly at it.  The best idea I can come up with, so far, is to bind off what I have and steek it into two messenger-style bags, each about 24″x12″, to use myself or to give to my sisters.

Any ideas would be much appreciated.  Anything.  At all.



  1. I like the messenger bag idea. Hopefully the knitters out there will help you out!

  2. Why not finish the big ol’ giant tube. stuff it and make a pillow? Or is that too obvious?

  3. I was thinking you could steek to untube, then knit another identical tube, and they could be matching bookends on a nice throw. I imagine the back of it isn’t pretty because of the Fair Isle-ing, yes? So you could back it with fabric of some sort, I know a knitter who did that with an awesome baby blanket once. 🙂

    But I’m not a knitter.

  4. I vote for making it a pillow.

  5. Felt it and do one of the above suggestions?

  6. Hey Kate! Save those clothes for the first couple of post-partum months. You’ll kick yourself if you have to buy new just for the few months getting down to pre-baby weight.

    Of course, I’m fatter than I was a few months after Sean was born, but…ahem…that’s just me.

    I must have almost-full wardrobes for the several sizes of me.

  7. Um, hello? Maternity Sweater!!!! No one cares what you look like pregnant, long as you’re dressed. It could be finished as a pre-need sweater. 🙂

  8. I’m definitely in the comfy-bolster pillow camp. It would be lovely. And you can recline on it and drink French wine and just. . . remember.

  9. I like the idea of two smaller pillows, if they would match your rooms at all. Can you felt it? Maybe you could make a funky handbag or something.

    I loved reading your travel blog. I jumped off a bridge once and forgot to tuck my arms in. The underneath of each arm was bruised for months. Hope your black and blues are healing nicely.

  10. maternity sweater sounds great to me…the baby can be surrounded by the bliss of your travels as he/she grows in you tummy.

  11. Sooooo, how impossible is “impossible”? I have frogged several sweaters after weaving in the ends. It requires a little patience, but it’s doable. Of course, if what you would be left with are a bunch of smaller lengths of yarn and nothing long enough to knit with again, then frogging wouldn’t make much sense. In that case, I like the idea of pillows.

  12. […] the Well That Sucks category, I’ve accepted defeat on the Paris Opera House sweater and will eventually turn it into a pillow. After I find the right pillow (I’m thinking IKEA, […]

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