Me-UNmade May

The recap of my Me-Made May pretty much exhausts all of my hand-made garments to date, so I’ve also been furiously knitting since mid-April to finish my first sweater before the challenge ends. I bought the pattern online from, Green T by Holly Priestly (also available on

While I was sick, I was able to finish the body and get the side seams and shoulder seams stitched together.

I used the pattern instructions for a 32 bust, but I don’t think my gauge was correct. The sweater (assembled without sleeves) fit rather loose, although the photo doesn’t clearly show the excess ease. The structure of the sweater caused it to hang about an inch or two away from my body. It might not have been as noticable if the shirt had been longer, but I was running out of yarn and needed to bind off.

Quick, to the internets! How do I deal with a sweater I knit too big?

Well, most people (blogs, knitting resources) suggest you just take it apart and start over. There were also a few blogs that offered tips on cutting and re-sewing the side seams with a sewing machine. I didn’t feel confident about being able to accurately cut the sweater, and it would have wasted a lot of yarn (and money).

The thought of dismantling something I had spent 2 weeks creating made me a little sick to my stomach (or maybe that was the yet-to-be-diagnosed ear infection). But one of the reasons I have taken up knitting and sewing is to create wardrobe pieces that I love and will regularly wear because they fit me. I knew I wouldn’t wear this sweater in its current state. I’d try to pull it off, but in the end it wouldn’t be as flattering as a smaller size.

I was frustrated. I have always been a perfectionist, sometimes to mentally unhealthy extremes. There were high school art projects that weren’t “perfect” in my eyes and I took those as evidence of my failures. Those thoughts passed through briefly as I was trying on the too-loose sweater, but I am getting better at repelling them. Sewing and knitting are teaching me patience and helping me accept mistakes as learning opportunities. I can always rip out a seam, or unravel a couple rows. Or I can accept a puckered seam as a minor mistake that won’t be noticeable to passers-by. “Imperfection” and uniqueness are part of the appeal of handmade goods.

So, after two days of deliberation I tore out the stitches, rewound the balls of yarn, and started anew.  This time following the smaller pattern size because my gauge was still off.

Now the body of the sweater fits more snuggly. The front cowl does not drape as much as it the pattern suggests it should, but I like boatneck collars just as much. And the tighter fit allows me to layer this under jackets. After a couple experiments with the sleeves (I don’t have enough yarn to make 2 elbow-length sleeves), I think I will keep this sweater sleeveless, perhaps with just the lace trim added to the armhole edges.

I LOVE the color. I chose it because it resembles the coloring of some yellow birds I’ve seen recently on my birding trips with Greg (Common yellow-throat, American Goldfinch, and Yellow-rumped warbler).

One of our backyard visitors–American Goldfinch, male

2 thoughts on “Me-UNmade May

  1. I think this is really also about what mistakes you can live with (or even appreciate), like the neckline, and what things are crafting “dealbreakers” that would make you not wear it. My crocheting usually doesn’t have much give so the wrong size would be deadly in clothing, but I don’t really care if a purse is an inch too narrow.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s