A Stitch in Time: Cable Bolero

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Do you have that ONE project? That project that caused you nothing but pain and suffering pain and also did I mention the pain?

I bought the yarn approximately four years ago. I recently learnt it’s the colourway “erika”, which I find very pretty for a yarn that came from the deepest pits of hell to personally torture me. (I’m not even kidding. This is like the Darth Vader of yarns.) I was oh so young back then and went about my very first sweater project (how proud I was, oblivious of the years it’d take to have a finished first sweater from a completely different pattern) with unbridled enthusiasm. I had originally thought of a completely different pattern, soobeeoz’s Leafy Lace Cardi. In three attempts I never managed more than the first few rows: I’m inclined to attribute it to user idiocy, but on the other hand one of the comments on Ravelry calls the pattern writing “ambiguous”, which is pretty much how I remember it.

In the early autumn 2012 I frogged the entire thing and, after my big success with Enchanting in Black and White, decided the yarn was perfect for A Stitch in Time Vol. 1’s Cable BoleroPainfully learnt lesson #1: Always, ALWAYS check how many projects a pattern has on Ravelry. IF IT DOESN’T HAVE MANY EVEN THOUGH THE DESIGNER IS POPULAR IT’S PROBABLY NOT SMART TO KNIT IT ANYWAY. If you still want to try it, at least use your very best research skill to find out why (=read the project descriptions on Ravelry). If I could go back in time and slap my 2012 self for neglecting to do so, I’d be very very happy.

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FACTS: The stitch count is wrong literally everywhere in this pattern. Personally, I had no problems knitting the back piece, but I knit the first front piece three times and couldn’t get the stitch count in the armhole and neck shaping right. Never. (Someone on Ravelry had the same problem with back and front pieces.) Part of the problem for me was the description:

“ARMHOLE SHAPING

Cast off 8 sts at armhole edge, then dec 1st on every foll alt row until 60 (76, 92) sts remain.

NECK SHAPING

Cast off 8 sts at neck edge, then dec 1st on every foll alt row until 28 (44, 60) sts remain.” – Waller/Crawford, A Stitch in Time Vol. 1. Vintage Knitting & Crochet Patterns 1920-1949, Southport 2008, p. 292.

It took me a while to figure out I had to continue decreasing at the armhole even after starting the neck shaping to decrease to 28 stitches without producing a garment that would fit a giraffe. I’m not sure if that’s the solution, but it got me to a point where I had the same number of pattern repeats in the front and back, so you might want to try that if you’re knitting this pattern and are about as desperate as I am. Remember: It doesn’t matter how mad you get at the pattern, it’ll just be like “THAT’S HOW I ROLL, DEAL WITH IT”. The moment I gave up trying to figure things out (about a year after starting the project) I’ve had a much better time with this pattern; or maybe I’ve gotten mellow with age and the utter depression the sight of this asshole of a project caused me. But just as I thought I had reached the end of this ordeal, the pattern looked down on me and kicked me in the shin, the little bastard. You see, the stitch count ALSO doesn’t add up in the front bands and the collar, but at that point I just went “fuck it” and kfab to get the right number of stitches.

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However.

I shouldn’t have done that. I should not have done that. You see, it says “blocking is not recommended for this stitch pattern” in the book, which made sense to me, seeing as the little cable-y things with the yarnovers inside them were probably very prone to growing bigger after blocking. Neither the blocking nor the cable pattern were the problem, though. After (hand)washing it the second time, I seem to have stretched it too much when laying it out to dry – and the collar literally grew three sizes that day. You guys. I nearly had an aneurysm. There are a few pictures on my computer with me wearing the cardigan that are perfectly terrible, and by that I mean I looked like a troll. After washing it again, it mostly went back to its original size, but: if I ever knit this pattern again, which is higly unlikely after the grief it caused me, I’ll reduce the stitch count at the collar dramatically.

I’d also do different button holes, because these didn’t end up looking so good:

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After all this venting: is it all bad? No. In its current state I quite like it. The cables look really pretty and the colour is lovely and vibrant. The cardigan is nice to wear. I’d just not recommend, you know, knitting it. Save yourself the headache and cast on one of the other gorgeous projects in A Stitch in Time Vol. 1. Unless of course you’re a more experienced knitter than me, then knock yourself out.

I should perhaps also say that I have another project from A Stitch in Time Vol. 1 waiting to be photographed and I love knitting it and it’s totally gorgeous. I’m not always that negative! This book continues to be my favourite knitting book, even after this cardigan.

Pattern: Cable Bolero from A Stitch in Time Vol. 1 by Jane Waller/Susan Crawford

Yarn: Wolle Rödel Siena (Sport, 100% merino)

Other A Stitch in Time projects (click on pictures below):

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12 responses to “A Stitch in Time: Cable Bolero

  1. I LOVE that stitch pattern! And that colour is SO beautiful on you! I am definitely warned off knitting it though – it really sounds like a nightmare! Well done you though for actually finishing it – it really looks lovely!

    • Oh, thank you! The stitch pattern is really lovely and would have been a lot of fun to knit if it hadn’t been for the rest of the pattern. ;) I think at some point it became a matter of pride to finish it; I had invested so much time in it I was gonna wear it no matter what!

  2. I love your version and the colour choice! It’s good you managed to finish this cardigan because the efforts were totally worth it. *^v^*
    What was on designer’s mind when she created a sweater from wool and recommended NOT to block it?… How can you not block it even a bit, unintentionally, after washing it?… It’s obvious the fabric will stretch, maybe the cotton yarn would be better for this project.

    • Thank you! I’m really glad I did finish it, because now I have something pretty to wear after this whole ordeal, at least. :)

      You know, I’m kicking myself that I didn’t think to knit this in cotton myself – you’re absolutely right, this would be a yarn more suited than the 100% merino used in the original as well as in my version. (And I have no idea how I’ll prevent the cardi from stretching after washing actually … the last time I didn’t lay it out completely flat, but scrunched it up a little. It’s still going to be hard to avoid accidental blocking.)

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