Tullia looked great straight off the needles. The fit was exactly what I expected and the whole sweater was to gauge. But something happened after I blocked it. The sleeves grew. The shoulders sagged and the whole stinkin’ sweater looked huge and ridiculous.
So, back to into the hot water it went. Then for a spin in the washer to squeeze out excess water and back to the blocking mat. It was all good until I put the sweater on for a few minutes and the shoulder stretched out again! I checked gauge and sure enough, the shoulder was stretched out to 3 stitches per inch instead of the 4.25 my swatch gave me.
To solve this problem, I took the sweater to the sewing machine and ran a piece of interfacing down the shoulder “seam” and then stitched around the entire arm hole. This provided much needed stability and it looks nice and neat. (See above picture.)
I got to thinking about the shoulder sagging issue. It’s happened to me before in a blue sweater that I once loved but now cannot wear because the shoulder is hanging down too far. It looks terrible and feels terrible on the body. Today, I’m going to soak it in hot water and reblock. Then, I’m going to sew in a stabilizer before I wear it again to avoid future problems. This blue sweater was even pieced and seamed but it didn’t stop the stretching out of shape.
Have you ever noticed that most commercially produced sweaters and t-shirts have stabilizers sewn into the shoulders? My favorite store-bought sweater does. I think from now on, I’m going to take a hint from them and add a bit of stabilizing to my hand knits. I’m guessing it will make a huge difference. Does anyone else add stabilizers to their hand-knitted garments?
And, if you noticed the wimpy shawl collar attempt on Tullia, do not worry. I am going to rip and reknit. I wanted the collar to be subtle but it turned out so insubstantial it looks ridiculous. But, this is how I learn- the hard way! 🙂
And, just for fun, I entered a contest on sewknitcreate.wordpress.com and won this beautiful handmade creation from Naomi. My husband was again a good sport and modeled the apron for me. Thanks Naomi!! (She’s got an interesting blog full of beautiful photos and projects!)