A long time coming

One of my current goals is to end the year with fewer unfinished projects than I began it with. Several of the items that I have on the go have been hanging around for absolutely ages and there are various reasons that they have been put aside: sometimes I’ve got bored, sometimes I’ve realised that I don’t really like/need the thing I’m making, sometimes I’m awaiting inspiration/supplies, sometimes it’s just a long-term project (like the sofa covers) and sometimes it’s because something more interesting has come along and distracted me. One of my abandoned projects, however, was put aside because the pattern I was following was just so badly written.

I started crocheting this cardigan to wear for a friend’s wedding several years ago. I didn’t manage to finish in time, but I battled on with a less than easy pattern until I came to the edging up the front and around the neck. And then the pattern made no sense – I asked other people what they thought and no one understood it, so I contacted the designer, asking if she could send a picture or diagram showing how the motifs were put together. Her reply basically told me to fiddle around until it worked… easier said than done because the very small motifs were crocheted together, with the final joining round constituting a large part of each piece, so I couldn’t make them all and then try to assemble them like a jigsaw. In the end, it was abandoned.

I did revisit it, thinking I might be able to use a different approach with snail-like spiral motifs that I could sew together, but I hit problems again and so, once more it was put aside… until this year. And this year I am determined not to be beaten by any project… so I had a re-think. I looked at the cardigan and looked at it and looked at it. I realised what a very strange design it was and that I would need to use a completely different method if I was actually ever going to finish it.

So, I crocheted rows to fill the gap at the top of the back that was supposed to be filled with flower motifs that didn’t fit. Then I worked around the bottom edge, up one side, round the back and down the other side, until the front edges met, before adding a buttonhole band on one side and a button band on the other and finishing with a small shawl collar. I used some antique glass buttons that I’ve had for ages, to give a nod to the flower motifs that were supposed to characterise this cardigan (and do still run up the centre of the back). Currently it’s pinned out on the blocking mats, as the edges were rather untidy and crumpled and when I put it on Mimi it didn’t hang well.

I’m not sure, now it’s finished, that I actually like it – it looks rather frumpy – but it’s pure wool and therefore warm, so it will be fine to wear around the house if nothing else. Plus it is actually finished and so that’s one fewer project lurking out of sight.

Watch this space for more finished projects as the year progresses (there are lots of them).

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24 Comments

  1. Yay for being finished! And just think how bright and cheerful you will look when you wear it around the house.

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  2. Ann Pole

     /  March 3, 2020

    Hmm… Maybe the frumpiness is Meme. What does it look like when you wear it? I think it looks lovely when laid flat, but I do see what you mean when Meme is wearing it.
    Well done in persisting though.

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  3. I love the colours and full of admiration for how you persevered and finished it. I find hand made cardigans can look a bit dumpy, but super warm. I bet you wear it a lot!

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  4. Well done for finishing! Sometimes I have to put projects like this away for a while before I can see them without prejudice. Maybe you need to do this before you can appreciate what you have?

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    • I think you might be right about this – I am certainly not feeling well-disposed to this particular creation at the moment. I might tuck it away for the summer and see how I feel about it when next winter comes around. To make up for it I’m currently working on another crochet cardigan which I suspect I am going to love from the moment it’s finished.

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  5. It looks like the perfect extra layer to put on, to be comfy and warm. Well done for persevering.

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  6. I don’t think people should be allowed to put out patterns unless they’ve been thoroughly tested. What a lot of work you’d already put into it, to be stalled at the last moment by awful instructions. I like your solution to the problem, love the buttons, and I sincerely hope that once blocked and more shapely, you’ll find it more pleasing than as a sort of dressing gown. When you do finally put it on, could Mr Snail please provide a photo of the back view?

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    • Once Mr Snail is home I will get him to photograph me.
      And that is absolutely right about patterns. It’s such a cheek to charge for something that simply doesn’t work.

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      • I imagine that’s why any sensible pattern designers ask for volunteers to test the pattern before it’s launched… for workability, and for level of skill.

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  7. As somebody else has said – it looks rather pretty laid out flat but not so great on the mannequin. I think you could still change your mind and, if not, you could just be frumpy around the house. My friend and I have been making a cartonnage house-shaped box from a magazine in French that has been translated from Italian though that doesn’t explain the terrible instructions. It’s been an absolute nightmare from beginning to end and it’s only because we’ve both had experience with cartonnage that we were able to adapt it to work. As Kate says, patterns should be tested thoroughly before people waste their time and money.

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    • It’s so frustrating when patterns don’t work and really sucks the joy out of creating something. If I had wanted to make up my own pattern I could have done so, but in the end I got the worst of both worlds.

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  8. Your idea of frumpy and my idea of frumpy are clearly very different! I think it’s absolutely stunning, and I’m sure the adaptations you made have improved the original design enormously.
    (If it still feels frumpy when you have it on, try leaving the front open to show off your lacy lilac silk underwear underneath, that’ll do the trick).

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  9. Well done for finishing at last, despite the terrible pattern.

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  10. and even if you do just wear it around home, you’ll be warm, as you have commented, and you will remember that even with the difficult designer (who should be named and shamed) “you” creatively finished it…

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  11. I have heard your frustration with this project before and totally understand it. Well done for getting it finished and hopefully once it is blocked and you have put it away for a while you will like it again. IF not wear it for warmth or give it to the charity shop and hope it is just what someone else has been looking for!

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  1. Mend It Monday #4 | The Snail of Happiness

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