aureus, finally.

(Warning, this post starts out as a downer. But stick with me.)

This sweater was such a letdown. It’s frumpy, busy, and a color that makes my skin and hair look downright sickly. I’ve worn it twice now in public, the first time on our recent trip to California - and I even felt cringe-worthy in the airport. The airport. That should tell you something.

But to be clear, all the mistakes were mine.

First mistake was selecting this pattern. This pattern is beautiful and well written (as a rule I tend to love everything Michele Wang does) and looks absolutely lovely on the model. I, however, am not that model. I have never felt at home in prints, or bright colors, or lots of varied textures. I don’t dislike these things; some people – like this model – look lovely in these things. I just really dislike them on me. And while I occasionally still wistfully wish that I could dress in colorful prints (or lace-y, cable-y detailed sweaters), I mostly completely know better.  I’ve finally gotten good at this game when it comes to shopping for clothing, but when shopping for patterns I’m still really far off my own aesthetic. I blame my desire to do something new. Though I could happily live in boxy stockinette sweaters til my dying day, I always want to try to knit something new. (What’s that you ask? Why no, I haven’t ever actually knit myself a beautiful boxy stockinette sweater. See? That’s how easily persuaded away from my own wardrobe rules I am. I am of weak moral fiber.)

Then there’s the color. I didn’t order one skein of yarn and swatch; I didn’t even buy it in person. I just bought nine whole skeins, online, with a memory of what this color looked like in the store from weeks prior. I wanted a deep, murky mustard – more somber version of the one modeled in the pattern photo. Now I know honey is a greenish-yellow to begin with, but I swear this yarn has gotten darker over time. I don’t know if that’s even possible, or if I’m just slowly succumbing to the dark Pacific Northwest winter, but I can no longer see this yarn as anything other than a mossy, almost army green. Again, my fault – and a color lots of people basically consider highly wearable. Just not me.

Okay. So that’s what went wrong. But I also want to be mindful of what went right. Small victories, people.

One: I made some modifications including lengthening the sleeves, and changing the number of buttons and their placement, and those came out just fine. I’m still a new-enough knitter that modifications scare me, so no matter how simple they are I’m always pleased when they come out as expected.

Two: my gauge was on, and I made the right size / amount of ease I wanted. I’ve been known to be sloppy about getting gauge but I have learned, and it pays off. I’m officially a swatch knitter now, I swear I’ll never go back.

Three: the yarn. Mustard yellow it certainly is not, but it is springy, soft, forgiving, and knits up beautifully even. The yarn is lovely, and I would order it again (in a different color) in a heartbeat.

Conclusion: I have spent several months knitting a sweater I absolutely loathe and will never wear.

So I have decided to be as un-fussy and un-precious about this as I possibly can. I could live with it for a while. I could try to wear it out of the house. But I know the more time goes by the more overwhelming it will feel to dismantle it, and the less worth it the trouble will seem. The time for unraveling this sucker is now. Right now, while I am still on too tight of a budget to buy any sweater’s amount of yarn, and while it’s still cold outside, and while I really need some more sweaters in my closet. The time is also now because the sense of disappointment is so great that the reinventing of this lovely but ugly colored yarn into something new will feel like a win, instead of like a compromise.

Lastly, the time is now because I really need a win in the making-myself-something department. This sweater discouraged me to the point of being afraid to cast on for Uniform with my lovely Owl yarn, for fear of laboring over another letdown.  But Uniform is a pattern that truly fits my plain-jane, classically unfussy wardrobe, and has been sitting in my queue for so long. So what better way to insure that I love my Absyssian Owl version than by making an army green one first? I’ll get to test out the fit, the sleeve length, the pocket style, before I make any decisions on my lovely neutral version. And best of all, if I really just can’t bear to wear an army green cardigan, I’ll feel no guilt about tossing it in the tub with a dye pack and seeing what happens.


  1. How well I know the feeling. All that work and such disappointment. Sometimes I sell the garment to a friend for the cost of the yarn.
    That being said, is there something wrong with your photos? I think the sweater looks great!
    Don't undo it. Put it away until next winter and then you will like it better.

  2. Well, you must feel great about your skills, because this sweater did turn out lovely. And I so understand this fiber-y need to branch out into new and exciting areas. I do it constantly. As a result, my daughter has a closetful of sweaters---mostly raglan (i have narrow shoulders----can't do raglans, but apparently love knitting them), all bright colors (I only feel comfortable wearing grey and white and black with an occasional accent color thrown in, but love knitting BRIGHT!), and I'm in the plain, boxy category, too (but LOVE knitting lace and cables). Ho Hum.

  3. I think it looks lovely on you...looked at the model and prefer it on you. Piecefullife is right, hang on to it you may grow to like it.

  4. Well I really understand the way you feel. I wanted to knit this project too but I finally stopped myself before starting because, first: i could find the yarn I wanted for this projet and 2nd: it's not my style.
    Your post is brave and we should tlak about our bad knits more often!! ;-)

  5. Great.such an amazing seasonal touch.I often think how such great flavors are added by designers in apparels.Its so nice post.I liked it and want such more posts.