I love Hannah Fettig’s designs and I love Madelintosh DK, but sometimes I don’t love them together. The first time I knit, what I like to call the George Hancock (a combination of Georgetown and Hancock patterns in Home and Away) I loved it. But I also knit is from the bottom up, in pieces. What I failed to realize is that the structures came from the seams.
The second time I wanted to try a top-down version, since everyone is always saying how you can get a better fit. To match my figure, I made a medium until the waist and then increased to a size large at the hip. This also made the sweater longer, which I also wanted.
I hoped the smaller size on top would also help compensate for the heavy garter collar, but it didn’t. The front hung in a deeply handkerchief hem and the back pooched out, making my hips look even bigger—the opposite of what I’d hoped.
To fix it I tried these in order:
- Taking off the collar and knitting it with one size smaller needles (2 sizes smaller than the body)
- Knitting side i-cord ties at the waist
- Adding i-cord to every edge in a “sturdier” but “lighter” wool
The first one helped. The sweater fit a bit better, but it still was saggy in the front and poochy in the back. So, I moved onto #2, attaching two i-cords at the waist to tie it shut. No joy. I tried a leather belt but even that failed to hold up all that garter in a slippery Madelintosh.
The pattern was written for Quince and Co’s Owl, not a heavy merino superwash wool. It only worked in the bottom-up pattern because the seams provided structure.
At Red Alder, one of the designers mentioned that i-cord was the “duct tape” of knitting. So, after the leather belt experiment failed, I took a lighter, yet stickier, wool yarn and knit i-cord around every edge—including the sleeves, which were too short because I ran out of yarn (bonus problem solved).
The i-cord directly onto the garment edges by picking up a stitch for every row. As I was going around the neck, I noticed it wasn’t having the right effect at the fitted waist, so I tore it back and skipped every second stitch 2” above and below my natural waist. This created fitting in the collar to match the body.
Lastly, I sewed up the bottom and created a top attachment to create a pocket. Because who doesn’t want a full-sized hidden pocket in their sweaters?
I’ve frogged a lot of sweaters over the years—too many to count—including the sweater from the last blog. Sometimes frogging makes sense, but this time I knew that the pattern/yarn should have worked. I knew it was a structural fail, not a knitting fail. And when structure is what lets you down—i-cord is a potential solution.
So, hats off to i-cord!