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In which our suspicions are confirmed

You might not see it at first, but it’s there.

I took Red Friday off the clotheshorse, where it was drying from the half-arsed blocking I gave it, and settled down for seaming. I’ve already sewn the shoulders — that’s how you do the collar: sew up the shoulders, then pick up the stitches around the neckline — so I just needed to sew in the sleeves, then the wrist-armpit-hem seam in one long go. Beauty! I settled down with a Spongebob Squarepants playlist and a steady intent.

A sleeve, knitted flat, has a parabolic curve at the top, which becomes the sleeve cap when the sleeve is turned into a tube. It’s a pretty simple fact of knitting and sewing that the parabolic curve should have a pretty close relationship to the armhole curve. There’s a bit of give and take, a bit of ease and squish, so I wasn’t terribly worried when the sleeve didn’t quite match the armhole. No bother, I figured: it’s probably a bit skewed from the half-arsed blocking.

Suspicion one: this sleeve does not fit this armhole.

I seamed away, starting at the shoulder and working along the armhole/sleeve cap seam towards the armpit. I had to do a *lot* of fudging to get that sleeve to fit, and it had a weird bulge when I was done.

Suspicion two: this seaming needs to be unpicked.

I pinned the second half of that sleeve cap: from the shoulder down the other side. Then the suspicions started to get noisy and I put it away.Suspicion three: I’m avoiding this project because I know something awful has happened.

I ignored it for about a week, casting on my next project and making roaring progress on that one. And I kept thinking how, now the weather’s getting a little warmer but still not warm-warm, a casual lace cardigan would be perfect.

Suspicion four: I’m a big scaredy-puss.

So it was time to face Red Friday. I unpicked the shoulder seam and flattened out the body and sleeves. It still looked wrong, no matter how much I waggled my head. I laid everything out on the kitchen bench, where it was flat and nothing scrunched and the lighting was good.

Scrunchy deceptive fiend.


I counted the pattern repeats from the armpit to the shoulder on the sleeves: 3.5 pattern repeats. I counted the repeats between armpit and shoulder on the front: 2.5 repeats. Shit. The sleeves don’t fit the body.

Now, I can change the body or I can change the sleeves. If I change the body, I have to unravel the collar, unpick the seams, pick up the cast-off shoulders and add another pattern repeat to both fronts and the back. Then redo the shoulder seams, pick up stitches and redo the collar, then attach the sleeves. If I change the sleeves, I have to unpick the cast-off, unravel one pattern repeat, then cast off again. What am I, an idiot? Of course that’s the way to go.

Just to be certain, I pinned the armpits of the body/fronts together and tried it on: that’s all fine. Just too-long sleeves.

To maintain momentum, I’ve already begun. As of time of writing, the first sleeve has been unravelled to the value of one pattern repeat, and I’ll check it about 9,302 times before I cast off and begin seaming. Oy. Could be worse, but oy.

Let’s learn! Suspicions confirmed through this little exploration:

1) I’m not a fool: if a seam looks implausible, it probably is.

2) It if doesn’t look right even after I’ve given it a go, it’s probably wrong.

3) If I think I need to unpick and double-check everything, I’m probably right.

4) It’s always worth unpicking and double-checking. It’s rare that doing so will make it worse.

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