Humble Pie and a Husband Sweater

There’s an item on my to-do list that’s been haunting me from my bedroom closet for months. In 2018, I knit my husband a shawl collar, cabled cardigan. I made a respectable swatch. I spent months knitting the pieces and days seaming them together. I ordered the perfect leather buttons from a yarn shop in Vermont. I bet you know where this is going.


At some point in the process, maybe when I was seaming them together, I probably had some reservations about whether or not it was going to be too big. It didn’t help that my husband was practicing jiu jitsu multiple times per week and was dropping weight for an upcoming competition. Being sufficiently stubborn, and fortified with a strong dose of knitter’s denial, I forged ahead and finished the sweater.

It’s at least three sizes too big. While positive ease can be a friend to many, a heavy cabled men’s cardigan with 15” of positive ease and sleeves that hang down to the knees is not a good look. You know this. I know this. It’s time to turn this thing around. I’m going to frog it, wash the yarn and knit a completely different pattern. I’m deciding between Brooklyn Tweed’s “Rift,” “Albion,” and “Aldous.” None of these are cabled, or cardigans, or even have a shawl collar. Which is exactly why I chose them. The pain of this cardigan is too fresh.

In the interest of feeling like all of that work wasn’t in vain, I’d like to share some of the lessons I’ll remember from this experience:

  1. Superwash yarn grows…and grows…when wet blocked.

  2. Allover cables make a very heavy fabric that tends to grow…and grow…lengthwise.

  3. For large sweaters, steam blocking can be your friend.

  4. If you pin your sweater pieces together and the garment looks like it’s going to be ridiculously big, the seaming process is not magically going to eliminate 15” of positive ease.