My Birkin Sweater

The Birkin sweater and me – that’s a tough one … I knew that pretty much from the start. So much went wrong, since I began knitting that sweater – I might as well show pictures and every knitter will know: lots of frogging, lots of time …

My blogging friend Kathi started it all, when yarn-hunting in Berlin for her Birkin. She wanted that sweater so badly. Somehow, her enthusiasm rubbed off on me. Not much after that, I found the perfect yarn in Sweden: Ullgarn in light grey, red, and oliv-green. Adding a small skein in the most beautiful shades of blue and another skein in golden yellow (both of them from stash) was easy. Both seemed to be perfect to brighten my sweater, plus, both of them deserve a special project. The blue hank was given to me in 2014 by Caitlin (the story is here); the yellow one was the first skein I ever bought.

Five beautiful skeins – I was ready to cast on.

Birkin Sweater HäkelmonsterSuch a fun knit. All was well. At least that is what I thought. Until Kathi (justifiably so) remarked that the stitch definition of the yellow yarn was awkward. Until Sophia (justifiably so) remarked that different yarns might react differently when washed and blocked. Until Pia remarked that maybe the yellow was too bright to be with the other colors.

Hence, I frogged and started over. Without the yellow.

Birkin Sweater HäkelmonsterSomehow distracted, I managed to make a mistake, and all of a sudden my stitch count was not according to pattern any more. I did not even bother to take a picture. Instead, I frogged again. Annoying, but no drama. All good things come in threes.

On the positive side: With the Birkin, I have finally learned how to knit with more colors than just two. Main color in left hand, all others to the right. Continental knitting as usual, but English knitting as well, throwing the yarn around the needle with every stitch. It’s addictive to knit colorwork that way. Very addictive.

Sunday night, I finished the yoke.

Birkin Sweater HäkelmonsterThe circumference at the bottom was fine (positive ease just like I had wanted it), however, the sweater was way too tight around my shoulders. I would have to be drop-shaped or without shoulders at all (or the size of my son) to be able to actually wear it.

Reading helpful remarks on ravelry taught me, that others experienced the very same thing. They ended up knitting the yoke in L (or bigger) but the body in M (or smaller) so it would fit. It happened mostly to people who did not use the recommended yarn (just like me).

Probably because 60% of all increases are done before and after the first green twine. That is to say, by then one must have the desired shoulder circumference, as all remaining increases will only be done before and after the second green twine. However, by the time I reach the second twine, I have long passed the widest part of my upper body. Hence, no necessity for further increases. Sigh …

Be it as it may, the son put it on so I could take a picture. We realized that the yoke was wide enough for him, but way too long – that way hindering him to lift his arms properly if I were to finish the Birkin for him (despite the fact that he is not too fond of having to wear a flowery sweater).

In short: the Birkin I had started was neither for him nor for me.

Birkin Sweater HäkelmonsterSo I frogged it again. This is how you learn … Then I went to bed. The last picture is where I am at right now. But I won’t give up. I am already counting and pondering how to make this pattern work for my yarn and my body.

Tomorrow, I will give it another try.

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