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Musted Root July 15, 2007

Posted by merp in FOs, Knitting.

Here it is, finally!


Pattern: Ostensibly Rusted Root. Actually, the only part of the pattern I followed by the numbers was the lace panel. Let’s just say it’s “in the spirit of Rusted Root.” It’s a top-down raglan, so it can, in fact, be made up as you go.

Yarn: KnitPicks Main Line in dusty lavender (75% pima cotton, 25% merino wool) – a very nice yarn, but not ideal for this project (read on…)

Needles: Yes. Ok, let me think, I know this…I think they were #5 circs w/#4 for the ribbing, unless they were #6/#4. Quite possibly #6.

Time to knit (alongside everything else): Approx 4 mos. I’m easily distracted.


Modifications: Ok, here we go:

1) I deepened the neckline a little, meaning I redistributed the cast-on stitches so that there were more on the shoulders and fewer on the front and back (I don’t think I cast on more st. than were called for, but can’t be sure). I actually wanted a much deeper neckline, but was afraid that would throw off the raglan sleeves badly.

2) I omitted the puffs on the sleeves. I just don’t dig puffs.

3) Therefore I obviously did not follow the pattern at all for sleeve increases, but just kept making the raglan increases until it fit – which turned out to be (unsurprisingly) some rows after the pattern suggested it would be for my bust size (I’m a little chunky in the upper arm).

4) The pattern has you knitting straight for 3″ down from the armpits before starting decreases. That is so not where my boobs are. I started decreases almost right away.

5) I felt like there wasn’t enough shaping, so I did double decreases on each side (k2tog, sm, ssk – I don’t know why, but I always have to do k2tog when the pattern says ssk and vice versa for it to come out looking right) instead of just one decrease on each side.

6) There are only decreases in the pattern. Again, I’m not shaped that way. So I did several double increases after the waist.

7) From the get-go I envisioned the sleeves as elbow-length or 3/4-length. I don’t know why. But that’s what I had to have and so that’s what I made. (Which means I had to calculate the sleeve decreases myself -yet another thing to slow me down, though it was easy.)


It’s a shame, actually, that I couldn’t follow that pattern as written, because it was so well-written! Everything was completely spelled out – just not for a result that worked for me.

After all that, it fits quite well, thank goodness. It doesn’t crumple at the back, as the top photo might suggest. But there is some wrinkly-bunchy business around the armhole/bust area, so I suppose that would have been a job for short rows. I don’t know how to do bust short rows yet. Next time.


But why “musted” root, you ask? And why on earth did a month elapse between weaving in the last end and showing the thing off? That’s a sad and irritating tale of blocking, fabric density, humidity and ultimately, perhaps, dry cleaning.


Here it is, perfectly blocked out on a sheet of styrofoam back in mid-June. I washed it by hand, of course, squeezed it out in a rolled towel, of course, after which it was still quite wet, of course.

Now, here’s the thing: the pattern is written for Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece at a gauge of 20 st/4″; Main Line is more comfortably knit at 16-18 st/4″. But I forced the issue and knitted it up into a dense fabric at 20 st./4″. It’s ironic that I was so stubborn on that point since I didn’t end up following any of the stitch counts anyway. Furthermore, the yarn is of course mostly cotton – we all know cotton takes longer to dry than most other fibers, esp. if dense.

We were having a stretch of exceedingly dry weather when I blocked this, so these considerations did not cross my mind. I laid it out in our (dry) basement for a while, and as it was taking too long to dry (see density, cotton, above), laid it out on the back porch before going to work for a few hours. Just in time for a sudden, torrential downpour. When I came home, the sweater was, of course, sodden.

It took several more days to dry, in a week of constant summer storms as wet as the previous one had been dry, by which time, happy colonies of mildew had settled in and the thing reeked. So, on the advice of craftster folks, I soaked it in a vinegar solution, washed it in puppy shampoo, squeezed it out in a towel and laid it out to dry again. Three days later, it still smelled of mildew.

So I soaked it in a much stronger vinegar solution for much longer, washed it again, squeezed it again, laid it out again, and NOW it smells faintly of vinegar and not of mildew. I’ve decided I can live with that.

You can see, then, calculating not only the washing and drying days above, but also the periods of demoralization and avoidance between washings, why it took me so long. There is a very real possibility that this sweater will be dry cleaned only from this day forth.



1. Anni - July 16, 2007

It is a beautiful sweater – absolutely worth waiting for.

2. nubiancraftster - July 16, 2007

My gosh! how painful that mildew saga was! But the result of you mods and knitting are absolutely wonderful. it is amazing what we will do for our knitting.

3. rhoda - July 19, 2007

it looks great! I’m not a fan of puff sleeves either.

4. Samantha - July 24, 2007

lovely sweater! looks great on you. what did you think of main line? was it good to work with?

5. Peggy - July 29, 2007

Tanya! You knitting fool! I cannot get over all of these beautiful projects. What a gorgious sweater.

6. Silver Ilix - July 30, 2007

Just wanted to let you know, I think that you did a great job! It looks great on you. I wanted to know what mainline would work like, so thanks for the note…. guess I will stick with Wool of the Andes!

7. merp - July 30, 2007

Thank you all for the compliments! Main Line itself was very nice to work with. I’d heard it pills, but no sign of that yet, even after all the abuse. So I would definitely use it again – just on something with a looser gauge! As for example, this one.

8. Just a few more hours…. « merp - August 26, 2007

[…] remember how I said I don’t do puffed sleeves? Well somehow I like them better here. So I actually tried to puff this one, doing increases as […]

9. A Twirly Pillow « merp - August 7, 2008

[…] now officially love Main Line. We’ve had our fallings out, but it is so pretty and – I can now attest and will do so in more detail in, again, the coming […]

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