The Bridge Jumper – or the ‘everything that could go wrong – went wrong’ jumper.
That is a much more apt title for my jumper – although from these pics I (hopefully) doubt you’d even notice.
Here’s the details before I get rolling with this post:
- Red background: Reggia (red – sport weight), discontinued yarn & couldn’t find it online
- White and black motif’s: Järbo Garn in fingering weight. Both yarns were the same brand/type, but the black had so much more grip than the white one – I swear what is it with white fingering weight yarns… they all seem to be thinner or slicker than their counterparts. Most likely part of the culprit of my floats/tension issue.
Bridge Jumper Pattern: via Ravelry
Meg’s Post: A Knitting Fail: The Bridge Jumper
Michelle’s Post: An Ace Up One’s Sleeve
Waaay back in November (2013), Tasha & Rochelle launched Knit for Victory, which happily coincided with her launch of the Victory Tam. Of course, I used the Victory Beret as a good warm up to tackling fair isle knitting. I did so & finished the beret in 10 days. Yes… it does still need to be posted up once I find it – the move really messed up my blogging.
But the reason why I mention all of this is that the Bridge Jumper was intended to be my 2nd Knit for Victory project.
You see, Meg picked this jumper out to knit for her Knit for Victory project. I think Michelle was planning on knitting it for hers too – and well… I didn’t want to be left out …. and it was in my Ravelry faves after all.
Alas, I decided to knit this little jumper up as a great colorwork project to keep advancing my skills. It uses three colors on one row, not just 2 colors in a row (like fair isle knitting).
Let me tell you…. knitting with 3 colors on a row is a bit more challenging than 2 colors. There are many more wraps to be done and tension is paramount.
Mistake #1: Negative Ease
This is probably the largest mistake I made on this jumper. As always, I hacked the pattern so that it would fit me – and also incorporated 2″ of negative ease since that’s how I like my jumpers to fit, a bit snug but not restrictive. Well…. let me tell you, you CANNOT knit colorwork with negative ease!
What happens is that your floats in the back get all tight and you end up seeing them on the front of the jumper. Not very pretty. I sure which I knew this before embarking on this mega colorwork jumper.
Michelle was leading Meg and I through this colorwork challenge, since it was our firsts with multiple colors. Being an intermediate knitter myself, I probably come off as confident and knowing what I’m doing, so Michelle never second guessed my knitting/sizing. All well… I definitely learned the hard way on this one.
Mistake #2: Floats & Tension
Don’t you love all of the crazy floats?! I mean seriously, it’s crazy on the inside.
As I got to the second motif row (bottom up) I tried the jumper on. It didn’t fit – at all. My floats were all so tight that I couldn’t get the jumper over my shoulders. The first motif row was fine, it was the second one that was too tight. I frogged the it back and had to reknit that section again, but with looser floats.
Well…. I made them much too loose and I had a bagging, saggy mess of floats on the inside and wonky motif stitches on the outside.
What I had to do to fix this was to pull each row of yarn and tighten up each stitch by stitch of all the motifs; at the end of one row I had to tie a knot. I spent about 2 hours on the white motifs and another 2 hours on the black motifs.
It was challenging learning the correct tension since there were so many floats and the motifs were quite a bit far away from each other. I can’t really say I learnt my lesson since this is tricky in itself, but I know what to look for (aka avoid) on my next colorwork pattern.
Mistake #3: Stitch Count
It’s helpful to keep the same amount of stitches on the front of the bodice as you do the back; total rookie mistake on my part. I had at least 12 stitches more on the front than I did on the back so I had to kinda ‘hope’ it worked out by the time I got to the end. The back is a bit snug, but it still works.
Mistake #4: Not enough Yarn
So yeah… I ran out of yarn. I ran out of the red background color and the store I bought it from didn’t have anymore. Guess who called over 50 stores in the US looking for this one yarn. (I wish I were exaggerating… but I’m not). No one seemed to have it stocked, and I couldn’t find it on the brand website. Finally I did find it and even in the same colorway. Not wanting to have the same issue again I bought extra. heh
- Steeks (or steeking) – where you CUT your knitting to make way for armholes –> Mega shout out to Tasha who helped me through this!!
- Working Colorwork on the purl side (not just the knit side like you do in the round.) Had to do this on the back bodice at the neckline.
- Working with 3 colors – wraps and such while attempting to keep the yarn untangled.
- Picking up stitches for a ribbed neckline – crazy that after years of knitting, this was my first crew neck jumper where I had to pick up stitches. Granted – I’ve done this on sleeves and for collars, but I never had done this for a ribbed neckline.
Like I said at the beginning, Meg, Michelle, and I were all knitting this jumper together. Michelle had decided that she’d get much more wear out of it if she converted it to a modern fitted cardigan. Meg was doing the same, but she ran into some complications.
As you see… there’s no Meg in these photos with us.
Meg’s yarn was a fingering weight white from cascade, but it was a superwash wool – with NO grip. Having worked with this yarn, it’s one of the worst ones you could choose for colorwork. Why? Well the superwash aspect of it makes it nice and soft – so the stitches do not grip to each other which is really helpful to have on colorwork projects. Being a friendly friend, I tried to gently warn her, but she was determined. Alas, she got so frustrated due to this and also due to an ‘off’ tension, she bowed out and never finished her Knit for Victory jumper.
And being the sassy friend I am, I teased her much about how she picked out this jumper and left Michelle and I to trudge through – there was much complaining about this particular knit (so frustrating). This was after she got over being sad that she wasn’t knitting it with us.
Michelle and I forged ahead. I was the slow knitter on this project that we never finished in time for Knit for Victory either. I believe Michelle did, but she’s waited to post about it till now – as she waited for me to finish. She’s so nice!
Look how wonderful her knitting is, not a float in sight:
I think we’ve all been there when a project just doesn’t go as planned. You toss the project aside and don’t look at it for a year since it just makes you feel bad to look at it. I had a really hard time forging ahead with all of the silly mistakes I made, but I somehow still made it work.
Poor Meg just didn’t have the right yarn and nothing can fix that so hers has been tossed aside and remains unfrogged still.
And being the silly friend I am I had a genius idea! I still wanted her to partake in the photoshoot with us so I made Meg a FAKE bridge jumper.
I stayed up late cutting out bits of felt in hearts, diamonds, spades, and clovers. I asked Meg to bring a plain black cardigan and she promptly asked why – which I had to ignore. She thought we were going to shame her, by having her wear a plain black cardigan – how wrong she was! I sneaked off which Michelle and we went about safety-pinning all of the felt motifs onto her cardigan.
Honestly, I think it’s actually really cute! I think she should sew them on permanently and wear it out – so cute.
I made so many mistakes on this jumper – and yet it’s still kinda wearable (in a wearable muslin kind of way). Not sure how that happened but I’m so happy to have this jumper in the “completed” category and I learnt oh-so-much from it. Even after the mistakes, I feel much more confident to tackling another colorwork project. Sometimes it takes a whopper of a project for one to get their (colorwork) bearings. :D
P.S. Bridge Jumper is a free pattern…. if you dare.