A Cautionary Tale

Today’s knitting lesson is brought to you by the letter


For Denial.

So, I’m knitting that vest. Knitting along, minding my own business, churning out the yardage, and when I get to the armholes, this little voice in the back of my head says “Don’t you think it’s a little short for your taste?” I’ve learned (sort of) not to ignore that voice, so I say “Well, maybe, yeah”, and I break out the pattern and the tape measure. I’m knitting the medium. I’m sort of short, but I like things a little long and I have accessories out the front that knitted things need to accommodate, so medium usually suits me fine. The pattern says 10.75 inches is the length for the medium, and that’s what I have, but my inner knitter (who knows lot more than my outer one) says “that’s not going to cut it” and I listened. I decided to use the length for the XXL. Awesome. That’s got to be plenty long enough… right?

I keep knitting. The next time I think “that looks a little short” is when I’m done the front. The finished piece is to be 18.75 inches for the medium, but I’m still using the XXL for length, so I keep trucking until I’ve got that length, 19.75. I measure, remeasure, measure it lying down and hanging up, and in the end I can’t shut that voice up, so I add a couple more centimetres. I now have a vest that’s the XXL length plus a bit, and that’s just got to be good enough, so I ignore the voice (“that looks a little short“) and cast off.

I start the back. I take blog pictures (“don’t you think that’s a little short?“) and I fold it up (“I think that’s too short”) and take it to knit night. At knit night, I pull out my knitting and lay the finished front nearby. Several people look at it and admire it, squeeze the cushy cormo yarn and compliment the colour, but they are a polite crew, and nobody says much else – with the exception of one knitter who asked if it was a cropped vest, but said nothing more when I said No. (The inner voice wondered why she said that, but my outer self blocked it.) I looked it over again. I thought about it some more. Finally (“DON’T YOU THINK THAT’S A LITTLE SHORT?”) I smoothed it over my leg, then held it up to my front, and turned to the knitters and said “Do you think this is a little short?”

Molly, sitting across from me, has this look flash across her face for an instant, and the look said “Holy cow am I ever glad she’s ready to talk about this” and she answers so fast that I know that she really means it.

Yes. Yes. That’s too short. Totally too short. That vest is not long enough, it is too short. Totally.

“Really?” I say, feeling the first knowledge that a big rip is in my future, and everyone agrees. Really. Too short. I’m still dwelling in the land of denial though, so I defend it – and I confide that it can’t be too short, because I measured, I checked the pattern, and I knit the XXL for length. Several knitters stare at me. XXL? That’s the XXL?

Thus began a campaign to bring me out from the land of denial and try to match the vest with reality.

Here it is on a knitter who’s an XL – not even the XXL it’s the length for.


Here it is on a knitter who’s a large. (Better.)


Here it is on a knitter who’s a medium (that’s me.)


Here it is on a knitter who’s a small.


The width is fine. Drea, the XL, might need a little more room, and Mairi, the large, is a pretty skinny large, so she needs less width, but the point here is that it isn’t enough length for any of the sizes – unless it’s meant to be a cropped vest, or a vest that comes to just above the waist, in which case a couple of us are going to be alright.

My point isn’t that the pattern is wrong. It may or may not be, depending on what the designer intended, I mean, for all we know, that’s the length it’s meant to be… and it’s a pretty easy fix to get it to fit the way I want. I’ll rip back to the divide for the front and do another repeat of the diamonds, which will make it long enough for me easily. The point is that the whole thing is my fault, because the length for this vest is clearly stated on the pattern… which I thought was too short, which then seemed too short in the knitting, which I then could see was too short when I held it up to myself, which I then KNIT ANYWAY, even though I know I like my stuff longer than that.

Sigh. Denial. Baby Elwood wants you to know…


It ain’t just a river in Egypt.