Friday, September 27, 2013

I made a sweater!

You guys! I knitted a sweater! Another 2013 goal marked off the list. :)

I feel like all of these exclamation points are justified because knitting this sweater was quite a process. Here's the story (because you guys know I have to have an in-depth story for basically everything I've ever made :)...

I knew I wanted to try to knit a sweater this year. Socks and sweaters seem like two big knitting milestones. I learned how to knit socks last year, so I figured that this would be the sweater year (next up: colorwork!).

I picked out the Ladies Classic Raglan Pullover pattern, because it seemed like a good, basic place to start. put Paton's Classic Worsted yarn on sale one weekend, so I ordered the yarn I needed for my first real sweater. (The yarn only cost about $29! I was counting on spending a minimum of $40 for a 100% wool sweater, so that was a pleasant surprise. Even though sweaters made from Madelinetosh and other lovely yarns look gorgeous, I don't think I'll ever be able to justify spending $120 on sweater yarn.) A week or so later, the yarn arrived, but...they had left one skein out of my order. Instead of seven skeins of brown wool (I picked brown because, though it's a bit boring, I figured it was a pretty safe color to be ordering online), I only had six.

This seems to be a bit of foreshadowing of the troubles that were to come. :) At one stressful point while knitting this sweater, I (very dramatically) told my mom that maybe I just wasn't meant to make it because it even started off badly! :) Anyway, I emailed Joann's and thankfully they quickly sent me out another skein that even matched the dye lots of the others. Then I saw that Shannon (of luvinthemommyhood) was hosting a summer sweater knit-along, I knew that this was the perfect chance to start my sweater.

I started out with the recommended needle size (8), and knitted along until after I finished the waist decreases. Then I tried on my was huge! Not just baggy- about four inches too wide on each side. I couldn't bring myself to rip out all of that work just then, so I started over on size 7 needles with a new skein of yarn.

Once again, I knitted until after the waist decreases (this is about half the body of the sweater) and tried on the sweater again. It was still much too big. Actually, it didn't look that much smaller than my first attempt. I didn't have any size 6 circulars, plus I knew that if I started over completely again I probably wouldn't finish the sweater before the knit-along deadline. So I tried a quick fix. After you separate the sleeves, the pattern called for casting on 14 stitches under each arm so you can continue to knit in the round. The sides are where there seemed to be so much excessive fabric, so I decided to just cast on 4 stitches under each arm. This wasn't the "proper" way to adjust the fit, but with time restraints, it's what worked for me. :) It's basically the equivalent of taking in the side seams while doesn't fix everything, but it does help when something is just too big.

{By the way, my problems with fit were not because of the pattern. The pattern as wonderfully simple and well-written. Even though I ended up using the exact yarn the pattern calls for, I just couldn't get gauge for some reason. Up until now I've always been a tight knitter and if anything I've had to go up a needle size. That's why it's so bizarre that this sweater kept coming out too big instead of too small. I don't know if I was trying to overcompensate and was knitting too loosely or what. And yes, I was checking my gauge as I went along. But I was only checking it over a 2 inch space instead of a 4 inch one, so it wasn't very accurate. Lesson learned.}

Casting on fewer stitches under the arm solved my problem! The finished sweater is still a little loose and baggy. It fits like a comfy sweatshirt. It wasn't supposed to be quite this big, but the finished fit is still so much better than it was before. Other than that, I didn't make any other real changes to the pattern, other than a few small adjustments with the hip and sleeve shaping. The part I was most nervous about with this sweater was picking up the neckline stitches to do the ribbing. I was trying to be a perfectionist at first, but then I realized that it doesn't have to be perfect because it ends up looking nice, anyway. :)

I'm so happy with my sweater! It's very warm and cozy and I can't wait until it's cool enough to wear it. :) Even though I didn't have the best experience with my first sweater, I learned a lot and I'm very excited about knitting more sweaters. Not just yet, though. For now I'm enjoying smaller, quicker projects like socks and cowls. :) And soon it'll be time to get started on Christmas gift crafting...

P.S. I did miraculously finish knitting before the knit-along deadline! It was eventually extended a bit, so I would have been okay, but I finished the day before the original deadline. I still haven't blocked the sweater yet. More sweater details on my Ravelry project page here.


  1. its lovely! I have never knit a sweater or a sock but I have done colorwork, and I LOVE colorwork. It's easy. You'll be fine.

    The only thing more beautiful then that sweater (or your yellow flowers) is your hair. Your hair is gorgeous! All those pretty wavy curls!

  2. Wow! Kristin, it looks fabulous - and so comfy! :) Plus it looks grand on you.

  3. So beautiful! I'm impressed and :jealous: that you knit your own sweater! It looks fabulous! Knitting is not my strong point, and crocheted sweaters just aren't the same:)

  4. I am so proud of you for knitting this beautiful sweater. I'm glad you didn't give up on this project. You worked so hard, and it paid off. I also had fun taking the pictures. Beautiful sweater. Love you- Mom

  5. Yay! I can't believe you knit a sweater! I haven't even knit more than a few rows of stitches - ever! It looks great, and I can't wait to see what might be coming next!

  6. I just want you to know that I am knitting this sweater and I have had the EXACT same issue! Started with size 8, got to waist - was HUGE! So I went down to a 7.... 2 inches past the armpits - still too big. Im gonna take it back to the sleeves and knit a 34 instead of a 36. So odd... Yours looks so nice. Im glad I'm not the only one :)


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