In Which The Blogger Gets Sweater Fever

Hello, friends!

Today I will be sharing a knitting project–my first sweater!–and no sewing, so feel free to skip this one if knitting isn’t your jam.

There are two reasons I decided to learn to knit: socks and sweaters. I have been rather obsessively crushing it in the sock department–in the 2 years since I learned to knit, I have made 20 pairs of socks! After just over a year of knitting, I decided I was ready to tackle sweaters. That was last October, and I started this project at that time. (PS: If any of you are on Ravelry, feel free to share your Rav name in the comments, or add me as a friend over there–I’d love more knitting buddies! My Rav name is wronghandmads because I am so creative.)

Fair warning, these photos were all taken before blocking the sweater. Doing that improved the shape of the hems quite a lot…

hold this thread (3 of 21)

Big ugly sweater!!

hold this thread (7 of 21)

Big sweater + baggy jeans = Frumptastic

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Close-up of the yarn. ❤

Theoretically, I could have easily completed this sweater long before now; unfortunately, I messed up my sleeves (the first parts of the sweater I made) and had to unravel them back to the cuffs, which happened over our rather unpleasant Christmas last year. All of that stuff ended up souring me on the project for a while, and I consoled myself with more socks. #sockmonster But this summer I decided that Fall 2018 was going to see the debut of this sweater–I couldn’t stomach the possibility of a WIP passing an entire year without being finished–and buckled down to finish it. As luck would have it, I got it done days before needing to travel out of state and had it handy to keep warm on my flights!

hold-this-thread-17-of-21

Well this is certainly a photo…

The pattern I chose is called Harlowe, by Melissa Wehrle. Technically it’s a pattern for Brooklyn Tweed, a company whose design collections initially made me want to knit sweaters but toward whom I now have less-pleasant feelings. Ultimately the other patterns from their collections that I like and want to make are by non-employees of the company, so I will probably make them anyway; buying their yarn, on the other hand, is firmly in the “never” category. (It doesn’t hurt that I’m basically a Madelinetosh fanatic at this point…send help and storage solutions, stat!!)

The pattern itself was just fine and I was able to knit it totally by myself apart from the initial tubular cast-on, which was done under the supervision of an experienced knitter. 😀 I liked the results of this cast-on so much that I have used it on every other project that requires a stretchy cast-on. It really isn’t much extra work for the results you get! Apart from my original PDF download not working fully (the last few pages were missing!) and misunderstanding the sleeve increases the first time, the only trouble I had was with my actual knitting mechanics.

Since my first-ever sock heel, I have known that something about my knitting isn’t quite “right.” Sure, my stitches form and hold together and look nice and whatever, but when working flat or doing short rows my stitches always end up twisted. I actually like the effect on my sock heels and since that’s all I had knit that involved working flat, I didn’t bother to un-learn what I was doing. Well, this sweater’s split hem requires working flat and I was hoping to avoid a large twisted section at the bottom! Unfortunately I wasn’t totally able to do this, simply because I was too stubborn to look up a solution. (I also had no idea where to start looking, as I’m still new and didn’t know what to call this quirk. “F*cky knitting” isn’t really in the knitting dictionary…)

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Rather f*cky hem.

I got it almost-kinda-sorta right on my own, but not completely: you can definitely see the line that denotes where I began working in the round versus flat. (That said, my hem sections are less twisted than my usual flat efforts.) But thanks to Siobhan at Chronically Siobhan (a truly excellent knitter as well as sewer and all-around human being), I was able to successfully work out what to do to fix this. She helpfully suggested that I look up “combination knitting.” It turns out that all I needed to do to fix this issue was purl through the same stitch leg that I knit into (the back one, as it happens) and voila, beautiful flat knitting is now mine! I always assumed that the root cause of the twists was how I wrapped my working yarn around, but fussing with changing that still resulted in the f*cky twisty sections on the hems of this sweater. I couldn’t face ripping out all my work and starting over, but honestly I am just thrilled that my upper sweater doesn’t have the same line that my lower pieces have! So in truth, this sweater is brought to you by my friend Betsy, who taught me to knit and supervised my cast-on, and Siobhan, who knew exactly what to suggest that would help me un-twist my shit. 😉 Ladies, I am in your debt!!

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Blocking!

In a way, the drop shoulder and oversized style made it a great choice for a first-timer, as there was less to worry about in terms of fit. My stitch gauge was a bit off (on the side of more stitches than the pattern’s gauge specified), but my vertical gauge was dead-on; I made no changes to stitch counts or anything like that and am really happy with the size of the finished sweater. Well, except for the sleeves, which are ridiculously over-long as written. :-/

hold this thread (9 of 21)

I mean, come on.

hold this thread (14 of 21)

I don’t know what I was doing here, but it still makes more sense than the length of these sleeves…

All told, my first sweater was quite a success! I am now looking forward to knitting ALL THE SWEATERS.

And never fear, the sweater is Mulder-approved:

hold-this-thread-19-of-21

Handsomeness personified…

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He’s eating lipstick in this one…

And you guys know I wouldn’t leave you .gif-less:

sweater-dance

Gotta have a .gif!

 

Thanks for sticking with me while I took a detour into knitting! I hope to return soon with sewing, as I have a costume-ish project in the works that I’d love to share once it’s done. ❤

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12 thoughts on “In Which The Blogger Gets Sweater Fever

  1. It’s funny, I actually had the same issue with twisted stitches knitting flat when I first started knitting. I don’t quite remember when or how I figured it out (been knitting for approximately forever). I’ve since learned that this is called knitting (or purling, as the case may be) “through the back loop” and is sometimes done on purpose, like when doing twisted rib.

    Anyway, I love your sweater, the yarn is really quite beautiful and the shape is cool.

    • Well I am glad that I’m not the only one who had a twisty start to flat knitting! 🙂 Thank you for your kind words about my sweater–being so new to knitting, it’s always such a confidence boost when fellow knitters are able to find something positive to say about it, LOL.

  2. Whoa, 20 pairs of socks and now a sweater, since 2016?! You are some kind of genius! I’m Arglie on Ravelry, and I’ll go friend you. All I can seem to knit are hats. Hats, hats, hats. I’ve made more than I’ve posted on Ravelry, if you look there it’s not representative. This summer I tried to learn socks but my teacher wasn’t great and I didn’t stick with it and now I have one half done sock and it may stay that way until the end of time. Also, I picked a shade of purple that weirdly blended in with my silver needles. I didn’t realize it until I started, but it was so hard to see my stitches. I couldn’t return the yarn because it was already wound into a ball. And the yarn was way more expensive than I thought it would be. I bought it without even checking the price — how expensive could yarn be, right?? Almost $30, it turns out. Oops, sorry I rambled on! Anyway, I LOVE your sweater!! Amazing!!

    • Hah! Not quite genius I’m afraid, just pig-headed determination and an hour-long lunch break. 😉 I’m so glad to have you as a Rav friend–your hats are lovely! How crummy that your sock knitting teacher wasn’t up to the task; I got really lucky and a friend (a very *patient* friend!) taught me, and she did a great job explaining in a way I could understand and replicate. I hope you will take another crack at socks, if you still want to that is. 😀 (And yes, sock yarn can be so expensive!! That doesn’t stop me from amassing a bunch of it though…)

      • You are very kind to compliment my lame hat photos! Actually you inspired me to go and add two recent-ish hats that are a little fancier. I don’t remember the specific yarns I used so they are low on details, but anyway I especially like the Monte Rosa hat and it was a fun pattern to do, I recommend it. I did it while bingeing on Halt and Catch Fire on Netflix. (Did you ever see that?) Maybe now that I have an actual Ravelry friend I’ll be better about posting things. (By the way, why are my posts in random order? I don’t know!) I’ll try socks again someday, I think…someday! Too bad I can’t come borrow your friend to teach me! I’m not knitting anything at all at the moment but I’m zeroing in on my next hat pattern…

  3. Pingback: 2018 Top 5 – Hits, Misses, and Highlights | Life in A "Mads" House

  4. Pingback: An Unseasonable Sweater | Life in A "Mads" House

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