So, a while back I finished knitting my first sweater! It went a lot smoother than I ever anticipated and it boosted my confidence, as it was my first large knitting project. Before that, I had only ever knit shawls, socks, hats, scarfs, and other small projects.
Ever since I started knitting back in high school, I have always considered sweater knitting to be way out of my league. I had heard stories from other knitters that it took them a month, 6 months, or even a year to complete one sweater project. I was extremely intimidated, as even shawl knitting took me a while to get through.
However, I had a sweater pattern picked out for a while that I thought I could manage, and I decided to go out and buy the yarn to give myself all the tools I needed to get started. In Korea, there are lots of traditional markets that sell things in bulk or for cheaper than in regular stores, so I went there to buy the yarn for my sweater, since I needed a lot of it.
I bought some wool in a dark purple color and it sat in my house for a while. I finished other projects, such as cross stitch and embroidery, before I decided to cast on my sweater. Finally, I pulled up the pattern on my computer and got to work.
The pattern I chose is called Pinecone by Susan Mills. It looked like an interesting pattern, with cables (my favorite!) around the neck and shoulders and straight stockinette in the round the rest of the way down. The pattern is a top-down sweater, which I heard is best for beginners, and the sleeves are knit with the sweater, not sewn-on afterwards, which I liked.
I loved the pattern and the yarn I chose and I only really had a problem with the sleeves when knitting. The stitches for the sleeves are left on stitch holders while you knit the rest of the sweater after the cabling, and then the stitches are picked back up later. The hardest part for me was figuring out how to properly pick up stitches under the armpit, because I kept getting holes. However, once I figured it out on the first sleeve, it was easier the second time. I’d done something similar before on a pair of mittens, but this was bigger and therefore had a higher risk of holes.
Even still, the pattern was incredibly easy and I knit up the entire sweater in – wait for it – 10 days! Yes, I finished an entire sweater in 10 days of knitting. One day for each sleeve, four days for the top cable design, and four days for the body in straight stockinette. It was amazing. I was so proud of myself by the end.
I also had to soak my sweater (something I had never done for any of my other projects) and block it out. I had done blocking on a shawl before with steam, but the soaking was new to me. It surprised me how weird wet wool smells. After blocking and drying, the sweater fit a lot better, as it was just a little tight around my arms before finishing.
All in all, I’m excited to have a sweater in my closet that I made myself! I didn’t get many chances to wear it, as the weather warmed up by the time I was done, but I am excited to delve into more sweater patterns so that I can have more before winter starts. Moral of the story: don’t be scared to try things that intimidate you – you might surprise yourself with how well you handle it!