Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My First Sweater. Yikes.

This Christmas was my knitting-est Christmas yet. I knitted up no less than nine gifts, which for me is definitely a record.

I'll start with the biggest, though not the best. Back in the summer, I asked my mum if she'd like something knitted for Christmas, or if she was getting tired of socks and scarves and hats. (Particularly hats - when she was going through chemo, I probably made her about 20 or so hats.) She hummed and hawed for a bit, and finally asked, "Like what kind of knitted things?"

I started to list my typical projects: socks, hats, scarves, dishcloths, blankets... Nothing seemed to appeal. I kept going, now moving on to theoretical knits: sweaters, cardigans - "Oooh! Cardigan? I'd like a cardigan!"

Shoot. I'd never done a sweater. I've had one started and sitting on a precious Denise needle for over a year now. I know I've messed up some of the "at the same time" instructions, so it's been hidden in a little basket until I can get up the gumption to rip it all out and start over. Again. I'd hoped that my first sweater would be inflicted only on myself. But now I'd opened my mouth and committed to punishing my poor mother with what would no doubt be a comically oversized and misproportioned garment.

I at least had the sense to include her in the choosing of the pattern and the yarn. I sat down and showed her the wonders of Ravelry's projects pages. We agreed on the basic cardigan pattern from Stitch and Bitch, without the fuzzy mohair edging. I happened to have with me some Knitpicks Comfy yarn from another project, which Mum liked the feel of. She picked the colour "Crème Brulée" and I ordered it right then and there.

Several months passed, and we ended up with this. Which isn't too bad, after all.

Cardigan Finished

Mum insisted on a 'neck down' shot. (Which reminds me of a funny story I need to share another time about prom pictures and my mother's photography skills.)

As mentioned, I passed on the crocheted mohair border, instead picking up stitches around the neck and adding a few rows of garter stitch.

Cardigan neck

Also, because I wasn't adding the edging, I thought the plain stockinette would curl way too much on the fronts and sleeves, so I added ten rows of seed stitch to each.

Cardigan sleeve

You need to ignore the strange, radioactive purple of my mum's hand there - not sure what happened. She is not an alien.

  1. The yarn is lovely and soft, and warmer than I would have thought a cotton blend would be, which my mum loves.
  2. It fits better than I thought it would. For now. More on that below.
  3. My mum likes it and wears it.

Not so good:
  1. I should have added the seed stitch border to the bottom of the back, too, but didn't think of it until it was too late to reknit.
  2. I have a feeling that the yarn will be pill-y. Don't know why, but I suspect.
  3. Mum says that the sweater is growing already, and is looking baggy. Damn you, cotton and your heavy dragginess!
  4. The sleeves are too long. For which I don't have an excuse, because I know my mum has short arms, and I even measured. But once I finished the increases as instructed, I was already too long and wasn't sure how to fix, and time was short.
  5. My seaming is awful in the neck/shoulder/sleeve area. I didn't know exactly how they fit together, and tried a few different ways before figuring it out. Which just made everything messy and loose or messy and tight.

So overall, not a disaster. And next time, there will be more on the 'Good' list, I think.