Finished: My First Sweater!

I finished my first sweater just before midnight last Friday night.  To say it was a huge accomplishment (to me) is an understatement!

This is the Basic Pullover pattern from Knitbot Yoked, by Hannah Fetig.  Hannah is famous for her simple, well-written patterns, and this sweater is no different.  It consists of basic increases--kfb, which is easy peasy once you actually do it--lots and lots of stockinette, and 1x1 ribbin for the neck, hip and sleeve bottoms.

I knit this with madelinetosh tosh DK in Robin's Egg, purchased at Eat Sleep Knit.  I mostly knit with tosh anyway (of many weights) but this was a fantastic yarn for this sweater.  The variegated yarn kept the stitches interesting and the weight is perfect.  I tried it on for fit when it was done and it was so warm!  I could've really used it for the polar vortex but sometimes timing is off.  Oh well.

Oooh, lots of blues!
The only complaint I have about this yarn is that is grows like crazy when blocked.  My swatch didn't grow, I'm guessing because it's so much smaller, but holy crap, it was going to be huge if I let it air dry.  I blocked it Friday night and Saturday morning I got up to throw it in the dryer with a damp towel.  That shrunk it back down to the correct measurements, which still have about 2" positive ease.  I'd rather err on the small side with knits because I know they'll stretch, but I think it worked perfectly.

I also learned for next time to not weave in my ends until after I'm done blocking.  Some of my joins and woven ends popped out after blocking, which is just a pain.  As a result, I've already had to darn an elbow (where I joined a skein) and I may need to knit a cute patch for it at some point.  I'll see how it goes.

I alternated skeins for this project, which I think worked out well.  You read horror stories on Ravelry about sweaters ending up different colors and dye lots being inconsistent.  I didn't want to spend almost a month knitting this only to find it was unwearable.  It was worth the extra effort of keeping track of two balls of yarn.  You can find my Ravelry notes here.

Swatch board!
I started knitting this December 12--that's when I cast on my gauge swatch.  I finished January 10.  When talking to Nick, that seemed like such a long time, especially when I could go to Target or J. Crew or whatever and buy a less expensive sweater in under five minutes.  The logical, rational side of me can see that knitting sweaters isn't saving me time or money, and I'm sure a lot of people would wonder why I'm choosing to make my own considering those reasons.  I get that.  But there was something about the process of creating it, much like sewing my own clothes or quilts or even roasting my own damn chicken instead of buying a rotisserie: I can take solace in the production, in the materials, in the end product.  I can walk away proud and with a new skill.  I'm not someone who cuts corners--in fact, I tend to make extra work for myself to ensure I'm doing something correctly or well--and I think this is in line with that.  I spent 30 days on this sweater and now I'll have it forever, even if it won't always fit or be in style.  It's entirely mine.

Most knitters would agree that 30 days on a sweater is average, if not somewhat fast, considering I work full-time.  I could've probably finished it sooner, sure, or I could've taken much longer and really savored every stitch.  But I don't find peace in the process.  I'm a production knitter and sewist.  I enjoy knitting and sewing, but what I'm after is that piece of clothing or that new quilt, and that's what makes me happy.  Seeing that sweater on Poppy makes me ecstatic.  I made that!  I chose the yarn, I bought the needles, I made 1 + 1 = 2.

I definitely see myself knitting more sweaters in the near future, even though spring in the South will arrive sooner than later.  They're a long-term project with a high return on investment, and plus, they're fun to make.  If you haven't made a sweater but you're interested in knitting them, give it a go.  Start with a baby sweater if you want, just to get a feel.  It's such a success that you can't help but make more--the achievement is an addiction.

Have you been knitting more?  Are sweaters your thing?  I want to hear more about you!