Last year I started an ambitious knitting project with new techniques and skills I had never tried. The 16-page pattern seemed complicated and overwhelming. I spent a lot of money on 7 skeins of fingering weight wool and purchased new needles all while doubting whether I could really knit a sweater that looked good and fit me.
I like pushing myself to learn new skills and stitches, but I have always avoided knitting adult sized clothing. I even designed some of my own patterns before I was ready to knit a sweater. The time investment didn't seem worth it. I didn't want something that looked, well...too homemade.
I decided that 2016 would be the year that I finally knit a sweater. After looking at quite a few patterns, I picked Breslin by Brooklyn Tweed. I love all the patterns I've tried from Brooklyn Tweed so they seemed like a safe choice for this project. Since I hate messing with gauge and really wanted gauge to be correct for this big of a project, I also splurged on Brooklyn Tweed's Loft yarn?(soot color).
I cast on the sweater in March. At some point in late summer, I completed the main body of the sweater. (Taking time off for 3 baby blankets in between.) This fall I finished?the first arm and it then took me forever to start arm #2. In early January, I was ready to block it and sew it together. I was most worried about sewing it together since I've had some epic fails at that in the past. The arms fit into the arm holes (even though I think I made a few mistakes with the decreases on the body). There were no large holes or bunching, either. And finally, after 9 months I had a sweater in one piece!
It felt like a huge accomplishment to see the final product. As soon as I completed sewing it together, I immediately tried it on and was really really excited to discover that it fits well and looks like a real sweater, not a kitchy, homemade one.
A few things I learned in the process...
- Read through long patterns from start to finish. But don't get too caught up in the details of every section. Tackle each section as you come to it and the pattern is far less overwhelming.
- Print out the pattern and circle the stitch numbers, row counts, etc for the size you're making. This saved me a lot of time. I crossed out sections that weren't applicable to me and always knew which number applied to my size (and I didn't forget what size I was making--9 months is a long time!)
- Keep on knitting. Sometimes it seems like you'll never finish. The times I made the least progress throughout the year were when I didn't even start or knit a few rows here and there. (Arm #2 was the hardest part even though I was so close to being done!)
- Don't obsess over it not being 100% perfect. The arms on mine are slightly long due to a small mistake I made in the reading the pattern. But it wasn't worth tearing out at that point, so I just made arm #2 with the same mistake.
- Knit a short project after you finish to remember that not all patterns take 9 months.
I spent 9 months wondering whether I was making something that I would ever wear in public. I wore it with great satisfaction the day after I finished it. Last week?I wore it to work for the first time and received the ultimate compliment from a coworker. She said, "I really like your sweater! Where did you buy it?"
What is the most ambitious knitting project you've ever completed?