My early knitting project memories are pretty foggy, even though I only started knitting around 12 years ago. My sister taught me the basics, and I learned everything else from books. This was just before the boom of the Internet and YouTube (and WiFi. Those were the times of dial-up, baby. How rough. 😉 )
One book in particular that I referenced many times was (still is?) Sally Melville‘s “The Knitting Experience Book 1: The Knit Stitch, Inspiration & Instruction.” (I was lucky enough to take a class with her in April! I even got my book signed.)
In that book she has a simple garter stitch poncho pattern. I decided that would be an excellent beginner’s project: Miles and miles of garter! And minimal seaming.
After purchasing some Lion Brand Wool Ease Chunky, and casting on, it started to get boring. So it sat. And rested. And sat some more. I decided I didn’t really want a poncho after all, and found a basic raglan pattern from Lion Brand’s website, the Adult Raglan Sleeve Pullover. This was around 2004, I am guessing.
During this point of my knitting time (and arguably still today, hee hee), I was blissfully ignorant of The Concept of Gauge. I am pretty sure I didn’t check it…I just went for it. I am guessing I tried to do the 41″ or 45″ bust (small or medium). Folks, my measurement comes in at 3″ under the small size. What was I thinking without checking gauge??
Just so you know, the pattern gauge calls for 11 sts x 16 rows. My gauge now measures on this sweater at 9.5 sts x 12 rows, and the chest measured flat is 23”. (Double that, and you get 46″. Oops.) I’m pretty sure it used to be larger, because the washing machine helped smooth the sweater out a little, and I’m pretty sure I may have been a smaller size then… 😉
If you aren’t a knitter, just know that my knitting did not match up to the pattern writer’s knitting. And my knitting was much looser, which meant a looser sweater. Yikes!
Another pattern bonus is that this sweater is knit in pieces and seamed. I also had no idea how to sew knitting together. And, the yarn I started to use was a couple of years old. And of course I ran out. So I had to buy more yarn from a different dye lot. But hey! Why not, let’s continue to make this sweater.
Luckily, I ran out of yarn on the top of the back. With my hair down, no one notices!
I debated about giving it to the thrift store since it turned out so huge.
But. Let’s get back to while the sweater was still in progress. I wanted this sweater to be perfect since it was my first. (…that means I should have started with checking gauge…)
What I did instead to add a nice little touch was to slip the first stitch of every row purlwise. If you have never seamed and/or have slipped the edge stitches, go try it and see how it works.
…It’s a seaming nightmare, right? All of those slipped stitches are missing the “guts” of the yarn that would usually be knit into them, which makes it just about impossible to seam with the mattress stitch. Somehow though, I persevered, and didn’t give up on my first sweater.
I decided to keep the sweater, although the fit was quite off. However, after sitting in the drawer for a couple of years (well, maybe longer), and being put through the wash a few times, it is now one of my most favorite, most comfy, go-to pullovers!
Check out my project page here on Ravelry!
As a bonus, here are a few funny outtakes – it took my “photographer” and I a while to realize my camera was on Auto and was taking yucky flash photos.
One more – bonus points if you can guess what I was trying to do!
What was your first sweater, or first project, or first whatever?? I would love to hear! 🙄
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