Friday, January 31, 2014

FO Friday, Part 2: My First Sweater!

This one has been a long time coming, but I am finally finished with my first ever completed sweater! (I honestly apologize for the crap photos - it's been raining here for 2 days solid and I really wanted to reveal this today. So, these will have to do for now.)
I made this sweater along with the My First Sweater class on Craftsy. I bought the class on a whim when I received an email offering the class to me for $9.99 (they give me these offers every so often - always read to the bottom of your Craftsy emails folks!). I liked the pattern, so I figured that $9.99 was well worth the techniques I could learn like making button bands and collars as well as seaming - all things I had never done before.
My full 9.5" collar :)
The sweater is made in Lion Brand Wool Ease in Navy and it is nice and snuggly (and I got 7 skeins of it on sale at for $18.55 with 2¢ shipping!). The pattern has you make the fronts, back, and sleeves as separate pieces, seam them together, and then add the collar and button bands. I did alter the pattern a bit by making my collar 9.5" long (instead of the recommended 8"), as well as adding pockets. I just kept knitting the collar until I liked where it hit when I tried it on. I did end up having to go up 2 full needle sizes to make mine too - I seriously do knit tight, ya'll. Also, the pattern tells you to use a smaller size needle for the ribbing, but I am very hippy so I just used the same size needle throughout in hopes that it would go around my bootay better.
Definitely my most ridiculous photo. I was trying to pop my collar dracula style. And apparently talking at the same time.
So, what did I think about my first sweater knitting experience? Well, I am definitely not a fan of seaming. It's kind of maddening that you spend all this time knitting something only to have several more hours to spend just to make it into something usable. I know that makes me impatient, and I won't deny it. I spent all my spare time knitting this and I was able to finish it in 2 days shy of 1 month. I must say I am quite proud of that. The worst part about the seaming isn't even all the time you spend does the actual sewing, it's the weaving in of ends. Here is a photo from just one of my seaming sessions:
That's 31 ends in that pile! All of which had to be them woven in so you can't see them. And there were many more ends to come. I ended up with 49 ends to weave in all in all. 49! Ugh, yuck. lol My next sweater will definitely be knit seamlessly in the round.

My sweater ended up being a bit big. I measured by bust and I fell between the medium and large sizes in the pattern. Since I wanted this to be more of an outerwear type sweater, I went with the size large. Now that's it's finished, I could easily have gone with the size medium. I don't mind that the sleeves are a bit long, but it's too wide in the shoulder so it doesn't really want to stay up when I wear in unbuttoned (which is most of the time). It will work just fine for my purposes, but if you take the class just know that you can easily round down in your measurements.
Eyelet detail and collar on the back.
My biggest issue I had with the class itself was the button bands. This was the main reason I wanted to buy the class, and it was seriously lacking in info for a beginner like me. I mean, I've knitted for a year and a half and I've picked up stitches before so none of that was new. The thing that the class doesn't really explain is how you need to be particular about how the stitches are spaced. The way the class teaches it, you would think you end up with the exact same number of rows as stitches you need to pick up - oh ho, not so! I picked up the collar ok enough (though the seam isn't really even because I had to fudge it in some places - normally that wouldn't bother me but you can see that seam when you wear it. I'm sure no one is going to notice it but me, but it is there. When it came to the button bands, I had to hunt around the discussion board for the correct number of stitches to pick up if you added the collar (the pattern doesn't say at all). I picked up the stitches just fine on the first one and I only had to squeeze in a few. The second band though - oh my gosh. I picked up the right number (196 stitches!) and had it to the point where you make the button holes only to realize that the bands didn't line up - I had picked up too many stitches in the collar section and not enough on the body. The class doesn't mention anything like this. It basically just says, "Ok, so pick up your stitches and then knit it." I would have really appreciated a heads up on the distribution before I wasted 4 hours of work. I mean, now that I've had it happen to me, it totally makes sense that you would need to make sure you get the same amount of stitches in each section, but having never done it before I didn't even know I needed to worry about it. That's why I bought the class ... to give me the tips to make the process smoother.
 Also I am really glad I ordered an additional skein of the yarn because I went WAY over the recommended 6 skeins for my size. I did knit to gauge, and I did add the collar, but I ran out of my 6th skein in the middle of binding off the first button band. So if I hadn't made my additions, I may have had enough but it would have been extremely close. If you're in doubt, just get an extra. Also the class doesn't mention anything about the size of the buttons you need, so I had to wait until I finished the button holes to make sure of the size. I happened to have a whole box of over 100 navy blue buttons that measured 3/4 inch each that worked perfect. They are the perfect color and size for mine, so I lucked out there. I originally planned to back the button bands with ribbon, but since the sweater is big on me it doesn't really pull much at all on the buttons.
I did add pockets, because POCKETS! Everything should have pockets, imo. To make mine, I just eye-balled their placement and picked up 18 stitches across and knitted them until I liked the length. I would pick up the stitch above each row and knit them together at the ends to attach them. I'm sure this is not the correct way to do it, but I couldn't find any tutorials online and this worked fine enough to give me decent looking pockets.
I know it sounds like I have a lot of negative things to say about this sweater, but I really do love it. Are there things I would like to be better? Of course. But it's my first sweater so I knew I would not achieve perfection. I'm really just proud that I made this! I enjoyed the knitting immensely and it was so simple that I could watch tv while making it. I watched all of Call The Midwife on Netflix (2 seasons - it was awesome!) among other shows. This sweater was a great learning experience and I now feel much better prepared to tackle something with some shaping and a design to it (I already have the yarn ready to go for the next one!). I love that I met my goal of finishing this while it was still cool out so I could wear it.

As far as a class review goes, this is the first class that I have ever not been 100% satisfied with. I didn't really learn much that I didn't already know, but I did get the pattern and it was only $9.99, so I feel I can't really complain. I would give the class 3 out of 5 stars.

I'm sure there are plenty of things I'm forgetting to say, but this is already crazy long. So that's my epic reveal! lol I'm sure it's not that big to other people, but this definitely qualifies as epic for me :) I'm really happy to have jumped the hump of making sweaters and I look forward to many more!


  1. BRAVO ON TACKLING YOUR FIRST SWEATER!! It turned out very well, and you should be very proud! Here's to a future filled with hand knit sweaters!

  2. Thanks so much :) I'm really thrilled and have worn this baby everywhere lately, lol. I've now got the sweater bug so there will definitely be more!

  3. This is really impressive. I'm a bit in awe that your first sweater turned out so well. And I love the dracula funny.


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