Thursday, February 05, 2009

My First Sweater - The E. Z. Way!

For a long time, I had ideas about what my first sweater would be, but I was afraid to commit. That's a lot of yarn, after all, and what if I bought too little and couldn't finish it? Also, I knew I wanted wool, so that was going to be even more costly. Finally, though, I had a windfall. A Big Lots opened up near the library where I work, and they had this beautiful Lion Brand Magic Stripes on sale for $1.50 a ball. It was superwash wool. How could I pass that up? So I bought a dozen balls and then went home to figure out how I was going to make the sweater.

I'd seen Knitting Without Tears in the library before and looked at it a number of times. It wasn't long before I decided that was the way to go. I chose the Seamless Raglan and began at the beginning.

Right away, I departed from Elizabeth by doing ribbing at the bottom. I just don't see myself wearing a sweater with a flat hem. I also didn't switch back and forth between sleeves and body as she suggests, though I probably should have. I did the sleeves after the body, working both together on a long needle in the manner of Magic Loop socks, and that was by far the most boring and time-consuming part of the project. When I finished increasing and was just going back and forth to finish the sleeves I almost gave up. It almost looks like I could have given up earlier, because the sleeves are a bit too long for the body.

When I joined on and worked the yoke, the project became exciting for me again. Just like E. Z. says, those decreases make every row go faster, and it really felt like I was getting somewhere. I had some angst when it came to the neck shaping, and Zimmermania turned out to be my savior. Several of you had similar concerns to my own, and you helped me get over that hump. As you can see in the second photo (besides that I look ridiculously fat in the face) the collar still didn't come out just as I wanted. It's too square and gaps too much at the sides. Oh, well. Probably nobody will notice but me, and I haven't even washed and blocked it yet.

Many people looked at me funny when I said I was making this first sweater for myself. Some of them just thought it looked too small (especially the sleeves) but I think some thought I was selfish. Should have been making one for the kids, right? Well, my thinking was, I knew I was going to make mistakes. I knew I might get discouraged and take a long time to get done. I might even give up completely if it became frustrating enough. I wanted all of those problems to fall on me, not one of the kids who was patiently waiting for a sweater from Daddy. It turns out, now that I look at Ravelry, that it took me almost exactly nine months. My wife asked if I felt like I had a baby, and I had to think about that for a minute!

Now I have a ton of the yarn left, so someday soon I will cast on and make a similar sweater in a kid size. That will be a lot of fun, I think.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

February Newborn Gown

For this newborn gown, I adapted EZ's February Baby Sweater from Knitter's Almanac. Koigu multi and size 1 US needles account for the teeny tiny size:



More pics can be found here: