I’ve been thinking about sweaters and sweater patterns lately (well, really knit garments in general). It all started with a conversation Matt and I had after I finished all the knitting on Tempest. He commented that this is the first sweater that’s really been “me” – a color I would wear, a fit that’s flattering, and overall something that would likely see a lot of use. This made me think about previous sweaters I’ve knit. Most of the sweaters I’ve knit up to this point have had something I didn’t like about them.
The first garment I knit myself was Bad Penny out of a cotton/wool blend. I wouldn’t say my choice of yarn was a poor one (I do like it), but I didn’t realize that any wool in next to sensitive skin (ie my back) makes me itchy, so this doesn’t really get worn. After that I decided to knit a sweater. The first sweater I knit myself was Rogue. The body ended up shorter then I liked, so all my t-shirts hung out from under it. I never wore it much because of that. I was pretty happy with the color, fit (aside from length) and style of it, though.
Six months later I knit a vest. The Back to School U-Neck Vest. Turns out I’m not really a vest person. I like the idea of vests, but wouldn’t ever wear one.
It was a year and a half from the vest that I attempted my next sweater, which was a total disaster. The Green Gable Hoodie. Looking back there was nothing about this sweater that was “me.” It’s big and bulky and heavy and… well the pattern was a disaster, too! Turns out I’m not a fan of bulky knits. My first 4 garments? Not that successful, but I did learn more about what I want out of a sweater from each one.
Top: Bad Penny and Rogue
Bottom: Back To School U-Neck Vest and Green Gable Hoodie
I took a break from garments after that hoodie disaster, but eventually decided to try again. I finished Decimal and was immediately disappointed. It was too long. I was able to shrink it some, but not nearly as much as I thought it needed. Part of it was my own fault. I knit another repeat of the lace pattern and didn’t take into consideration that that would add to the length of it and I should make adjustments in the body to compensate. I think part of it was that I didn’t pay much attention to the schematic in the pattern. If I had, I would have known that I didn’t want the body of the sweater as long as the pattern stated anyhow. Sigh. You’d think by this point, I would have given up on garment knitting, but NO. I didn’t. I started Hey Teach right away and it wasn’t long before I finished it once, realized it could wrap around me twice, frogged it and knit it all over again. I did finish it, though. I don’t really like the neckline of this sweater or the really floppy button band it has or the way the buttons are so spaced out that it gaps horribly in-between them (especially on the chest). Two sweaters within a few months of each other that I didn’t really love once they were done.
The next sweater I finished was Liesl. I actually DO like this sweater. This is the first sweater I finished that I really liked and wanted to wear. I think I need more tank tops so that I can wear it more. I only own one tank top I can wear with it and I think that’s why it doesn’t get worn as much as it should since the color doesn’t go with my much else in my wardrobe. Once Liesl was done, I worked on Starlight non-stop so I could wear it to Rhinebeck. I made the deadline and like how the sweater turned out, but the yarn choice may not have been the best one. The yarn pilled like nobody’s business the one and only time I’ve worn it. So disappointing! I’ve since tucked it away because I don’t want to see it get completely pilly. It’s too pretty to be pilly!
This year I’ve knit three sweaters. First one I finished was the February Lady Sweater. Only thing I’m not super fond of is the neckline on this one. It prevents me from wearing it with any shirt I want and only feel comfortable (or “put together”) wearing it with the one tank top I own. I love the finished sweater, but it doesn’t go with everything in my wardrobe so it’s only worn occasionally. Next I knit the Camber Cardigan. Love this lightweight cardigan that can be worn over just about anything. I foresee this one getting a fair amount of wear, but it’s been too hot for sweaters lately! Initially it was longer then I thought I wanted it. After wearing it a few times, I decided I liked the length of it. Still doesn’t go with everything in my wardrobe, but I do feel more comfortable wearing it with various tops, unlike the other two sweaters I finished that I like.
February Lady Sweater and Camber Cardigan
Most recently I finished Tempest, which I talked about in yesterday’s post. Time will tell on this one, but I put a lot of thought into what I wanted from that sweater and I haven’t found anything I don’t like about it (at least so far!). Thinking about all of these garment knitting experiences, I’ve learned a lot about the things I don’t want in a garment and the things that I do. Color seems to be a big factor. If it’s not a color I can wear with most of my wardrobe, it doesn’t get worn. I don’t really like bulky knit garments. I prefer that cardigans have a v-neck shape. All sorts of little things that I’d not really considered when picking out yarn and patterns previously.
Taking the time to think about all of this helps me going forward. I have a much better understanding of what I will wear and what I won’t. Just because it’s a pretty, interesting, or that it’s the latest “OMG everyone is knitting it” pattern doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for ME. I’m glad I can see and understand that now. Part of the learning curve of knitting. I think I learned a lot more knitting sweaters and finding things I didn’t like, sweater construction, and color/yarn choices by just doing it. Sometimes that’s the best way to learn! 🙂
5 thoughts on “Thoughts on Sweaters”
Great post. It takes a while for us to learn what we really want in a garment. I’m just glad you didn’t toss in the sweater-knitting towel after the first disappointments.
I admire your gumption at sticking to the process. I can’t get started on a sweater because I’m afraid it won’t fit. You’ve shown me that it’s ok to make something that’s not perfect; that’s how I’ll learn. Thanks! I think a lot of your sweaters look great and fit great on you anyway.
I’ve had similar experiences with garments I’ve knit myself. Seems I learn something new about what I like and don’t like with each of them. And I’m with you…I do not like bulky sweaters, they just aren’t me!
That said, each of your sweaters look really nice, even if you don’t care for them all equally! 🙂
You’re an inspiration! I have 2 sweaters that I started and never really finished for various reasons and here you are pumping them out one after another haha! I want to knit Rogue and I really like how your vest turned out despite you not being a vest person… it’s way cute! You do good work!
Color and yarn choice seem to be a very dominant them here and with any other knitter. I feel the same way about my Rogue. The ONLY think I liked about that sweater was the color and other than that ….eh.
Knitting is often a learn as you go hobby and it’s great that you’re taking time to think about what you learned so you won’t repeat the same mistakes.
That said…girl get some tank tops!! 🙂