In the fall of 2016 I knit myself a very warm wool hat. (And I went on to make three more hats as gifts with the same pattern!) It was a great experience, and I was surprised how quick and easy the pattern knit up. Throughout the last fall and this winter, that hat is my warmest, and most-worn.
In November I decided to try my hand at making a sweater! I have been knitting for years, but I’m not an experienced knitter. As in, most of my projects up until this point had been rectangular. Any projects that included increasing, decreasing, or hemlines intimidated me.
Why did I go for it?
To be perfectly honest, because the folks at Wool and the Gang offered to send me one of their knitting kits. The fact that I, 1) didn’t have to buy it, and 2) didn’t have to search for a pattern, nor a high-quality yarn, or even needles, removed nearly all the obstacles for me. The kit arrived on my doorstep containing literally everything I needed.
The balls of yarn were gorgeous! I wish I’d taken a shot of all six of them before I started knitting. The wool is a gorgeous burnt-orangey shade that regularly commands compliments. I like this yarn because it’s very warm, and the thickness of it makes it a lot easier to knit with than a finer-gauge yarn. I could clearly see my stitches and, when I made mistakes, the chunky yarn was easy to un-do.
Was it hard?
Yes and no, but mostly no. It came together quite fast because of the thick yarn. I could easily knit row after row in one setting. The pattern book had a nice glossary of definitions for when I had to employ new techniques. But I found the videos to be the most helpful. I had to learn how to do right/left leaning decreases, which you can see below, along with a few other tactics. When I got to those parts, I looked up Wool and the Gang’s video tutorials on YouTube and, within a minute, I was watching the video. Another few minutes and I was completing that step on my sweater. I can’t believe how easy it was. Sometimes I had to watch the video a few times to get it. Other times the steps were clear after the first go-round. I can’t believe I waited so long in my knitting career to try a sweater. It was not nearly as hard as I thought it was going to be.
What I learned.
After I completed my sweater I realized there were a few things I could have done better, or wouldn’t do next time. Before I mention those, I want to add, my sweater is not perfect, and I’m okay with that. It represents something I made with my two hands, which are not perfect either. There is beauty and story in the imperfection.
The next time I knit a garment I will not add a skein in the middle of the row. In my quest to be the most efficient with the yarn I used it as much as I could before adding a new skein. Sometimes this meant a knot in the middle of a row I was knitting, and subsequently, loose ends to weave in later. Afterward, I realized this left lumps in the middle of my neatly formed rows, particularly where I weaved in the ends. Next time I’ll join my skeins at the end of a row. I would also like to get better at weaving in the ends. I tried to follow a method Wool and the Gang recommended, but ended up getting a little lost in the stitches. Improved technique in this area would lead to a smoother finished product (and less chance of an errant strand of yarn poking out!).
What I liked about it.
For me, knitting feeds my desire to relax and stay productive at the same time. It took me about a month to complete the sweater (between Thanksgiving and Christmas). I brought it when we traveled over the holidays, and enjoyed knitting while visiting with family after dinner. My favorite time to work on the sweater was after the kids had gone to bed, and Mr. Seasons and I would kick our feet up for some Netflix.
I recommend taking on a project like this only if you’re interested in the process as much as the end product. If you want a sweater, go buy a sweater. But if you want to create, a kit like this is a fabulous way to do it. It takes a lot of the guesswork out of the equation (yarn gauge, needles, sweater design, etc.), and helps get the ball (of yarn) rolling. I loved working on this, and will probably try my hand at another sweater next winter!
Currently, most Wool and the Gang Kits are 20% off. I knit the Eden Jumper in a size 2, in Cinnamon Dust, and I also like the Wooly Young Thing and Final Countdown cardigans. In these photos I am wearing my Everlane skinny jeans and No.6 clog boots with my jumper.
If you’re a knitter, have you tackled a sweater yet? If not, what is holding you back?
Photography by Kiara Rose.