I’ve never been much of a resolution maker. I don’t carefully plan my sewing with make nines or even queues. I figure I have enough planning in my life, I like to be a bit more free with sewing. That said, I did have two goals in mind for 2018: finally make jeans (have, still in progress with fitting) and learn how to knit. Both came about from a bigger resolution – no buying things you can make yourself. Which sort of snowballed from the fact that I now sew all my swimmers and underwear, as well as the majority of my clothes and the fact that I really can’t get the same fit/prints/pockets/satisfaction from RTW.
I had lofty goals of knitting myself cute little cropped cardies and jumpers to go with my dresses and skirts. Yesssss. This would be a thing! Sew by day, knit by night. I asked the good folk of Instagram how the learned to knit. Grandma’s Youtube and Google were suggested (easily done!), along with the book Stitch N Bitch (purchased!) and quite a few people recommended being taught in person. Hmmm. I’d mostly learned to sew from the internet, so I assumed knitting would be similar. WRONG. Well, for me anyway. You might be clever enough to be taught to knit by the internet, but it felt pretty much impossible for me.
So where to next? A few people suggested asking in the local yarn shop. LOL. We don’t even have a sewing shop anymore, friends! We do have a local arts and crafts organisation, as it turns out, so I shot an email off to those helpful ladies and what do you know? They sent me the phone number of a lovely lady named Sylvia and she told me about her weekly knitting group and how she’d be delighted to teach me. What a legend! They’re all legends actually. Patience of saints too because I absolutely sucked at it in the beginning. Learning new things is hard! Starting at the beginning again is hard! Having sausages for fingers is hard! But by the end of that first session, I had a vague idea of knit stitch. I practiced, consulted Grandma Youtube and by the following week I could purl too. YES. LET’S MAKE THINGS.
When I first flicked through my Stitch N Bitch book, this skully jumper caught my idea. I was in love. I had to make it. So that’s where I started. It was marked as a beginner pattern, so it had my name all over it. I made the front and back by knitting a bit each night in front of the tv. Anything I wasn’t sure about was cleared up by the knitting ladies. But weeks of knitting the same black yarn got old and I’d been shopping and found some really nice Mondial Alpaca on sale. It felt amazing and I really wanted to use it, so I searched and found this relatively simple looking, free Berroco pattern. I made it in the biggest size and hoped that it would fit one of the boys. Ed was the winner of that one.
Hard stuff – picking up stitches for the sleeves (I ended up making them separate and sewing them on) and picking up stitches for the neckband (there’s holes). Then after binding off the neckband I discovered it wouldn’t go over his head, so it had to be pulled out and started again. That’s when I learned about stretchy bind offs.
Hot damn, it’s been a learning curve. I finished the Lawrence jumper and then it was time to head back to the black beauty. Just in time for the neckband. Woe. This one is better than my first though. Before doing the sleeves, I consulted the knitting ladies. They told me that knitting big intarsia sleeves on an already big jumper was going to be quite a bulky, heavy task. And because I really didn’t want to attempt picking up the stitches on the arm hole again, they told me to knit them separate. So I did. I was so glad I did because the whole intarsia thing was a bit of a nightmare and I redid the first sleeve 3 times in total. Once again though, I learned a lot. They are still a bit rough, but I got there.
The sleeves are actually way too long for me, but I’ve rolled them up. I’ll be damned if I don’t wear this jumper! It was a labour of love and I’m a little bit thrilled that I did it, if I’m honest. For a while there it felt like I wouldn’t finish it. I don’t love how there’s no shaping in the sleeves and I would prefer ribbing at the band and the wrists instead of garter stitch, but I’ll worry about all that next time. My brain is full from how much I’ve learned lately.
Now, what next?