Wednesday, January 6, 2010

My First Sweater...

And now, the undertaking of my most ambitious project yet: a sweater for my daughter. I thought I was going to make one for my wife first, but I figured it would be "easier" to make one for my daughter instead. I did a little research online to see if I could find a pattern using the loom. I wasn't too excited by what I saw. Either it wasn't the style I was looking for, or they used a knitting board instead of a loom, or I had trouble with the directions. I also had a book that had a pattern in it, but to me the instructions weren't worded very well and I couldn't quite follow what they were. The picture in the book focused more on the cute girl wearing the sweater more than what the sweater actually looked like.

So I decided to go out on a limb and just MAKE UP my own sweater pattern! I figured, how hard could it be? (Famous last words.) I wound up trying to make the sweater three times, due to trial and error.

Trial # 1: My daughter and I went to the store and I let her pick out the yarn. Mistake. She picked it for the color (blue) and not the kind of yarn it was, but I bought it anyway and tried it out. I decided to add white to it for contrast. Both are Red Heart brand. I planned to add a zipper to the front. I used the Knifty Knitter Yellow straight loom to make this panel:

I figured this was going to be my "Wow" piece, so I made it with as many kinds of stitches that I knew: flat panels for the bottom and alternating ribbed stitches for the blue. Though I liked the results, it didn’t quite fit her, and it was terribly thick. I had knitted it two over four and it was not flexible at all (not to mention it took forever to knit). When I put it against her to check the size, I knew I would be better off starting over, so I unraveled it all and started again.

Trial # 2: I decided to use the green round loom to make the sweater this time, using the same yarn. I made quick progress, leaving the front part open to add the zipper. I knitted as far as where the arms should be in just one day! But when I got to that part, it was a puzzlement. How do I cut the yarn and continue three separate sections on the loom? I entertained the idea of using three separate balls of yarn and knitting each, but that soon became a wearisome idea. I decided to quit for the day, and try it on my daughter for size. What I hadn’t counted on was that the knitted panel would not be the same size as the loom once I knitted it off; it would be tighter. I had tested it beforehand, pulling the loom up over her body and it fit. But it didn’t fit her. I unraveled it and started again. All this unraveling didn’t bother me too much, since it was all an experiment. But this next time I decided to try a different, thicker, softer yarn.

Trial #3: I bought Lion Brand Hometown USA Charlotte Blue and Los Angeles Tan yarn and used them to knit the sweater on the round yellow loom. I had taken all the necessary measurements, so I had high hopes for success this time. As I knitted it I could see it would be just about an inch or two too small, so I decided to knit some extra panels to accommodate for that. And I figured out a good way to knit the arm holes. I measured where the arm should be from the front of the sweater, and took the yarn off that peg. I tied a bit of white yarn through the loop so it wouldn’t unravel. Then I knitted what would be the front right hand side of the sweater, counting the rows until I had knitted what I needed. I continued in this way for the other two sections until all the sections were done. Then I just knit across the whole loom again until I was finished with the top. Voila! Arm holes! And best of all, IT FIT HER! This is the inside of the sweater:

And the outside:

Trial # 4: I knit the arms separately on the pink straight loom. Unfortunately the blue and tan yarn together were so tight that I would up breaking one of the pegs! After I was able to get the broken piece out of the loom and replace the peg, I continued. I made sure to decrease at intervals by two pegs to account for the shape of the sleeve.

Trial #5: I had already purchased a zipper for the sweater. But during the process I had decided that the zipper was not the way I wanted to go anymore; I wanted her to have buttons. So we went to the store and I let her pick out buttons, guiding her as to which ones would probably work best. Now: how to attach them? And since I didn’t put button holes, now what? I decided to make “latches” instead. Using the LA tan yarn, the round blue loom, and using a drawstring cast on, I knit about 8 rows, pulled the drawstring and bound off. Then I braided some yarn that was big enough for the button to go through, but it would be snug. Then I sewed the two pieces together and sewed them onto the sweater. Almost done!

Trial #6: Since I haven’t learned how to decrease on the round loom yet, I knew the shoulder area was going to be a problem. So I decided to knit a collar to compensate for that. I knit the collar on the yellow round loom and attached it to the top, and that helped it. Then I sewed part of the shoulder on an angle so it would cover her shoulders better. I still have a little bit left to do, and I still have to finish cutting all the loose yarn, but for all purposes, the sweater is DONE! Yay!

All told, it took about 25-30 hours to complete, and I used 6 skeins of the charlotte blue yarn. I still could use another one to “touch up” a few areas, but wow! I made a sweater! And it fit! And my daughter loves it! And I just winged the pattern! Next time I will find a pattern I like and follow that instead, but it did give me a sense of creating something totally on my own.

1 comment:

  1. will thank extremely , if , you have seen the work knits a shirt with blocks my wood ,
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