My goal for the year is to knit a sweater for myself. I was not ready to jump into such a large endeavor, so I started looking up newborn sweaters. I figured I would start small… if I could create a newborn sweater, there’s a chance that I might be able to create one for myself one day in the future. I searched ravelry for an easy newborn sweater, and found one that was knit in one piece using worsted weight yarn. This sounded like a good option, so I went with it! Unfortunately, it was linked through ravelry, but it was actually from a book. The good news was that my library had a digital copy in stock and I was able to borrow it for free on my phone, found and downloaded in minutes. (Side note: if you have the technology, I highly recommend borrowing library books through digital media!) You can click here to link to the pattern I found on ravelry, or you can find it in the book More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts, by Joelle Hoverson.
Using the same circular needles I used on the hat, I was able to knit the sweater. Although it is not done in the round, the circular needles provide lots of space to create larger projects. Then you can simply switch back and forth between the needles as if it were knit using straight needles. Knowing this, I have almost completely converted to circular needles!
Next decision: what yarn to use? I found some great yarn at Hobby Lobby that is 100% cotton (“I Love this Cotton!” in blue). The downfall to using cotton for a sweater is that it is not as springy as a wool yarn or mixed yarn (according to the lovely lady at the yarn store). This makes sense and is good information for when I create a larger sweater. For a newborn, though, I don’t think the yarn needs to be as springy and it’s hard to beat the soft feel of cotton while holding that sweet little one.
The project began at the bottom of the back of the sweater and utilized the seed stitch. I had never done a seed stitch before, but it is created simply by alternating knit/purl stitches. Instead of lining them up like you do to make ribbing, you stagger them. Once again, if you don’t know how to do it, look on YouTube. That site has revolutionized crafting!
It was SO exciting when a sweater shape started to form! Here it is with the back of the sweater completed. (Note: the wavy shape along the back is a result of it being held on the curved wire of the circular needles. It would not lie completely flat while attached. Also, I realize the lighting is bad, so you get a better idea of the actual sweater color in the final pictures.)
You’ll also notice in the picture that I got to use stitch markers for the first time (and understand what they were for). Stitch markers slide onto your needle according to the pattern directions (typically indicated as “pm” or “place marker”) and you slide them onto each new needle as you stitch. As you work, the markers define the changes in the pattern. For example, you can see in the picture that the seed stitch was worked along the cuff to create a pattern at the end of the sleeve. Then the stitching went back to stockinette before reaching the stitch marker at the top of the garment, indicating that I should switch to seed stitch along the collar of the sweater. The two remaining place markers work the same way to keep the garment symmetrical.
This project was a challenge, but it gave me a good understanding about a lot of techniques used in making a sweater. It did not turn out perfectly, but, hey, I had only been knitting for a couple of weeks! The biggest problem was that the stitches did not line up perfectly, so it caused some bumps during the seaming and prevent the front of the sweater from lining up just right. Because of this, I am still debating whether or not to add buttons. The pattern did not call for button holes, but says that the stitches have enough room to fit small buttons. I have my doubts about this, mostly because my husband has a hard time lining up buttons on a baby when there are actual holes that match up. That, and I kind of like it button-free.
I hope to knit a few more small sweaters before I attempt to put the work into making one for myself. With boys ranging in ages from newborn to age 7 1/2, I figure I have plenty of “models” for creating garments. I want the sweater for myself to look GOOD, and not look like some kind of craft project… my boys aren’t as picky!
Along with the blue cotton yarn, I purchased some coordinating green yarn. I’ve been using them to create mix-and-match separates, which I plan to blog about. Here’s a sneak peek of what’s coming: