My First Sweater


Somewhere, in a box in a dark basement or nestled amongst the dust bunnies under a bed, we all have it… our first sweater. I found mine while I was moving, and I felt mixed dread and affection.

The dread, because it really isn't a very pretty thing. I made it from a mystery pattern in a battered old pamphlet of beginning crochet patterns sent to me by a friend who knew I was desperate for new patterns (I was living overseas at the time, and had no access to patterns in English).

The affection comes from the fact that this sweater marks the turning point where I finally considered myself a true crocheter.

It was my first project that was not a hat or scarf. It was my first project where I did a gauge swatch, and actually listened to it. It was the first project where I picked out yarn specifically for the pattern, and not because it was soft and pretty. It was the first project where I wove in the ends instead of tying a great big knot (this took guts…but they're still woven in). It was terrifying. I had to count. But I was learning to crochet post stitches and seaming and shaping and construction. I also learned a lot about my own habits as a crocheter. For example:

See that stitch? That one right there? The double crochet stitch that was supposed to be a half double? It's been 10 years, and it still bothers me. I learned that, no matter how tiny the mistake, I really need to just rip it out and fix it, or it will annoy me forever.

I don't think I've ever actually worn the sweater anywhere. And when I think back, I never pictured myself wearing it. I just needed to make it. I needed to cross that threshold, because I knew that, on the other side, there was nothing stopping me. I believed that, if I could make a sweater, I could make anything.

It was great for my budding crochet confidence, and I don't think I've ever hesitated over a difficult pattern since. Looking back, that almost seems silly to me, as this pattern was by no means difficult, especially considering the incredible direction crochet has taken since then, but it symbolized something for me that made everything click.

So tell me about your own threshold pattern. What were you making when you found your crochet confidence?

Until next time,

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