First sweater: Allison’s Colorwork Cardigan

We’re traveling the blogs, talking about first knitting experiences! My own contribution will be making an appearance on a different blog, but I thought this would be a great time to revisit Allison’s Vera Cardigan.

If you weren’t following the Knitscene blog when Allison (managing editor extraordinaire for Knitscene, Interweave Knits, Interweave Crochet, and Sockupied) first started her sweater knitting odyssey, Allison had never made a knitted sweater before this endeavor. She fell in love with Alexis Winslow’s Vera Cardigan from Knitscene Winter 2011 and wanted a version of her own.

At first glance, a long-sleeved knit cardigan with stranded colorwork bands, front edges, and pockets may not seem like the ideal first sweater knitting project, but as I told Allison then and many other people since, knit what you want to knit. If you fall in love with a project, knit that project (time and stash allowing, obviously). Maybe a sweater pattern looks complicated from the photographs, but every potential complication is really just a learning opportunity in disguise. Concerned about knitting a sweater that fits? I wrote a short treatise on knitting sweaters to fit you—there are so many resources for making the perfect sweater and I rounded up just a small selection in that post. Many designers we work with teach classes on sweater fit as well; look to your local yarn store or suggest a class to the owner!

Yes, knitting sweaters that fit will require a bit of research, which occasionally feels like work, but would you rather read up or take a class on how to knit sweaters to fit or forever be daunted by the idea of sweater knitting? (I mean, if you don’t want to knit sweaters, disregard that part but remember the part about “complicated patterns” as learning opportunities—there are some intimidating-looking socks or what have you, too!)

The key to knitting anything, be it the first time or fiftieth, is to accept that you will likely make mistakes. It happens. We’re humans. It’s just yarn. We can tink back, drop down, or rip (as much as we try to avoid it), and make it perfect, or learn to live with small imperfections (and conveniently forget to point them out when people compliment our knitting projects).

Catch up on other stops from our “My first. . .” tour: Louisa wrote about her first sweater experiment (and wished she’d worn it this morning—it’s finally a bit chilly in Colorado!); Lisa dug up one of her earliest projects in this post (that woman is a machine, I tell you); Annie talks about the trials and tribulations of learning to knit; and Kathleen shared her first knitting swatch (confession: I used to never swatch, but having reaped the benefits, I am now a somewhat preachy convert to the School of Swatching).

Okay I lied a little. The key to knitting, more than accepting mistakes, is to have fun. If we’re not having fun, why do it? So have fun with all of your firsts. (And accept that you might make a mistake.)

Happy knitting,

P.S. Stop by next week when the preview for Knitscene Winter goes live—plenty of potential first sweaters in that issue!


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