First Sweater, Complete: Andrea’s Murray Pullover

I have officially completed my first-ever handknitted sweater! Congratulations are in order, if I do say so myself. For my first foray into garments with sleeves, I chose the Murray Pullover, a design from Wool Studio Vol. VI, the Norah Gaughan Collection. It’s a simple design with an allover stitch pattern, almost no shaping, and drop shoulders, so I wouldn’t be tripped up learning new skills while knitting the largest thing I’ve ever made. This, as it turns out, was a really good idea.

The Murray Pullover used two hand-painted colorways of Ancient Arts Nettle Soft in a simple but striking sweater pattern.

It also doesn’t hurt to choose a design you’re absolutely in love with for your first sweater. I definitely achieved this with the absolutely gorgeous Murray Pullover, designed by Norah Gaughan. Photo by Harper Point Photography.

While the knitting was never particularly difficult in the course of my sweater adventure, I underestimated how much endurance I would need to complete my journey.

I started my Murray Pullover back in March. Back then, when I was young and naïve, I thought I would finish up in late April. When last you heard from me in mid-May, I was confidently knitting my way down the first sleeve, having missed my deadline, but feeling certain that I would finish before summer officially started.

*checks calendar* Whoops.

Things got much more frustrating from there. Somehow, I never quite realized how much fabric there is in one sleeve . . . much less two! My long-standing fear of sleeves began to seem a lot less irrational. If you think second sock syndrome is bad, try second sleeve syndrome!

Despite using all the best speed-knitting tips at my disposal, my unofficial deadline came and went. I shrugged and kept knitting my sleeves. I’d be done in time for women’s winter, at any rate!

The Murray Pullover was an awesome choice for a first sweater knitting pattern!

My Murray Pullover is all finished, just in time to combat the office AC during women’s winter!

Once the knitting was done on the sleeves, the finishing really wasn’t so bad. I brushed up on my mattress stitch skills and did my seaming in two long sessions. Considering how worried I was about finishing, it was pretty anti-climactic—truly, nothing I hadn’t done before. Maybe it was just that I could sense that I was in the home stretch, but I found seaming much more tolerable than actually knitting the darned sleeves!

While I’ve certainly broken myself of my fear of knitting sweaters, I think I’m solidly ready to go back to the sleeveless life for a while. In fact, I might even need a short break from knitting altogether! A seasonal switch to crochet, anyone?

What do you like to knit after weeks straight of working on a big project? Let me know in the comments!

Yours in Stitches,

(Photography by Andrea Lotz unless credited otherwise.)

What will you choose for your first sweater pattern?