Knit 101: Rachel’s Knitting Journey

This might surprise a lot of you, but I don’t really know how to knit. I’ve been the managing editor of all the Interweave knitting titles for over a year now and I’ve only managed to knit a couple of swatches. The learning curve is my biggest stumbling block—I have knitting and purling down pretty well, but anything beyond that intimidates me. And I have no idea how to fix mistakes, so when I make one I tend to just give up.

I’ve been chugging along on a massive swatch (“for practice,” I tell myself, although really I’m just too afraid to start anything real) for a couple of months now, but recently the knitting team encouraged me to start an actual project. They all claim it’s the best way to really learn, and since they’re the experts, I can’t really argue. So I started looking through back issues, trying to find the perfect pattern. I knew I wanted to make a sweater (just in time for winter!), but everything looked too difficult for my meager skills: too many cables, too much shaping, too many short-rows . . . I was the Goldilocks of beginner knitters. Nothing was just right.

I love the turtleneck-style collar, the subtle high-low hemline, the long length in the back and the loose fit of this tunic—super comfy but still cozy.

I love the turtleneck-style collar, the subtle high-low hemline, the long length in the back, and the loose fit of this tunic—super comfy but still cozy.

Around that time, I was proofing copy for Interweave Knits Winter 2017 and totally fell in love with the Killarney Tunic by Sarah Solomon. The gorgeous yarn, the simple but elegant design, the long length, the cozy feel—this tunic is basically my Platonic ideal of a sweater. And as luck would have it, the Killarney Tunic is a beginner-friendly sweater! I knew this was the project I’d been searching for. I consulted with project editor Laura Hulslander to ensure I could actually make this gorgeous sweater. She’s much more confident in my abilities than I am, and she assured me I could do it. (She also graciously volunteered to help me with this project—thanks, Laura!)

This blog series will chronicle my first steps in a sweater-making journey. Come back to the site every Thursday morning and check on my progress! I can pretty much guarantee that it will be slow (and probably painful to you experts), but it will be steady. I’d love to hear from you—advice, encouragement, and stories of your own first sweater are all welcome. And if you’re new to knitting (or knitting sweaters) yourself, please share your questions and frustrations. I’m looking forward to making this beautiful sweater, and to sharing the experience with all of you!

—Rachel Koon
Managing Editor, Interweave Knits


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