It’s probably not a shock that I’m prone to sweeping “I’ll never” generalizations. I’ve absolutely said repeatedly over the years that I’d never knit a sweater. I’ve been knitting and crocheting most of my life, and have barely managed to finish small scarves I’ve started. I think until I hit college I actually never finished an entire project. This pair of socks had a 5 year lapse between them!
My stance started to soften as my friends started having kids, and baby sweaters are cute and seemed pretty safe in terms of fitting. Even in my days of skipping swatches, if I aimed for slightly big the baby would fit into it eventually, right? Fitting myself, an adult human who is no longer growing and much more particular about fit than an infant, seemed like something I didn’t want to do.
Cue to last year when I found Tin Can Knits and the Harvest Cardigan. I saw some great finished projects on Instagram, and decided to just go for it. It seemed like a pretty safe beginner’s project to tackle since it’s a top-down knit so you can try on and adjust as you go, but don’t ask me how you’d adjust because that still confuses me. There’s no finishing other than weaving in ends and blocking, and it has no closures so if it’s a little tight or loose, who will know?
Serendipitously, a Michael’s had just opened up near my house, so I decided I’d buy some cheap wool when they had a sale (Patons Classic Wool), so if I never finished it wouldn’t be a huge loss. I think I paid about $28 for the 8 skeins, and I have two leftover. I really hated knitting with this wool, but the end product looks and feels really nice.
I knit my swatch in late December 2016 and my gauge was pretty close in stitches but really off in rows. I got 17.5 stitches and 23 rows / 4″ with size 8s, when the pattern called for 18/26. I consulted with a craft group I’m in as well as my prolific sweater knitting mother-in-law, Jackie, who all gave me some good advice about adjusting as I went for the row discrepancy. I decided to just try and tighten up my tension a bit to accommodate the stitch discrepancy and figure out the rows if needed as I went and tried it on. It turns out everything worked out fine. Modifying my tension a bit got my gauge right on track and I had to adjust nothing!
I started the actual sweater on January 3, 2017, and the instructions and knit-along were very detailed and helpful and I didn’t need to call in any help for the rest of the project! I stalled on this as soon as it got warm, and picked it back up in September aiming to get it done by the end of the year. SUCCESS! Just in time for this BOMB CYCLONE hitting us right now, the cardigan is blocked and finished and I looooove it. The wool softened up a bit in my Soak wash, and doesn’t feel very scratchy. It’s warm and cozy and I really like the wide garter bands on the hem and cuffs and collar.
Before I first blocked it, I thought it might be a bit short, so I stretched it a bit vertically and it’s perfect now. Check out this blocking before and after! I used to never bother blocking anything but now it’s the most satisfying part of the knitting process for me.
I’m pretty chuffed with this sweater and I think I’ll get a ton of wear out of it over the next few months. I also think I’ll make another sweater and have increased my budget for the yarn for the next one since I actually finished such a big project!