Have you always dreamed of knitting a sweater? But are you too intimidated to actually start one? Read on. I found myself in that spot about a year ago, decided to take the plunge anyway, and never looked back. The key?
- Some saved money (if you wanna do it well, it’s not gonna come cheap)
- A little beforehand practice (if you’re completely new to knitting)
- Loads of free time (a holiday worked wonders for me)
Leave the preparation to others
I’ve talked about this before, in my post on the value of selling simple knitting patterns, but the actual designing of a knitwear project (like a sweater) is timeconsuming labor. How perfect your sweater is going to turn out totally depends on the combination of yarn, needles, stitch pattern, sizing, etc. As a brand new sweater knitter, you don’t wanna be bothered by all that! So the best thing to do is to buy a so-called knit kit. A knit kit consists of a pattern written specifically for the yarn and needles that come with it. Therefore, you basically can’t go wrong. Wool and the Gang and We Are Knitters are probably the most famous companies selling awesome knit kits. They both work with quality yarns that don’t come cheap, but that will leave you with a sweater you’ll actually wear. Worth the investment, I’d say. I chose WatG’s Coco Sailor sweater, because it is labeled as easy (I knew my limits). Plus, I love anything striped.
Take your time
Once you’ve received your knit kit, you’ll probably be overenthusiastic and dying to start. Take it slow though. Read through the pattern, take the measurements of your favorite sweater, knit a test swatch to check your gauge (this is all explained in the pattern, don’t worry). Especially if you’re completely new to knitting, it’s important first to try out the stitches you’ll need. The handy thing about knitting is that you can rip out your test swatches afterwards and use the yarn again for your project. WatG’s patterns come with all the instructions you’ll need and they have YouTube tutorials as well! For the Coco Sailor sweater, you only need to learn how to knit and purl, cast on and off, and make increases. These are basic stitches that anyone can learn in no time!
It may be worthwhile to start the actual project at some point when you’ve got loads of free time. This way, you can knit on it regularly and for longer periods of times. This will increase your speed and help you keep the same tension throughout the project. I bought my Coco Sailor sweater kit specifically to take with me on a holiday and aimed at finishing it before going home again. (That didn’t really work out, it was only an 8-day holiday, and of course I didn’t work on it all day, so it took me slightly longer. But anyway, you get the idea.)
Oh, and I can tell you this: there’s nothing better than poolside knitting. <3
Follow the pattern
Now all you have to do is follow the pattern exactly. This may sound obvious, but I know many newbee knitters (myself included) who – inexperienced as they are – still think they know better than the designer when something doesn’t 1-2-3 seem to turn out how they think it should. Don’t change anything! A beginners sweater pattern often has an oversized, square fit. That means there’s almost nothing that can turn out wrong size-wise. That is not to say that I wouldn’t do anything differently if I were knitting this sweater again. I’d definitely make some changes. But that has to do with the (expanded) knowledge about sweater knitting I have now. Beginners knit kits are designed to be easy, and therefore often exclude the little tips and tricks more experienced knitters would apply, because that would mean bothering the beginner knitter with yet another technique to learn.
After seaming the different parts of your sweater together (which I actually found the most difficult part), all you have to do is enjoy your new sweater! If you’ve loved the process, make notes about what you could do to improve the design next time. Hopefully, this project taught you the basics of knitting and sweater construction. And if you’re like me, you probably can’t stop thinking about all the possibilities this opens up!