My philosophy when trying something new is to jump straight into it. I am prone to getting distracted and stopping mid-way through an activity, so working on a complicated project is a meaningful choice as it helps me stay engaged. If you also struggle with this, I highly recommend choosing a tricky project to fill your time with. Even though it might be extremely frustrating at times, it helps you stay focused and on track.
It was with this philosophy in mind that I decided to make a sweater as my first knitting project rather than something more beginner-friendly, like a scarf. As someone whose only experience with knitting is a small square patch I made in eighth grade, it might not have been the best idea to try making a sweater. However, I was confident that with my experience in crocheting, I could quickly pick up the necessary skills to complete a sweater.
I started out by finding a simple tutorial on YouTube and visiting a super cool yarn store called Gather Here in Cambridge. If anyone is interested in learning to crochet or knit or wants a cool new place to buy yarn, I highly recommend this yarn store. They have a large selection of yarn in varying fibers and lots of tools and accessories to bring your project to life!
After choosing a chunky white yarn and getting all the necessary knitting needles, I jumped straight into the tutorial. This tutorial used a top-down construction which means that you work on the sweater from, well, the top down. You start by knitting the collar and work down towards the bottom of the garment. This part of the sweater was relatively easy, with most of my difficulties not from the knitting itself, but the yarn I picked. At one point, the yarn just split in half and caused a huge hole in the middle of the sweater, which was extremely frustrating. I ended up being able to fix this hole, but there is a somewhat noticeable gap in the front panel.
Besides that, I think my biggest mistake was knitting too loosely which ruined the proportions of the sweater. When I had finished the body and was ready to move on to the sleeves, I tried it on to check my progress. At first, I was disappointed by what I was looking at. The sweater was way too wide and was not as cute as I had imagined it to be. I probably would’ve given up then, or restarted, but I quickly realized that I should follow through with what I started and use this as a learning experience for future projects.
Now, onto the sleeves. After you knit a certain amount down the body, you section off a part of it to be knit into sleeves and then continue to knit the rest of the body. This means you have to later pick the stitches sectioned off for the sleeve and continue knitting. The actual process of picking up these stitches was difficult as I had no idea what part of the stitch to pick up and how to ensure there were no gaps in the armpit area.
I haven’t quite finished the sweater, but I am confident I will be able to have a decent-looking piece of apparel by its completion. Looking back, I am glad that I decided to jump straight into the deep end as it feels so much more gratifying when I make progress. It is also so nice to have something to do when I have a little break between classes or downtime after I finish all my work. I can turn on an episode of my new favorite show and make some progress on my sweater. It helps to take my mind off stressful parts of my life and keep my brain busy even when I am taking a break.