I made a sweater!

Anyone who knows or has seen me for more than 42 seconds in the last few years knows I like to knit and crochet, and do so pretty much constantly.

Like the kitties of the interwebs proclaiming “I fits, I sits!” – for me it’s “I sits, I knits!”

Including while camping.

But while I have made tons of hats, scarves, bags, even a few blankets and one pair of socks, I had never made a sweater. Never really even thought about it…

Until last February, when I was on a business trip in Connecticut in a blizzard. I stayed at the hotel an extra night because I refused to drive anywhere else until they at least got a chance to plow the 6 compacted inches of snow off the highway (plus I was still exhausted from driving up in it the night before). So I enjoyed a nap and dinner and another nap that turned into a good night’s sleep, and when I woke up, all the roads were perfectly clear and dry. (It was honestly impressive. Apparently CT knows how to deal with snow.) w-joshk

So I decided to drive up to Massachusetts (since I was already mostly there) and visit my friend Josh and then cousin Adria (plus her kiddo and Nixon), but none of them were free til evening, so I packed up, checked out, had some pho fo’ lunch and went exploring in a local yarn store!

I fell in love with a many different lovely skeins of yarn, and a couple followed me home (some needles too) – mostly 6 skeins of gorgeous Malabrigo Rios in two different varigated rust colorways (one with more browns and purples, one with more reds and greens) that decided they needed me to make them into a sweater.

But see, remember that part about how I had never made a sweater? This yarn was way to marvelous and at $15ish a skein, a little too pricey to risk screwing up with my first-ever attempt at something more complicated than a hat. So I bought a bunch of $2.50 Caron Simply Soft in a delightful teal color to do a practice run!

I had a pretty specific idea of what I wanted, and couldn’t find any patterns that did that were right… so since it was a practice sweater anyway, I decided to just wing it, make it up as I went, and it worked!

My first sleeve ever!

I really wanted an envelope neckline, like on a baby onesie. Surprise, surprise, nobody makes patterns for adult onsies (or sweaters with similar necklines). but I figured the shape I wanted was really just a straight horizontal line across my collar bone, that wraps over the top of my shoulders, and the same across my back, with those edges wrapping forward… so I did exactly that, with two straight rectangles of stockinette stitch (with a bit of ribbing on the top edge to keep it from curling. I tried to make them as wide as my shoulders, and just long enough so the bottoms could meet under my arms, then added a few more rows, increasing at the edges to form a curve before joining them to knit in the round.

Went around the circle for an inch or so straight, increased a bit for boobs, an inch or so straight, decreased a bit for less boobs, an inch or so straight, and then placed 4 stitch markers evenly around and increased (m1, alternating directions) at each one every 3rd row to create an A-line… kept that up until I thought it was long enough, did an inch-ish of ribbing to match the top, and bound off.

Then I temporarily joined the top edges in the envelope neckline I wanted, picked up stitches through both the front and back panels where they overlapped, then continued around the arm hole that created, and knit the first sleeve – shoulder down in the round, plain stockinette, decreasing (k2tog) every 5th row on the underside, until it seemed long enough, and added an inch of ribbing at the bottom before moving onto the other!

It turned out a lot bigger than planned… but once I sewed the envelope a little more closed on either side so it didn’t actually fall off my shoulders, it ended up being kind of perfect – a long, loose A-line tunic I can wear as a dress or just a super cozy sweater!