Sweater Challenge Update!

So I began my personal 2016 Sweater Challenge this past January (see earlier post this year).  I’ll admit it has been slow going, not because of difficulties with the project but just making time to work on it.

May has begun and I’m almost there!  I’m still totally in love with the yarn and can’t wait to see the finished product. Below is a picture of where I was in January compared to now – there are just 2 more inches of length in stockinette stitch before I can add the ribbing, then we’re off to blocking and the sewing together.

Now I don’t have a lot of experience with that “B” word … “blocking”.  This will be my first attempt at blocking a silk wool blend. After all the hard work, I really don’t want to mess up my pretty shrug.  If anyone has any tips that may help, please share!!!  Thanks so much!

Happy crafting!

2016 Challenge! My first knit sweater!

I’m all for personal growth, setting new goals and meeting challenges head on.  I’ve been dancing around the idea of learning to knit sweaters.  When I’ve looked at patterns, even for the most simple sweater, it seemed like such a daunting project – compared to hats and cowls, it’s, well, big!

With the New Year upon me, I’ve decided to man up and make my first sweater.  My sweet girl was so supportive, she bought me the Idiot’s Guide to Knitting Sweaters for Christmas this year to help me get started.  There’s a simple shrug pattern that I’m sure I can handle.  To add to the fun, my guy bought me a beautiful set of wood, interchangeable knitting needles – an absolute delight to use, with sharp points and smooth finish.  I could go on, but that’s a topic for another post.

I’m using Cascade Yarns Venezia (sport weight) which I mentioned in my earlier post today ~ I’ve almost got that tangled mess all sorted out.  A 70% merino wool and 30% mulberry silk, the yarn is soft, easy to work with and feels great against the skin.  .

I began the shrug yesterday evening and managed to complete the band which will become part of the collar and some of the body of the shrug today.  What makes this a sweet beginner’s project is that the knitted material is basically a large rectangle that’s folded and joining sides to create the arm holes.

A few things I’ve figured out after only a few hours of working on this project, which you may already know but I’m sending it out there for newbies like me:

  1. Read through the pattern in its entirety before beginning.  You will avoid any unwanted surprises.
  2. Using a pencil, circle the number of stitches that apply to the size of garment you are making.  It can be difficult to keep track of what you’ve done and what you need to do, with a long list of numbers to sort through.  I went through the pattern and circled the applicable number of stitches and underlined the type of stitch needed.  It’s been a big help to me.
  3. Double check the initial number of stitches cast and then check again after the first row – this was a total pain in my behind but well worth it as I accidentally dropped a couple of stitches when knitting the first row.

I’ll admit I got so excited finishing the 2 x 2 ribbing that I jumped right into the body of the shrug forgetting that I needed to switch the needle size up to the larger needles – doh!  Another lesson learned  – you could hear the “ribbit” as I frogged rows of stockinette.  On the bright side, I was able to salvage the ribbing and got some great practice putting stitches back on the needle, ever so carefully.

After all this, I’m emotionally exhausted. It’s time for bed. 😀