As alluded to in this previous post. At knitting group, the first one after my Christmas sweater 2017 post, I was told that I should tell the story of the FIRST Christmas sweater.It starts many, many years ago. My poor, long-suffering, mother tried to teach me to knit. After a painful stab at creating my first (and only, so far) slipper (more accurately referred to as Franken-slipper), Mom told me, “it’s ok. you have other skills”. This was somewhere in my late teens.
Fast forward many years into my adulthood. Mom is gone. I have gotten it into my mind that I want to learn to knit so as to be able to make a sweater for my sweetie, that I could gift to him at Christmas time. I must have mentioned this desire to my, then boss, friend Barb. She told me that she could teach me how to knit. Due to my previous experience with knitting, I warned her that it was most likely an impossible task. She bravely assured me that it would be fine. She gave me a list of supplies to get started with and we would start the next day over lunch break. After work I went to the local store and picked up some straight bamboo knitting needles in a US size 7, and a ball of cotton yarn. We would be starting with dish cloths.
She showed me how to cast on, knit and purl. She gave me some instructions and set me free! I had to teach myself how to keep my tongue in my mouth as I knit, but other than that I was off!
At first, I couldn’t really ‘see’ the difference in the stitches of knit and purl. I knew that I should, but I just couldn’t seem to be able to do so. I went to another local craft store and purchased a book called “Stitch and Bitch a knitter’s handbook”
I would sit up in bed and read as much as I could absorb each night. I could finally see the difference between the two basic stitches. I found myself dreaming about knitting. I finished the first dishcloth and… I had forgotten how to cast on. This is when I discovered u-tube. I re-learned how to do the long tail cast on (I’m sorry, I didn’t keep track of the video that I used and can’t give credit to you. I do send you thankful vibes out on a frequent basis for furthering my knitting ambitions). I finished a second dishcloth, thus using up all of the yarn that I had purchased (one ball, two dishcloths).
Now, I was ready for something a little more complex. Barb suggested a shawl. I don’t remember if she gave me the pattern, gave me a choice of patterns or told me to pick out my own pattern, but I ended up with a pattern. I bought more yarn. This time it was a beautiful light cornflower blue from Caron Simply Soft. After purchasing it, I got to looking at it and realized that it was the same color as the cotton yarn that I had used to make the dishcloths. (I guess I like that color). I remember making the shawl. I was very pleased with it’s outcome, but I don’t particularly remember having any huge struggles with it. I should probably check with Barb to see if she remembers it differently. After successfully graduating from the shawl, Barb said that I was ready to move onto My First Sweater! At her suggestion, I signed up for Ravelry. I looked at many patterns and found some that I thought would be handsome on my sweetie. I think 5 of them were marked as beginner and one was marked as intermediate. I printed them off and let sweetie pick the sweater that he wanted me to make for him. He picked the hardest one… IT HAD CABLES!
Ok. I then took him to the store to let him pick out the yarn. He picked out some lovely brown fisherman’s wool with a white fleck. It was pretty yarn.
Then I got started. I learned a lot on this project. I learned that it is hard to count the stitches that you are casting on when other people are talking to me, especially if they are saying numbers. I learned that sometimes they are saying numbers on purpose because they are ornery. I learned that I will only tolerate so many errors in a project before I frog the whole thing back to ground zero and start over. I learned that I usually need to start over completely from scratch about 4 times before I get it right. (much, much later I learned that I also have a top end of starting over before I get disgusted with a project and abandon it… 6) I learned the importance of ‘life-lines’ in my knitting. I learned that it is wonderful to have people that you can go to when you are completely lost. I learned how to do cables (they are fun, look amazing and are not all that hard to do). I also learned that it is important to check in with your Knitting Sensei from time to time to make sure that you are still ‘doing it right’.
I had been making great (even if I do say so myself) progress on the sweater, so Barb had pretty much left me to my own devises. It was getting close to Christmas and I had finished all the pieces and needed to know how to put them all together, so I called her up and made arrangements to go to her house. With all the pieces in hand I arrived at her house and proudly showed them to her. She was looking at them and then got a funny look on her face. Then she says, “I am so sorry…”. She said that I was doing well enough that she didn’t check in with me. Then she went on to explain that I had done the decreases for the armholes on the wrong sides. This had created a VERY DEEP “v” neck in the center of the front of the sweater. Imagine the late 1970’s with polyester shirts unbuttoned down to the belly button, lots of chest hair and lots of gold chains deep. This was hilariously funny. Still is. I went back home, frogged the offending section of the sweater and re-knit it correctly. He managed to get his Christmas sweater by February of the next year. I actually did a nice job.
The thing is…
To this day, whenever I am making something with sleeves or a neckline there will come a time in the project when the ladies will start giggling and I will look up to see this: