I started thinking about this challenge back at the end of last year, as I kept trying to finish a sweater for Christmas...and then for New Year's...and then finally realizing that December is a hard time to knit for yourself when there are so many gifts and projects that need to be completed before Christmas morning. I finished my last knitted gift somewhere in the wee hours of December 25th. I wouldn't trade those hours for anything, it's so rewarding to see people wear and enjoy something you made. And it's taken a lot of years to actually be able to turn out desirable knit wear.
So the holidays came and went and my sweater went nowhere, even on the plane ride home I was knitting a belated Christmas gift to make up for an ill fitting hat. But then we settled into January at home with buckets and bushels of snow and I took some time to start on my sweater quest.
My goal is to make twelve sweaters in Twenty Twelve, at least that's my loose goal, and so far I'm still on track, with two done and one 15" in.
Really, it's not about making a certain number of sweaters. But I do want to make enough that I develop a solid grasp of the art of sweater making. I have knit a sweater or two before, one that was grossly oversized and the second was a repeat of the first in smaller dimensions. I've started on more sweaters throughout the years, but even with a gauge swatch I struggle to get the right fit. And who wants to knit for weeks on end and end up with an ill fitting garment.
While knitting a sweater takes some skill, it is not rocket science, I should be able to do it. So that's the project: to work on a new type of sweater every month and to learn a little more about sweater construction, fit and finishing options with each one.
I even used the suggested yarn on the pattern: Lark made by Quince & Co.. Imagine that, using the specific yarn that a pattern is written for, I don't think I've ever done that before. But it was nice to remove one variable and I was happy to have an excuse to use Quince & Co.'s yarn.
Their yarn is really lovely and they have a great story. They are a young American Company, that sources most of their wool from sheep raised in Wyoming and Montana. They then mill it in an old New England mill. They have a great design aesthetic and I hope to make a few more of their sweaters in this coming year.
This sweater was knit from the bottom up and has a raglan sleeve with some garter stitch detailing at the hem and the cuff. I really like the garter stitch on the cuff, it gives the sleeves a nice fit and they stay put, without being too tight.
This pattern is well written and my only difficulties came with my own learning curve of getting the fit just right. I had to cast on and knit the first few inches of this pattern a few times before my sizing started to work out. I ended up knitting for a size smaller and counting on the stretch of the yarn and the knit fabric to make up the difference. And it did, the sweater is plenty roomy now, but not too much. I learned that negative ease is such an important concept to keep in mind if you want more of a fitted sweater.
So there you have it: January's sweater, super cozy and comfy, with a cowl you can practically hide in. I can't wait to order more yarn from Quince & Co. and start on another. But until then I'm busy working on March's Fair Isle spring sweater. I'll save the photos of February's Sweater (Vest) to show you later in the week.