Wear What You Make: First Scarf Is the Itchiest
Do you remember the first time? Slowly slipping each stitch over the other and off the needle, until the final one remained. Then there it was, a wearable object! From a ball of yarn to a wearable object, transformed by magically interconnecting loops. That feeling of accomplishment and pride stays with you, even if those first attempts always don’t.
Sonya is wearing: garter stitch scarf (own pattern) in La Gran Mohair by Classic Elite; Joan Fuller by Ellen Mason in Merino/Mohair Worsted by Beaverslide Dry Goods; 100 Acts of Sewing Dress no. 2; and Pants no. 1.
The first accessory I knit was a garter stitch scarf made with hot pink La Gran Mohair (pictured above). I second-guessed the width and cast on too many stitches, which of course resulted in another trip to the store to buy more yarn.
What drew me to the yarn was the color. I didn’t consider how scratchy a mohair blend would feel against my neck. Likening the sensation to a brillo pad might be a slight exaggeration, but it’s a comparison that gets across the general point.
Machine knit cowl by Julia Billings of Woollenflower; cardigan (own pattern) in Alpaca Silk by Blue Sky Alpaca; first dress of the 100 Acts of Sewing project (own pattern); and Pants no. 2.
After tackling more scarves and hats, I was ready to up my garment game and decided to knit a cardigan for my daughter, who was a toddler at the time. I followed a pattern, but was cavalier with yarn substitution. While I might have grasped the concept of gauge, it wasn’t something I put into practice with much accuracy. It was another case of running out of yarn, but this time the store had closed and I couldn’t find anything to match the tweedy pink yarn. A decision was made to use a contrasting yarn and make it look like a deliberate choice, with one pink front, one green front and opposite color sleeves. The result was an overly large garment that didn’t fit her until she was in kindergarten and had the look of a letter jacket crossed with a watermelon.
Knitting Pure & Simple Neck Down Cardigan # 9725 (modified) by Diane Soucy in Manos Classica; Dress no. 2 and Pants no. 1.
One would think my approach to knitting myself a sweater for the first time, given my previous track record, would be one of more careful deliberation. Dear reader, this was not the case. It was the early 2000s and like many newly-minted knitters of the time, I worshipped at the altar of Rowan Magazine. The sweater pattern came from A Season’s Tale and I knit with the yarn called for in the pattern, but that was where my adherence ended.
For whatever reason, I decided to make my sweater striped, nothing too major there. Not like the decision to modify the raglan pullover pattern into a cardigan. Needless to say, it was a complex undertaking for my ability at the time, and something went wonky at the underarms. When I tried the sweater on, it looked like I had an extra set of breasts, which was not appealing. I salvaged the sweater by chopping off the excess fabric and serging a new seam, an unconventional approach to be sure.
Shona by Kim Hargreaves (heavily modified) in Rowanspun DK; Shirt no. 1; Dress no. 1; and denim pants (own pattern).
My early projects were full of beginner mistakes and much fudging. I know I learned a lot from them and over time, steadily sharpened my skills. I started paying more attention to gauge and knitting swatches.
But I continue to make modifications and still run out of yarn on occasion. I am just as scrappy in all my making, be it sewing or cooking. I prefer to think of it as innovating. Diving in with enthusiasm can lead to interesting things, and in my case they usually end up being of the bright colored variety.