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As Promised: My First Disastrous Sweater

Blog » Sweaters » As Promised: My First Disastrous Sweater

As Promised: My First Disastrous Sweater

Liat Gat - Founder

November 6, 2020

My first sweater was an ill-chosen pattern knitted in a bland color. Heavy steeked seams and holes that appeared in the fabric made it worse. Here's what I learned, and some of my successful sweaters since then.

Now, As Promised: My First Sweater

I think the notes in my Ravelry project tell the story better than I could:

I am knitting this entirely in the round a la E.Z. (Elizabeth Zimmerman). It is my very first sweater! Zoooooom! Yay!

I’ve seamed the shoulders with a 3-needle bind-off and am zooming aroung the neck. I can’t wait to steek the armholes. Eunny Jang’s instructions for crochet steeking have left me confident and excited.

Things not going perfectly. Oh well.

Have two holes to repair. Otherwise, it’s not bad!

I repaired the two holes. I’m glad I did – now I know how to graft knitting and repair holes!

Well, the shapeless bag has now become the fish sweater! There’s no going back now.

Welcome to Liat’s world of fish.

Well, it’s the ugliest sweater in the world but at least it’s done.

Liat's Fish Sweater
Me modeling the “Fish” Sweater
This was the pose the pattern model was doing…
Liat's Fish Sweater
The embroidered fish are there to cover up the holes that formed when I washed the sweater for the first time.

It turns out, when there are knots in the ball of yarn, you can’t just knit them into the sweater. You have to cut them out and join the yarn again as if it’s a new skein of yarn.

This sweater wasn’t a total loss – it turned out to be the perfect thing to bring to our Christmas White Elephant party.

But I’m mostly thankful for the lessons I learned about choosing yarn, picking the right style and size, and checking gauge, that I now get to pass on to you. Oh, and because I didn’t let this less-than-wonderful sweater stop me, I’ve knitted and even designed many lovely, fun, and I’m-proud-I-made-it sweaters since then.

Poppy by Lisa Shobhana Mason
Liat Fitted Sweater
Wisteria by Kate Gilbert
Fair Isle Yoke Pullover by Elizabeth Zimmermann
Elizabeth Bennet by Liat Gat
Winter Waterfall Lace Sweater - Field of Gold

A few of the sweaters I’ve made since then.

You might notice that I gravitated to jewel-toned, fitted, sweaters with large necklines and flared sleeves. You will start to learn the particulars that work for you, as well.

Still to come – overcoming potential hangups BEFORE they snag you.

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4 thoughts on “As Promised: My First Disastrous Sweater”

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  1. I’m not sure about sharing my “wisdom” but my first sweater certainly come under what NOT to do. It was many, many decades ago and in my enthusiastic optimism, I broke several of your rules: Gauge? Measurements? Color choice? Style? Well, I figured if the designer said to use this weight yarn and needles for size small, surely they knew what they were doing, RIGHT? But somehow the color was a putrid green with little black pubic hairs running through it that looked like somebody barfed in the yarn mill. The size—well, I didn’t actually WEAR it, it wore me. Bozo the clown would have been right at home in it. After a decent amount of mourning, some very lucky, large, color-blind Good Will shopper benefitted from my efforts. But it must have contributed something to my later successes in knitting garments., and I have two closets full of beautiful knitting to show for it.

    1. HAAA! OMG that sounds more disastrous than mine. Why, why do we make these choices?! Or not notice how huge a sweater is WHILE we’re knitting it? It’s like we don’t want to see the truth.

      But it really does seem that a bad first sweater gets it out of your system somehow and makes room for all the good sweaters to follow. That’s why when people are loathe to start their first sweater for fear it won’t be perfect, they’re totally missing the point.

      <3 L

  2. I had a disaster for my first sweater because I didn’t check gauge. The pattern was from, and it was called Hey Teach. It had a lace top and a stockinette bottom. I made it for my SIL at Christmas. About halfway through the top, I had to add more yarn, and I did that in the middle of the back portion. I used Berroco Weekend yarn, which is a cotton acrylic blend. I thought I was so smart using up the yarn and changing in the middle. Well, I learned to always, always add new yarn at the end of a row and work the old yarn and new yarn in together. About a week before Christmas I was looking at the sweater and in the back top, right where I added the new ball of yarn, the yarn unraveled and there was a HUGE hole right in the back middle! I flew to my LYS and one of the ladies there sewed the hole up for me, but in my mind it was a disaster. AND it didn’t fit her! It took me 7 months to knit it, and it didn’t fit her!! I cried right there. I was so upset! It turned out that she threw everything out when my brother and her split up, so it didn’t matter anyway.

    1. OH MY GOSH that is certainly a disaster. Why do we have to learn this lesson about holes right in the middle of a sweater? I can’ t believe this has happened to both of us. I’m so sorry it didn’t fit her. I do feel sad to think of someone throwing out a hand-knit sweater… can I choose to believe she donated it instead?

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