10 Things my Sweater Has Taught Me

This blog is called the Lumpy Sweater for a reason. My travails with my first sweater have been well documented here and here. But my sweater has also taught me a few things, too.

 1. Don’t get cocky.

 You measure and remeasure, and you’re 1 inch away from the next set of increases. You knit two rows, and suddenly you’ve knitted 3 inches more than that. Just rip it out, and reknit. And curse. (But not around the children!)

 2. Keep plugging away

 I’m knitting a sweater that uses DK (double knitting) weight yarn. The plus is that, for a low cost, you can get a sweaters amount of yarn! OMG, LOL! But, it also means that my sweater is growing sloowly. However, I have discovered that if I actually…knit my sweater, it adds up. I’m now onto my right front!

3. You Will Hate Your Sweater

Always, always, always start with a yarn and a pattern that you love. Because you will hate it at some point, and the temptation to give it all up is very strong. Remember why you picked that yarn–that pattern–and don’t give up. I hated everything about my sweater a few weeks ago–the color (that I picked and loved) the pattern (ditto) and I wanted to throw the whole thing into the trash can.

4. Just freakin’ ASK!

 Asking other people for help is better than what I did. I got some good advice; but I was still confused about what I should do. (I was working a v-neck and an armhole at the same time) Instead of simply asking for some clarification, I stuffed my sweater into a bag and didn’t look at it for a few months some time. After I reassessed the situation, I very quickly understood what I needed to do, and only cursed the lost time.

5. Don’t Panic! in large friendly letters on its cover…

 I nearly lost my lunch when my left sweater front was too short, but the ‘armhole’ was 8 inches deep, just like it was supposed to be! Actually, I was measuring the v-neck, not the armhole, and I still needed to knit for a few more inches. Phew!  After I knit those inches, I panicked again, because now it was too long–an inch longer than the back!

 I set the sweater aside for a few days, and when I compared the back to the front…guess what? It wasn’t longer, and certainly not by an inch. I had let my anxiety take over my common sense.

6. Companionship is good.

 My older sister also started knitting Basic Black when I did. Even though we live far away from each other, it was encouraging to see her pictures of her progress, and hear about her struggles or progress as she knit. It actually made the possibility of finishing it a reality in my mind. Yes, people CAN knit whole entire sweaters! Out of yarn!

 7. Stay Enthusiastic

 After feeling the ‘meh’ about my sweater for some time, I finally got my mojo back—and I’m not letting it go. I love my sweater, I love my yarn, I love my pattern, and I’m durned if I’m not going to get a lot of work done while it lasts!

 8. Get Perspective

 Yes, I know, it’s tempting to spend your entire life in a hole in the ground with nothing but your knitting and $750,000 in cash, but you need some perspective from other crafters. This is my first sweater, but since my perfectionism finds faults in everything, it meant a lot to me when LeAnne at my LYS said that I was doing a great job. Cheesy, maybe. But it worked.

9. Gimme a Break!

 Look, I know I’ve been talking about plugging away, yada yada, but sometimes you just need a break. A hat, a pair of socks, a small project to break up the monotony will always help. There’s no sense in trying to restrict yourself to just one project; it doesn’t work. You’ll just resent your sweater.

10. In the future, in a galaxy far, far away…

Your sweater will be finished. I’m still looking at the pieces of mine and trying to convince myself of that.

In conclusion…

Knitting a sweater will not only teach you some creative use of swear words, it will show you something about obstacles, learning, and more swear words.

 So get censored knitting!


April 7, 2008. Snark Editorial, works-in-progress.


  1. sarahkatie replied:

    You know both of us should write a book about what we went through knitting our first sweaters. It would be really interesting and probably quite hilarious.

  2. jinniver replied:

    My first sweater was just a test bed, and when that seemed to work pretty well, I went for a second with nice yarn. And I screwed up the neck when picking up stitches for the little roll at top–it was too tight to fit over my son’s head. One mistake I made was forgetting that young children don’t have the same proportions as adults–their heads are much bigger relative to their bodies. About the only thing that kept me from losing it was putting it into the perspective of, “Well, it won’t be cool enough to wear the sweater too much longer anyway, and by next year he’ll need a bigger size,” and then I could chalk it up to a learning experience. Yeah, patience is big on my list of “Things My Sweater Taught Me.”

  3. MJ replied:

    Haha 🙂

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