If you're new to the story of Allison, our managing editor, and her quest to knit her first sweater (Alexis Winslow's Vera Cardigan from Knitscene Winter 2011), you can read the three previous posts here, here, and here. Since we last posted, right after the Christmas holidays, Allison has not only finished her first knitted cardigan ever, but also painted all of the banister rails and trim in her living room! Both of these are big achievements; one of them impeded the progress of the other. I'll let you decide which is which.
I've knit a few cardigans in my knitting career, so I thought it'd be best to let Allison herself tell you about her finished cardigan, and what she learned from knitting a garment.
First and foremost, knitting a sweater = magic. No, it didn’t come together by waving a magic wand, but where would be the fun in that? What was magic was shaping a ball of yarn—bit by bit—into an actual garment. Maybe the state of awe this inspires will wear off once I’ve knitted my second or my seventieth sweater, but I hope not.
I love the design of this cardigan. For my taste, it was just the right amount of shaping and sweet details (like those fun button loops on the cuffs) to make it feel really special. It is also majorly cozy, and terribly exciting to think that I made it myself.
The colorwork was terrifying. I wrote about it a little in a previous post. Fellow beginning knitters, fear not, you too can do colorwork. In fact, in retrospect, that was my favorite technique that I learned. I was also scared of the general idea of knitting a sweater. It seemed like a really big undertaking. It was intimidating. It made my palms sweat. I was fortunate to have the likes of Ms. Amy Palmer and our stellar tech team (Joni Coniglio and Larissa Gibson) helping me out along the way, but in quiet moments of crisis at home I found a lot of great online resources, which leads me to believe that even someone who doesn’t work at Interweave could learn to knit a sweater.
I wish I would have taken more opportunities to knit a row here and there, rather than feeling like I needed a three-hour block of time to work on the sweater. I think chipping away at it that way would have made the knitting go a lot faster. And of course there are little things about the actual sweater I might have done better, but I guess they are good reminders of what I learned along the way (“look, there’s the rough patch where I was figuring out how to pick up stitches around the arm hole” or “mental note, keep working on your mattress stitch technique so stuff doesn’t fall out of the bottom of your pockets next time” or “alpaca grows when you wash it”).
Amy again: Congratulations, Allison, on knitting your first cardigan! I think all of us agree that it's pretty spectacular. In theory, Allison is tackling another knitting milestone, her first pair of socks as part of the Simply Sockupied Knitalong, but she's talking about re-painting her trim. Don't worry—she'll get her priorities sorted quickly enough. Knitting always comes first, am I right?