My blue Leitmotif Cardigan is almost finished — it should be off the needles today and blocked by the end of the week. My aim was to make the best sweater I’ve ever made, and I think (knock wood) that I may have succeeded. But so we can all make an informed judgment, and because I thought it would be amusing, I am treating you to a post about all of the sweaters I made in my pre-blog days, in all their wonky glory.
What you see above is the second sweater I ever knit — we’ll get to the first in a moment. This super-crappy picture is courtesy of my old old camera’s self-timer, in my first grad school apartment. Yaaay. This is the “Go-Everywhere, Go-With-Everything Cardigan” from the first Stitch N’ Bitch book, which was the first knitting book I ever bought. I’d had a beloved store-bought blue cardigan knit from heavy cotton yarn, and I lost it at the exposition of MFA art theses in spring of my first year of grad school, because my friend Matthew worked for the art department and had access to their hidden behind-the-scenes wine. Wine is much sweeter when it is free and you are drinking it in a supply closet and then you can go look at art a minute later, let me tell you. But drunk-me lost the cardigan somehow, and I resolved to knit myself a replacement. I had to do a ton of annoying algebra to make the worsted-weight cotton yarn work for the pattern, which is written for DK weight I believe, but this actually came out pretty well. I still wear this sometimes!
Here is my first sweater ever, with head cut off to protect the innocent:
Look, this post is going to be full of crappy pictures. I apologize. Beware the sweater curse, ladies! Pat grumbles about the fact that I refuse to knit him a sweater until he has put the proverbial ring on the proverbial “it,” but I am now 1 for 1 in terms of knitting sweaters for dudes I was dating and then eventually breaking up with them and I am not eager to test the wrath of the curse again. What you see here is Knitty’s Accordion sweater, knit in blue and orange because this guy’s favorite teams were the Mets and the Broncos. When I knit this, I did not understand the concept of drop shoulders and couldn’t figure out why the sleeves were supposed to be knitted so short, so I just knit them as long as his arms were. Then when I sewed the piece together, well, we ended up with a sweater with cuffs. Big cuffs. I attached a zipper to this and everything, which is something I can barely imagine being willing to do now. But yeah, first sweater: it fit a human being and didn’t look too ridiculous!
Welcome to my third sweater, Veronik Avery’s Dollar and a Half Cardigan from the Spring 2007 issue of Interweave Knits. This one legitimately rules. As you can see, it has stripes on one side, and a big fat cable braid on the other. I wear this thing all the time, despite the fact that the sleeves are too long — and this time, it wasn’t (quite) my fault. I know that I have freakishly short arms, so I knit the sleeves an inch or two shorter than the pattern specified, and they still came out about three inches too long. Sigh! Again, cuffed sleeves to the rescue. I’m pretty entertained that I’m in basically the same pose here that I was in that shot I took of myself in the green sweater two years earlier.
Like many knitters in the summer of 2008, I became obsessed with Ysolda’s Liesl. So much so that I knit two of them. It used so little yarn! It knit up so quickly! It was like crack cocaine for basically the entire online knitting world. I knit this one out of Rowan All Seasons Cotton, which is very soft and surprisingly lightweight, but I had (and continue to have) real trouble with the pesky ends like the one you see poking out on my arm there, because they won’t felt away. I do get a considerable amount of wear out of this, though, on breezy spring afternoons. And I’m kind of in love with those wooden buttons I chose.
Liesl II: Electric Boogaloo. This time I knit the sleeves long, and modified the pattern slightly to end up with bell sleeves because I am a big old hippie. This is knit in Malabrigo worsted, which was lovely to work with but has unfortunately developed a serious pilling problem in its old age, so I don’t wear this a whole lot. But the color sure is gorgeous; my Ravelry notes tell me it was just called “Burgundy.” And I love the bizarre angle at which Pat took this shot.
And… that’s it! The only proper non-shrug sweater I’ve knit since starting my blog is the Audrey in Black I did this past spring. And while I love that to pieces and wear it all the time, I think — no whammies no whammies no whammies — that this one I’m finishing up just might be my best sweater yet. Stay tuned!