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The failingest sweater you've ever seen
The failingest sweater you've ever seen
Karen Zook

by Karen Zook in News

04 August, 2017 (0) Comments

The failingest sweater you've ever seen

Here's something embarrassing to admit: I didn't knit my first sweater until after we opened Scratch.

And here's something else: it was terrible.

failsweater

The culprit.

There it is, all lumpy and pilled and generally awful.

I was so excited for this project. I picked gorgeous yarn, an alpaca blend that makes me want to curl up in a big pile of it. I spent ages choosing my color combination, and the exact right pattern: slouchy but not too slouchy. Nothing too complicated. It was my first one.

I had to knit the thing three times. 

Well, two and a half.

It didn't come out well. I hate it. I never wear it.

The first time, I seamed the sleeves on incorrectly, which scrunched the neck up in a really unappealing way. I've spent all this time on this thing, I told myself. I should do it right.

I tried to just take the sleeves off and try again, but the sidebody laddered on both sides and I ended up just frogging the whole thing.

I was determined to finish. I cast on again.

At some point about halfway up the body, I set my yarn down. When I picked it up again, I didn't notice the the working thread had worked its way through the center of the project, twisting the whole thing into a mobius strip.

Frog #2.

I cast on for the third time with considerably less enthusiasm. I remember that the sleeves, especially, seemed to take an eternity. It was entirely too much fabric in my lap. At one point working on the collar I became the kind of angry that makes my housemates just get up and leave the room.

It was a terrible sweater. I'd wasted time and good yarn on a piece of garbage. I hated everything about it.

All that was forgotten, however, when I finally finished it and was able to put it on. My very first sweater! On my body! It was so exciting.

And then: the pilling.

Oh, the pilling. 

That thing pilled like crazy. Everywhere. The yarn was too soft and squishy; that good feeling that had drawn me to it made it a poor choice for a garment that would be coming into contact with itself all day long. It was terrible.

I shaved it. It pilled again.

It's hanging up in the store now as a cautionary tale and a testament to the learning process. It's easy to forget, as we get better at things, just what those beginner stages feel like. They feel like frustration, often without a satisfying ending. But hey, I made a sweater. It's right there, hanging behind the sock yarn. I doubt I'll ever wear it again.

I've knit three other sweaters in the meantime. All different, all with their own flaws but ultimately successful. It might not be a good sweater, but it served its purpose.

Thinking about casting on your first sweater? Feeling a little overwhelmed, not quite sure if you're ready to take the plunge? You are. It'll be fine. And even if it's not, you'll learn something.

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