Friday, March 30, 2007

The sweaters I don't wear (Or, what a knitter will produce in a vacuum)

While I was working on my cabled pull-over (front and back now complete!):

VK cabled sweater front and back

I had a thought. Or a few thoughts. One, this will be the first sweater I've made for myself since I started blogging (although there was also the itchy Somewhat Cowl that I started for myself and finished for Sienna). And two, it may well be (knock on wood) the first sweater I've made for myself that I actually like. Then I thought, since I don't have a whole lot to blog about in terms of WIPs (sweater, see above, socks, boring stockinette), maybe I'll show you some of the sweaters I made before I started this blog.

Besides the four you're about to see, there are 2 others waiting in the frog pile - one horribly felted (OK, obviously this one isn't going to be frogged, but maybe cut up and sewn into something else), and the other one just horrible. And then there was a 7th, my first sweater, that I made in high school, that was a giant potato sack and I gave it to Goodwill and now really regret it. But I did not know the concept of frogging at that point.

And that brings me to my other thought, of how much I think I've learned in the time that I've been aware of all the knitting goodness out there on the internet. For which I have Marie to thank (but she has me to thank for badgering her into learning how to knit, so we're even). I learned how to knit when I was 14 from a friend, who showed me how to make a hat, and from there on out I just sort of winged it. Which, as it turned out, did not work so well. I did eventually find some patterns and tried to follow them, but I never looked at a knitting instruction book or website, and almost never asked anyone for help with parts of a pattern I didn't get, I just fudged them. I don't think this is really due to pride on my part, but rather ignorance of knitting resources and laziness in looking for them (that friend who taught me how to make a hat only knew how to make a hat, so there were about ten girls in my high school who had learned how to knit a hat from her, but I didn't know anyone else who knitted). Anyway, not to brag, but I think I've come about ten times further in the last year than I did in the 13 years before it. I also was a much more sporadic knitter until the last year or two. Now I constantly have something on the needles.

Oh, and I just realized that this is my 50th post, so maybe this little exercise on reflection is in order.

Anyway enough gabbing. Here are the sweaters I don't wear (in reverse chronological order).

I don't know why I'm sticking my stomach out in this picture. Not like it needs to be emphasized.

VK cowlneck

Some cowlneck pattern from vogue knitting, in some chenille yarn. This one I made in high school. It's very comfy, but if I wear it for more than a few hours it stretches out like crazy and then I have to throw it in the wash to shrink it up again. Plus it is riddled with errors, the seams look horrible.

VK giant jacket

This I made while I was living in Italy, in 2002. It's also some pattern from VK. (Can you tell that VK was the only pattern source I knew about? Imagine my delight when I found out about Knitty and interweave and the ilk.) I made it because I had left my winter jacket in the US and it turns out, Rome is really cold in the winter. This one I actually wore a lot that year, but I don't wear it anymore unless it's really cold in the house, and I never wear it out. It was knit on some ginormous size needles with 1 strand of a superbulky red wool and 1 strand of a tweedy orange wool held together and then it turned out as big as a fat man's bathrobe, so I felted it a little bit. It miraculously came out to be just the right size, which made me cocky about felting as a means to get something to fit you, which resulted in the aforementioned felted sweater that is now sitting in the to-be-cut-up pile. I've learned my lesson.

VK tank front

VK tank back

This one is also from VK. I hope it's not bothering anyone that I'm not looking up which issues, but I'm lazy. And I don't think any of these are really examples anyone will want to duplicate. I started it in college and finished it in grad school, so it sort of pre-dates the red jacket. This one I actually think is the most aesthetically pleasing (love that keyhole) but I've never worn it. For one, I don't know that I will ever wear a knitted tank top. For two, there's a lot of side-boob action when I move, and I can't wear a bra under it. For three, it's a little short. (And for four, shhh, it's made of an acrylic yarn I got at a thrift store. But that actually doesn't bother me so much.)

hot lava cardigan
(Jeez, there goes my stomach again. Apparently I really need to work on my posture.)

And this one I made just a few months before starting this blog. It's the Hot Lava Cardigan, in Knitpicks Sierra in Tide. So you can see at this point I had sort of discovered some internet knitting resources, but hadn't yet discovered that there were so many knitting blogs out there or Knitty or Magknits etc. This one I do wear sometimes. It's comfy. But the sleeves are awfully long. And it has some icky gaping ladders in the armpits.

Whew! That was a long post.


Marie said...

The cabled pull-over is looking great! I love the yarn!
Have I seen the red jacket before? I really like the way the stitch pattern looks and the color is very pretty. You should wear it out more often. :)

Marie said...

(And your apartment is so beautifully sunny...I'm jealous!)

Sienna said...

I remember the red jacket! It is so fun. And you made an awesome green semi-cowl for me out of alpaca, well, it ended up for me. I wore it teaching this week, with the shoes I'm breaking in for the wedding. And I got lots of compliments on it.

granolagirl said...

I vote to ressurect the lava cardigan, with a fitted tee underneath and some funky jewellry it could be so dressy.
I am just starting out on sweaters, and although I'm trying to make stuff I'll really wear, its hard to not get sidetracked on all the creative stuff out there!

Jen said...

Hi Rachel,
You always leave such nice comments for me, I thought I'd return the favor! Your cabled pullover is looking really great -- nice fat cables! I'm enjoying watching your progress.