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August 24, 2009

Little red hand-knit sweater ... all finished!

It's completed! My very first sweater. I'm ridiculously proud of it.

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Without a model to pose it looks kind of boring. But it's really cute in person. The couple who are receiving this little sweater to don't have animals so I can't even threaten to model it on a cat.

For this project I used three skeins of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino Yarn, in color Red #700 and I followed the pattern exactly with two minor changes: I knit the seed stitch using a size 3 needle and the stockinette using a size 4 (I have learned to always go up a needle size with my SupaTight knitting madness.) (Although honestly, if I had knit this whole sweater with one size needle all over it would have saved a lot of blocking after the fact.)

And the other change I made was that I picked up a few extra stitches on the neckband and then on the next row knitted the extras together to keep the stitch count but prevent any gaps in the fabric. I love picking up stitches. It's like voodoo magic, making stitches where none existed!

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The pattern is the seed-stitch cardigan from Debbie Bliss Baby Knits for Beginners. The buttons are the cutest things EVER, little painted red ladybugs that match the red yarn perfectly. I found the buttons at JoAnn's fabric store.

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The finished sweater is so sweet (if I do say so myself) and I am really happy with how soft and pretty the yarn is. I know I complained loudly and with great vigor about the pattern being hard to read but I don't know how much is the pattern and how much is my inexperience with sweater patterns so I'll leave it at that. I will say I took a leap of faith with ol' Debbie Bliss and I used her instructions for seaming that are illustrated at the beginning of the book (I wish she'd mentioned in the pattern which kind of seam to use, but I did eventually figure it out) and when I seamed the shoulders and I was shocked (shocked! I tell you!) at how perfectly they came together:

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Seams coming together.

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The completed seam on the wrong side.

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Instructions

The sewing part didn't even phase me when Corey picked out this pattern. My little brain just assumed sewing was sewing. I have been hand-sewing since I was a child -- I can't remember a time when I didn't know how to hand sew. I grew up making my own doll clothes and later doing all the laundry mending and alterations by hand and I feel 100% confident that I could hand sew you a wedding dress tomorrow and you wouldn't know if it was sewn on a machine or by hand. So I felt pretty full of myself when it came to seaming.

Uh, yeah, so anyway.

Seaming on a hand-knit item and seaming on fabric are two very different skillsets. I kept trying to sew like you would with fabric, right sides together, inside out and I kept messing up. I had my doubts about sewing up anything with the right sides facing me but once I got past myself and followed the directions, lo and behold it worked! I had to take out the seams and re-do them several times but I think I finally got the hang of it. I am so much slower at seaming than I would have imagined! It took me several hours to do it all perfectly, but hopefully I will get faster in time.

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Side seam, not bad for a first-timer.

Of all the patterns in the world, this was probably a much harder pattern to pick as a first sweater but it was good experience for me. I'm glad I started with this one. I got to experiment with picking up neckband stitches, knitting buttonholes and sweater construction but all on a very tiny scale. And I have just enough yarn left over to make some little baby booties, which I already started, I just need to buy some extra ladybug buttons for the booties. I think I'll say booty one more time for good measure. Booty.

So there it is my first sweater, knitted, seamed, blocked and finished. Now the baby just needs to show up.

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Frankie helped by holding down the pattern.

Posted by laurie at August 24, 2009 9:41 AM