I have gone back to cooking food and putting it in the refrigerator for my family to eat, but beyond that, the Knit-cation continues.
It is a vision quest of sorts. I am searching for the perfect beginner top down sweater and the perfect yarn to knit it with.
In all honesty, I have been a bit paralyzed by this experience. I know long-time knitters who have never made the leap to making their own sweaters for this exact reason. The desire for perfection means you never actually take action. Knitting a sweater is about stitching into the unknown–facing your fear of imperfection. It is about knowing you could well be wasting hours and hours of handwork on an ill fitting, ugly, doesn’t even really look like a sweater, sweater.
It’s about taking that knowledge and putting it in a dark corner of your closet, shutting the door, and knitting anyway.
Embracing this fear is a good thing. Being a beginner is a wide open experience. It makes you think about yourself in new ways. It exercises your brain and hands. It makes you humble.
There are a few key variables in this search for the perfect top down sweater and the perfect yarn to knit it with.
The pattern must be simple, simple, simple.
I must love the yarn.
The yarn must knit the proper gauge to go with the simple sweater.
This is more complicated than it looks.
The sweater that started all of this business is called Blank Canvas.
Fancy Tiger Crafts is doing a KAL (knit along) using this pattern. While I really do want to knit this sweater in my future, I am afraid of all the shaping it involves. I want a simple–make it big enough for my bust and just kept knitting straight on down–sweater. I am not ready for waist shaping. It scares me.
I then thought I might make the Fancy Tiger Crafts My Favorite Sweater but I could not get a good gauge on the yarn.
Next, I thought about The Fringe Association top down sweater tutorial . I like this idea very much, but it is weirdly beyond my comfort zone. As a true beginner, I really wanted a pattern to show me how to make the exact sweater in the picture. (Can anyone see the distance between me the quilter and me the knitter? It is VAST.)
From there, I did an comprehensive search on Raverly. I think we all know this, but I am going to say it anyway. Internet research is exhausting. It is a never ending rabbit hole of information. If you like to do research, and I do, the search becomes the subject, and you can easily lose sight of your end destination. At one point, I was making charts, so that I could clearly see all the variables in each design.
Finally, knowing that Knit-cations are not permanent, I reigned myself in. I am very grateful for the Raverly systems that have allowed me to catalogue my knitting dreams in such an organized fashion. Viva La Raverly!
This is the rather long short list.
I really like Brick by Clare Lee. There is a no waist shaping option, but the neckline feels a bit low for Alaskan winters. I know I could probably figure that out, but the goal here is the perfect sweater and the perfect yarn, not the almost perfect sweater and the almost perfect yarn.
Next up is the Basic Round-Yoke Unisex Pullover by Hannah Fettig. I love the detail of the neck here. I could knit this one, I really think I could, but I see the sweater in green, and I, for some weird reason, want my first sweater to be in black. As a word person, I also think this sweater could have a WAY better name. Basic Round-Yoke Unisex Pullover is a real sleeper. And if you google YOLK instead of YOKE it will take you a while to find this sweater again.
The next possibility also has a rather wimpy name. It is called the Ladies Classic Raglan Pullover by Jane Richmond. This sweater has come up in my searches again and again. But, here are two problems with this sweater, and one of them is mine. First, it has a very intimidating schematic which makes me feel a bit like I am paying my taxes instead of doing something fun. And second, the model just looks so unhappy. It is like she is mildly pissed off about wearing that sweater.
Last night, when yet another swatch was not the right gauge, I found these two sweaters. The Moxie Pullover by Amy Christoffers is a great look with a great name. Unfortunately, I can’t quite get past these words.
“The yoke is worked in a hybrid of ‘round’ yoke and raglan shaping with subtle neck shaping integrated into the yoke construction.”
I’m not ready for subtle shaping.
And finally, the top contender is FLAX by Tin Can Knits. The pattern is FREE and has been successfully knit by many, many beginners like me. I like the retro ski sweater look. The only problem here is that my gauge on my swatch is just a wee, wee, tiny bit off.
Okay, this post is supposed to be about finishing things. And I would say I am almost finished doing my research and making a decision on my first top down knit sweater.
This entire project is taking on some weird first time connotations in my mind–is this pattern truly the one and only perfect fit for me? Or am I going to botch my first time by picking a loser? Does the swatch size REALLY matter?
And this is where I request the assistance of you, dear friendly readers.
I welcome any and all advice, suggestions, and solutions.