I learnt to knit as a teenager during a summer holiday spent in Romania. My aunty is an amazing knitter and she taught me to cast on, knit, purl, increase, deacrease and cast off. This was before smartphones, YouTube and Instagram. And way before knitting became trendy
That summer I knit a scarf. The following winter I knit another scarf. Or two. Or maybe five.
When I was pregnant I attempted a baby cardigan by watching a video on Tejiendo Peru but never finished it. I got into sewing and left the knitting (too slow, too complicated).
Then after Miss V was born and the house started filling up and due to one thing or another my time at the sewing machine became increasingly limited I bagan to see the virtues of knitting. Small, portable, silent. However, I was tired of knitting scarves but also terrified of patterns. The ones I had looked at (in the John Lewis haberdashery) might well have been written in Chinese and each time I looked at one my knitting ambitions were instantly thwarted.
So I began to scour the Internet. And Instagram. And Pinterest. I watched videos on YouTube. I was basically obsessed.
I wanted to knit a jumper.
I wanted to follow a pattern.
I wanted the jumper I knitted to be wearable.
And then I found it. The We Are Knitters website. Oh M G
I was in heaven! Trendy modern knits. Reasonable prices and everything to make one item sent out to you in an über-cool brown paper bag. This was what I needed. I didn’t have to worry about sourcing the right needles and right yarn for the pattern- they did that for me. Could this be it? My first knitted jumper in the making?
I decided to go for the Classic Sweater as it was labelled Easy. I hadn’t found many reviews online and was worried that even this might be too hard for a complete novice like me but after weeks of lusting after it I bit the bullet and ordered it.
The pack arrived a week after ordering it. A huge cardboard box with the sealed brown paper bag containing the needles, wool, patten, sewing needle and label inside it. I had ordered the peach colour. Not my first choice but as I ordered it on sale not all colours were available. In hindsight this was a good thing as I wouldn’t have chosen that colour had the grey been available but now I have it I love it and wouldn’t swap it!
Now if there is anyone out there who can’t decide on whether to go for this kit because they are an absolute beginner – don’t hesitate! To make this jumper all you need to know how to do is
- Cast on
- Knit stitch
- Purl stitch
- Pick up stitches
- Cast off
Even if you don’t know how to do these things there are countless videos on You Tube that show you how to do them. There is a We Are Knitters blog in which they have videos that show you all the above and much more but unfortunately they only show you how to do them in the English style of knitting which I don’t know how to do.
I was very good and knit a swatch to get my gauge right and off I went. I altered the pattern slightly as on the picture it looked very cropped and I wanted to wear my jumper with leggings so I wanted it to be slightly longer. This was very easy to do as the jumper is just 4 rectangles sewn together. I therefore just cast on less stitches than the pattern called for and added rows to make it longer. As I was knitting the front I somehow convinced myself I was knitting too tightly and needed to loosen my stitches. This wasn’t the case and my front rectangle ended up way too long so I had to re-knit it 😡😩.
After knitting all the pieces you have to see the shoulder seams together on one side and then pick up stitches to create the neckband. This part was a bit confusing as it wasn’t that clear to me if this needed to be knitted in the round as socks are or not. It doesn’t – all you do is pick up the number of stitches required in the pattern and knit another rectangle on top of your bodice rectangle and then sew it together along with the second shoulder seam. You have to take care to pick the stitches up on the right side- I picked up on the wrong side and ended up with a visible seam so had to undo my neckband and re- do it, picking up on the right side. See the photo below to see what way the needle needs to go to do this. (The jumper is wrong side up in the photo- you can see the shoulder seam on the left).
I had to read up on weaving in ends and sewing knitted items together and I think I should have stretched out my sleeves as I sewed them on to the bodice as they ended up being a bit tight. I’m sure this was me and not the pattern as this would make the sleeves disproportionately tight to the bodice.
Once I had completed the jumper I hand washed it in cold water and dried it flat to block it. There are loads of detailed posts on how to do this properly online. Very basically blocking a knit just evens out stitches and shapes your garments.
With regards to the wool it is lovely and soft and not at all itchy. It does bobble very quickly and a lot but there is nothing you can do about that I think. I even ended up with a spare ball of yarn so if you wanted to make the bodice a bit longer you could. My next project is using their Cotton Wool so I’m curious to see how that wears in comparison.
All in all I am very happy and proud of my first knit! I’ve already worn it a few times – it would have been more but it’s getting a bit too warm for wool and I’ve already started on my next project from We are Knitters!