I can knit sweaters!
The goal for most newbie knitters seems to be the elusive and frightening sweater. The fear is that you will spend weeks or months of knitting all this expensive yarn on tiny needles only to have it fit your 6 year old cousin or that one sleeve will be 2 feet longer than the other. Armhole shaping, neck shaping, seaming, it all sounds so scary. Enter the Yarn Girls Guide to Simple Knits. I borrowed the book from the library and immediately fell in love with the idea of doing the cardigan pattern. Off I went to my LYS to buy yarn (Cascade 220, nice soft wool that isn't very expensive, great for a first sweater project, I thought). It was to be a watermelon pink shade (surprised?). After some gauge issues, I got to work.
It wasn't that difficult at all. In the end, it's not much more than stockinette stitch with some increases and decreases. I started the sweater in November and made it through the fronts and back and one sleeve in a week and a half or so. I didn't start again until January since I was busy on Christmas gifts in December. I redid the sleeve and learned something very important about knitting sweaters! Check your gauge from time to time. My last sleeve came out huge. So I ripped it out and did it again. My seaming before the sweater was horrid so I practiced on several swatches. It came out okay on the sweater. It will get better. And I love my pink cardi! I'm really short, and it's hard to find sweaters that fit well. This one fits great.
I highly recommend the Yarn Girls' Guide if you are intimidated by the sweater process. All the projects are about as simple as they come and nothing is knit on less than a size 9 needle, making them go quickly. They explain the shaping line by line which makes it easy to get your brain around. Now I've got it down for other projects.
My biggest advice to anyone else wanting to start a sweater is to go for it! It's not that bad.
I took advantage of my LYS's year end 20% off sale to buy more Cascade 220 to start Under the Hoodie from Stitch N Bitch. I changed my mind after swatching so returned the stripe colors for more of the solid to do Not Your Standard Issue Sweatshirt from Yarn Girls' Guide. I decided to knit the body in the round, following the directions in Stitch n Bitch Nation. Then at the armhole shapings, you begin to knit back and forth. It worked out well, and I love the hoodie. I finished it in about 3 weeks, although I was working on a few other projects in that time frame too.
I knitted this at a different gauge than the pattern (4.5 versus 4), to try to make it fit better. The pattern's size small would be overwhelming on my frame. Plus I don't like baggy sweatshirts (to wear in public at least). I ended up with about a 35-36 inch chest that gives me some ease without being oversized. It's so comfy, and I love it.
(it's really longer than it looks in this photo)
I love the seed stitch detail in place of ribbing at the bottom, the cuffs, and along the v-neck.