Heather's Journey to the Perfect Sweater

The other day my boyfriend asked me if I could learn to knit so I could make him a sweater. I am taking this request and making it my mission. First I have to find the perfect sweater pattern, and then find the perfect smaller projects to help me be on my way. I’m hoping to have a sweater for him for next Christmas. Ideally, I would like to have one made next week but I need to be realisic. I want to do this the right way and not the fast way so I am giving myself a year.

I will need to rely on all of you - my new found forum friends - for support, guidance and that swift kick in the bum I’m sure I will need from time to time to stay on track. (My PM box is always open for you :wink: )

Welcome! You’ve come to the right place for help, inspiration, and humor.

My suggestion is to start small and knit, knit, knit.

There are only two stitches in knitting, knit and purl; and they are really the same since one is the opposite of the other. It’s all just a matter of what you do with them (it).:teehee:

Just get some needles and yarn to play with for a while, you’ll learn a lot that way. Lighter colored medium weight yarn, and about size 9 or 10 needles (US sizes) will help you see the sts easier. Then learn a couple of cast ons and do the knit stitch for several inches. Once you’re comfortable with that one, then do a row of purl sts and alternate with rows of knit sts, or do all purl sts (which gives you garter stitch, same as when you knit all stitches on a row). Then you can try mixing knits and purls on the same row. Look at the Tips page for the basic stitch patterns, then at the increases and decreases page and practice them. You can mix up the stitches and repeat some for a few inches. You can call it a sampler and make a wall hanging of it, or if it’s long enough could turn out to be a scarf.

I’ve been knitting for 5 yrs and I couldn’t have one made by next week. :teehee: Our best advice is to practice a lot till it feels more comfortable. Then start small and learn to read and follow patterns along with some new techniques and you’ll be working on that sweater in no time. :thumbsup:

What an incredibly sweet boyfriend! I just started a week ago and I’m 12 inches into a pink scarf for my little girls.

I’ll need encouragement too, so we can help each other. :smiley: I don’t have anybody IRL to talk to about this, so I really do need internet friends…

My tiny bits of advice from the perspective of being EXTREMELY new:

  1. Do internet searches for things you don’t understand, and if you can’t find it (like “hand” as a description, is a very hard thing to search for), ask. Suzeeq and Jan in CA have been awesome to me.

  2. Go slowly, practice, watch your work carefully, use stitch counters (you can use drinking straws cut into little circles for a MacGyver’d stitch counter), use lifelines (just a thread through where the needle goes along one row, so you can frog back to it without losing ALL your work), and be aware that you’ll probably have to redo it a lot of times while you’re still new; pulling out rows is called “frogging” and everybody needs to do it from time to time. Pin a safety pin to the “front”. Oh, and have a crochet hook, in case you drop a stitch.

  3. Don’t use tiny needles at first. I’m using size 5 and every inch is a mile. Don’t use strange or lumpy thread until you’re used to knitting. Don’t use wool on anything that needs to be machine washable (it will “felt” and this is actually used to advantage in some projects, but I have a 2 year old and a 5 year old, so I’m using acrylic).

I already want to try “mistake rib”: k2p2 however many times, then k2p1 at the edge, but I haven’t practiced purl yet. And the “Irish Hiking Scarf” which is a very pretty cable.

@Jan in CA: How long does it take to knit a sweater, once you get better?

It can take me 2 weeks to 2 years to make a sweater, depending on how motivated I am with the pattern and yarn, and sometimes I get hung up on the finishing part so it sits around 98% done for a long time.

All great pointers. Thanks everyone.

I’ve yet to find a pattern for a sweater for him that I like - or I guess that he’ll like.

I’m excited about this because once I get the hang of it, I’ll be able to make MYSELF some sweaters. LOL. I love sweaters & there is so much more selection for females.

I’m in such a rush to get started. I’ve added knitting supplies to my xmas list. I figure that will be the soonest I can get anything. I just got a beautiful new leather coat so I’ll be starting off with a nice scarf that will match.

How difficult is it to work with Chenille?

Chenille can be a little tough because it’s not as easy to see the stitches. In a way that’s good because you can’t see the mistakes all that easily either. :shifty: If you keep it loose, though, (large needles) it should be fine.

I should warn you that there is a fabled Boyfriend Sweater Curse.

Just so you know…

LOL. I have heard about this curse. Maybe thats why he wants one. LOL. We’ve been together for 5 years and live together, so I consider us common law (don’t tell him that). Does that count?

Yeah, you’re all but married with a piece of paper and everything.

So now it looks like I’m not going to be the only one learning how to knit. I told one of my best friends about it and she wants to learn too. Now we just have to talk our other friend into it and then we will be able to have an excuse to get together more often. This way we can all keep eachother motivated.

Well I have my first project all picked out.

Its a seed stitch pattern so by the time I’m done with it I’ll be a pro at the knits & purls.

How is your scarf coming?


I’ve been busy. LOL. Picked up a pair of needles on Dec 24th and haven’t gone a day yet without knitting. I’ve made 3 scarves. One for my mother, one for my bf and one for me. All of them have boo boos in them but if you don’t look too closely they aren’t that noticeable.

Then I made a pair of fingerless mittens. Boo boo free :woot:

Now I am making a hat. My first project in the round and already I am hating this hat. LOL. I’ve been starting it over & over. Just restarted for the 6th time and finally got through a row without messing it up somehow. I’m determined to get this thing made even if it kills me.

I got my hat more than half finished and I realized I probably don’t have enough yarn to finish it. GUH. So I frogged it all and I’m starting it over AGAIN!!!

I’m going to make a few minor adjustments so that the yarn will be enough.

I seriously hate this stupid hat.

:lol: Been there, done that! I finally learned to buy more yarn than I think I’ll need for at least a hat. I can always make a pair of baby socks with the extra or make a pretty striped hat by combining yarns. Extra yarn never goes to waste. :thumbsup:

Yeah. I had bought the yarn for my fingerless mittens & thought “Hey, a hat to match would be great.”

I’ve thought about just scrapping the hat all together, but I’m determined to get through it because it will be my first decreasing project. I might just burn the stupid thing when I’m done, but at least I’ll be able to say I finished a hat. :roflhard:

Starting over (the 7th time) was a good idea though.

I turned the 4" of ribbing into 2" and I just won’t flip it up. Its not looking terrible.

Welcome to the blogs and good luck with the sweater. Always do a swatch, it is very important to the finished project. If you are knitting on straight needles for the project use them for the swatch. If you are knitting with circs and knitting in the round use those circs and knit in the round for your swatch. People tend to knit a little looser on circs. This is a lesson that I learned the hard way when I did my silk camisole last year. I did my swatch on straight needles and should have used circs. Oh well, live and learn not to make the same mistake again.

My hat from hell is finally finished.

And I hate it. LOL.

But at least I have the satisfaction of knowing that I completed it.

On to the next project. Next is a bag. We’ll see how that goes.