A couple of posts ago I was very excited to share with you the completely delightful new Lissy Cole Auaha Haukara collection of chunky yarns and revealed to you that I would be starting my second ever knitted project - the Kingston Sweater by Tara-Lynn Morrison.
Having only ever knitted one thing before, I am aware that some may consider a whole-ass jumper a little ambitious....but what can I say? Your gal has gall!
So this week I wanted to give you an update on where I'm at with the project and how it's been going! Here at Never Been Knit I'm all about the realism - the warts-and-all processes. I know myself that when I'm new at something, I hate seeing everyone else making everything sound easy and never sharing the craft bloopers so to speak. So it's important to me I share the process and journey with you!
I picked the Kingston sweater because:
1. Apart form the ribbing, it's purely knit / stockinette stitch - deemed suitable for my newbie level
2. It utilises the new chunky yarn that I was so eager to use
3. It's a raglan sleeve that is knit in the round, from the neck down in one piece
4. The project is size inclusive, allowing me to customise it to fit my fabulous fat body.
I knew that when it comes to colours, that I wanted this baby to be BRIGHT!! Like a kid in a candy store, when it came to picking hues from the range, I eventually settled on a palette of:
E Te Tau - Orange
Harikoa - Neon Pink
Paki - Electric Blue
Taumata - Red
However I wanted red to be the dominant shade, with the others acting as 'accent' stripes...if you can call 10cm strips of neon an 'accent'! In recent years, there's a been a huge popularity of mixing neons - especially red, pink and blue and so I used this as the inspiration for my colour palette.
With all of the colours sorted, I set about cresting my masterpiece.
So I cast on and got to knitting and it was all very easy and I am so very perfect and talented and the whole thing was a total breeze...
Haha, only joking! My first attempts flopped!
In reality I cast on and started knitting, and was so heartened by the fast progress that the chunky yarn gave me that I thought I was going really great. This project is the first time I've had to increase stitches and that was a skill I had to learn from scratch. But I persevered and did learn it!
I got a decent way past the neckband and down into the yoke, doing my incremental increases. I was feeling so proud of myself! THEN... I took it into Outlaw HQ to show Ethan....only to be told I'd been missing a whole heap of increases on one side (IDK why, it makes no sense) and I needed to start over.
Noooo! Dammit! I was feeling so sure of myself!
But we live and learn and my knitting friends consoled me with the fact that this is a very common thing to have to do and I just needed to suck it up and start over.
So I went home, I ripped out the entire thing, and I set about starting again...which didn't go well either.
I'm learning that for me, my knitting is reflection of my state of mind and if that mind is tired, or getting stressed and anxious about how I HAVE TO MAKE THIS PERFECT, then I'm guaranteed to mess it up again, and again and again. Which is what happened when I went to restart, and after four failed attempts to restart, I admitted defeat for the day and vowed to come back another time when I had a clearer and fresher mind.
And the great news is that this attitude worked! It is all in the mind and no, Im not a complete failure. Because on Good Friday I picked it back up, started over and, friends, a big thing happened: I CAUGHT THE KNITTING BUG!!!
I GET IT NOW! I GOT ADDICTED! I COULD NOT STOP!
I got past the mind block that was where I got to last time...and well I just kept going. I couldn't stop. and before I knew it, it was 7pm and I'd spent most of my day knitting!
As the long weekend progressed, I had to ration out my knitting time as I realised that I was running out of yarn, and wouldn't be able to pick up more until Tuesday, so had to force myself to slow down!
What was different for me this time around, with this particular project? It's the chucky yarn. It's all in the yarn.
I have decided that large yarn is perfect for the new knitter because:
1. It is a fast knit - you make such quick progress with it that you don't get bored. As a project-based knitter (and creative) - as opposed to a process driven one - there's nothing like seeing the garment form before your very eyes to motivate you to keep you motivated, encouraged, and remind you what it's all for!
2. The chunky yarn lets you understand exactly what you're doing. I can see very single stitch - what it's shape is, what direction it runs, how it sits. When it comes to new techniques I'm learning, like increases, I can instantly see and comprehend why I'm doing what I am and how the tiniest thing can make a difference. Of course the downside is that every single mistake is highly visible too - and there's no shrugging it off - but my impatient self has to admit that this is a good thing for a new knitter to have to go though. A little accountability can be a powerful thing when one is learning!
As of today, this is where I am at:
Now, don't assume that my enthusiasm and progress is me getting all cocky. I have a few lurking anxieties and steps ahead of me that I'm very apprehensive about:
1. The body of the jumper, besides the increases, has been a simple knit in the round and so it's been pretty easy once I got set up. However soon I will reach the bottom ribbing which means I will have to cast-off, a first for me, then start the sleeves, which involves picking up stitches - something I have never done and am told can be a weird thing to learn.
2. Sizing - I've made this in the L/XL version and added additional stitches to the torso to ensure it's extra roomy (I'd always rather a garment be too big than too small)...but I'm not going to know until I've finished the torso whether it'll fit me. This might all be for nothing, and I can understand why so many knitters never make garments for themselves because of this very fear.
So, dear readers, it's a case of WATCH THIS SPACE - to find out how this project completes.
For my talk of fears and nerves above, I am amped for the challenge and for me the sense of achievement that comes from learning new things and quite possibly having an absolutely brilliant jumper to wear at the end it, far outweighs these feelings.
As I always say to my styling clients at New Boots and Panties - it's just fabric. You are the boss of the yarn, the material, the garment. You are in control! So often in sewing, knitting and all round fashion itself, we are dominated by fear, insecurities, reluctance to stand out and it holds us back - stops us growing and experimenting and sucks the fun out of things. Fashion and personal style should be FUN!
So on that note, I encourage you to go grab some Auaha Haukura chunky neon yarn this week...and have a good and fun time knitting yourself something beautiful, bright and expressive!! Why not make a Kingston Sweater too? We can be jumper buddies!!!
Until next time,
Pattern - Kingston Sweater by Tara-Lynn Morrison
Yarn - Lissy Cole Aha Haukura
Avaliable in-store or online now from Outlaw Yarn
I'm Lou, an Ōtautahi based personal stylist and craft-lover, and this is Never Been Knit - my journey from complete knitting virgin to...well, let's find out together!