Knit Like a Nike Ad: Just Do It! (Summer Sweater Knit Along)

it's summer sweater kal day today! yay!!!!  i've got one of my fave knitty pals on board today.  sandra from the blog "three pumpkins little" is here to chat about sweater knitting.  she is one awesome sweater knitter.  she's fast, smart and knows her knitting stuff.  she's also one of our lovely moderators in our ravelry group so some of you prolly already know her skills & pretty photography.  i couldn't resist asking her to come show off some of her handiwork and give you all a glimpse into why and how she started sweater knitting.

here's sandra....

Hi Luvinthemommyhood readers! I’m Sandra from three pumpkins little where I chronicle my crafting, cooking, and parenting adventures.  But today?!  Today I get to be here in Shannon’s beautiful bloggy neighborhood and I could not be more thrilled. Especially because Shannon invited me over as a guest during the current Summer Sweater KAL—I am so honored!

You see, I’m a huge fan of Shannon’s KALs.  They hold a dear spot in my heart because that’s how we met.  It’s hard to believe it was only a year ago when she hosted the very first KAL.  When I saw that she was encouraging knitters to take on my all-time knitting addiction (sweaters!), I knew I was in the right place.
I am a sweater knitter through and through.  In fact, it’s the very reason I decided to learn to knit. And even though I’ve only been knitting for a bit over two years, I’m the proud knitter of over seventeen sweaters!  Of course, hats, shawls, and other accessories might catch my fancy as well.  But sweaters? They are my weakness and I always have one on my needles.

And so, when Shannon asked me to guest blog, I knew exactly what I wanted to share--how accessible sweater knitting can be to even a fairly new knitter.  I wondered whether any readers were out there just like me a couple of years ago: wishing to knit a sweater but feeling overwhelmed at the thought that it would take forever to gain the skills to knit one

If this happens to strike a chord with you, I am here to tell you that given the amazing resources out there, you can do it!  In fact, I tackled my very first sweater as my fourth knitting project, ever.  I know it might sound crazy but we all know that once a crafty momma sets her sights on a certain craft or DIY project, nothing gets in her way, right?

I think this is especially true with knitting.  There has never been a better time to take your knitting to the next level.  Here’s a quick recap of how I went from a complete beginner to a (relatively) experienced sweater knitter in a fairly short time frame.

The book that I credit “teaching” me to knit is Stitch ‘n Bitch by Debbie Stoller.  I would have much preferred taking a class but I have three young boys and a rather full schedule as it is—there simply wasn’t time for a class.  This book succeeded where others had failed.

stitch'n bitch
Since I couldn’t get out to a class, I checked in on YouTube regularly.  A simple search of ‘knitting class’ or ‘knitting lessons’ with a keyword (e.g., ‘in the round’ or ‘raglan increasing’) will turn up lots of options.  Grab your needles and knit along!

I committed to practicing 15-20 minutes every day for a couple of weeks.  I didn’t work on a project. Instead, each day I practiced casting on and knitting and purling.  And then I ripped it out.  My goal was to truly learn how a stitch should sit on a needle and train my hand muscles to feel comfortable with the motions (I felt like I had ten thumbs when I started!).

After just two weeks of these short “sessions” I couldn’t believe how much more comfortable I felt. My next goal was to learn how to correct basic mistakes, so I’d drop a stitch and practice picking it up.  I also experimented with different knitting styles to see what felt best.

I think the short sessions were really key for me.  They were short enough to fit in every day but not long enough for me to get frustrated.  After a few weeks, I cast on for my first project: a dishcloth.  My second was another dishcloth and my third was a lacy scarf (I chose a pattern called Branching Out and my notes are here).

I highly recommend picking a small accessory with at least a bit of lace as a “real” project primer to sweater knitting.  It will teach you some basic shaping techniques called for in most sweater patterns—but it will result in a Finished Object (“FO”) quickly.  And nothing motivates and creates momentum like an FO, right?

After finishing up my scarf, I decided to go for a sweater.  Yes, it was ambitious, but I had realized something.  Unlike with sewing, where the act of cutting into my precious fabric can make me break out into hives, there are very few things in knitting that are permanent.  The starting/stopping/ripping sessions had taught me that.  So I picked a sturdy yarn and just went for it.  The result?  A Shalom exactly like I wanted.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Oh—I should probably mention that I also discovered Ravelry at the beginning of my sweater knitting quest.  It was invaluable and still is!  Just about any question can be answered simply by searching the forums.  And now that the Luvinthemommyhood Ravelry Group is so well established, there is a great group of knitters connected by Shannon’s blog who are online and ready to help whenever a question is posted.
So there you go.  I hope that perhaps my trip down knitterly lane might inspire one or two of you out there to join us for the current Summer Sweater KAL even if you don’t quite feel “ready.”  I can promise you that you won’t be going at it alone.  I am so grateful to have this wonderful and supportive knitting circle (I couldn’t get my sweaters done without them!) and can’t help but wish the same for each and every knitter out there.  And when I say “knitter” I mean new knitters, veteran knitters, and future knitters alike—come join the fun!

 Thanks for having me Shannon. Happy knitting everyone!

thanks for coming on the blog sandra!  i heart ya m'dear!  i hope that our little dream of knitting together one day comes true.....xoxox.  you can sandra on her three pumpkins little blog here and on ravelry here.  and don't forget to link up your summer sweater kal blog post in our linky party below :)

 you can follow along with all things summer sweater knit along:

and a big thank you to our wonderful sponsors! thanks everyone!

additional sponsors:

join our linky party by linking up your "summer sweater kal" blog post!