I began knitting in July of ’09, a scant 2 years ago. I had been crocheting for awhile, and, at the time I started knitting, was in the process of crocheting 5 shawls for the women who would stand up for my husband and I on our wedding day, at the end of August of the same year. I was quickly enamoured with knitting, though, and especially with the wearability of knitted things. Not to say that crochet isn’t wearable, but it’s a bit thicker in its final construction, and as a heavy woman, I shied away from that.
I was already on Ravelry, and was seeing a lot of knitted things that appealed to me. I jumped straight from my first, awkward knitted square to a shrug, then moved on to knitting in the round with some armwarmers. I cast on my first pair of socks on my honeymoon in September ’09, but knew that a sweater was in the near future. The Central Park Hoodie really appealed to me, but I felt constricted by my budget, and didn’t feel comfortable buying, well, buying the yarn I should have bought, which is anything other than what I got.
A trip to an LYS saw me going home with Briggs and Little Softspun, which certainly *wasn’t* soft, but which I was assured would soften up with wear. Being a brand-new yarnaholic, I didn’t know to look for vegetable matter, but I soon discovered was it was, as this yarn is full of it. I was unhappy that I’d bought somewhat scratchy, stiff yarn, that was full of chaff. But, I was determined to have a sweater, and so I cast on, after picking as much of the VM out of the yarn as I could while hand-winding the balls.
Not being content to knit my first sweater as written, I decided to make it seamless. If you read my Ravelry Project Page, there’s a blow-by-blow of the trials and tribulations that decision brought upon me. I’ll save you the brunt of my whinging, but the basics are: I hated working with the yarn, I’d inadvertently switched the cables on the front so I couldn’t take the one cable up over the hood and the other didn’t line up with the cable from the back, Jared Flood’s Seamless Set-in Sleeves Instructions were helpful but a challenge to my newbie-self, the increases I used on the sleeves left little holes so it looks like a vampire bit the sleeves all the way up, and, more than anything in the world, I hated the yarn and all that damned VM.
I found myself easily distracted by other projects, especially as other projects didn’t involve reconfiguring the pattern, and didn’t involve the hated Briggs and Little Softspun. By the following February I had gotten everything but the button band done, and I quit.
At some point between beginning the project and putting it on possibly-permanent hibernation, I renamed my Central Park Hoodie Hubris, for the sheer cockiness of the decision to alter my first-ever sweater. It seemed appropriate.
Hatred for the sweater kicked in, and I would almost snarl when I’d see it lying around. What a waste of time, of money, of knitting! The yarn made me so unhappy, and I think I was just overwhelmed with everything I had put myself through in the creation. Eventually, though, it just became part of the scenery, sitting in its basket in the living room.
Fast forward to this Spring. As the weather started warming up, I started craving a hand-made sweater. The Katje had blown out into something massive and unwearable after 2 wearings, and has been sitting in a To Frog pile since then, and the Hubris was the closest thing I had to a sweater (the Camber being more of a inside handknit). So, I looked at it, tried it on as it was, and determined to finish it.
Part of the problem of finishing was also buttons. I’d bought some, but didn’t like them, so I went out and found some other, better buttons that matched both me and the sweater better. I picked up almost 400 stitches using my Knit Picks Nickel Plated needles, instead of the Addi Turbos I’d been using (and not liking) for the rest of the sweater, and went at it. Soon enough the button band was done, and the Hubris was blocking.
The result? I kind of love it. Yes, I’d like to make another, real, Central Park Hoodie, with seams and the cables in the right place, and increases that don’t look like I was attacked by a precise vampire, but this sweater, finished, has become a roadmarker for me. The increases are endearing; the too-large hood a lesson in trusting the designer (maybe the hood really was deep enough as written, and I didn’t need to pick up extra stitches!); the one spot in the back – that I can’t find but know is there – a reminder that when you’re new to knitting, you don’t always knit in the right direction when you pick up your work mid-row; the expensive, not-likely-to-ever-be-used buttons a reminder to trust myself and to not just buy stuff at LYSes, but to go to other stores as well; the overly long sleeves a lesson in fit.
Yes, the yarn did soften up a bit with the soak it got, and I hope it will continue to soften up more. Will I ever work with this yarn again? I highly doubt it: my hatred for Vegetable Matter is rather large at this point. But, the silver lining to having used this yarn, as opposed to a softer, and most likely superwash wool, is that some day I’ll be able to felt the damn thing, and have a wind-proof, warm, hand-made sweater.