My First Sweater

Apr 13, 2011

Somewhere, in a box in a dark basement or nestled amongst the dust bunnies under a bed, we all have it... our first sweater. I found mine while I was moving, and I felt mixed dread and affection.

The dread, because it really isn't a very pretty thing. I made it from a mystery pattern in a battered old pamphlet of beginning crochet patterns sent to me by a friend who knew I was desperate for new patterns (I was living overseas at the time, and had no access to patterns in English).

The affection comes from the fact that this sweater marks the turning point where I finally considered myself a true crocheter.

It was my first project that was not a hat or scarf. It was my first project where I did a gauge swatch, and actually listened to it. It was the first project where I picked out yarn specifically for the pattern, and not because it was soft and pretty. It was the first project where I wove in the ends instead of tying a great big knot (this took guts...but they're still woven in). It was terrifying. I had to count. But I was learning to crochet post stitches and seaming and shaping and construction. I also learned a lot about my own habits as a crocheter. For example:

See that stitch? That one right there? The double crochet stitch that was supposed to be a half double? It's been 10 years, and it still bothers me. I learned that, no matter how tiny the mistake, I really need to just rip it out and fix it, or it will annoy me forever.

I don't think I've ever actually worn the sweater anywhere. And when I think back, I never pictured myself wearing it. I just needed to make it. I needed to cross that threshold, because I knew that, on the other side, there was nothing stopping me. I believed that, if I could make a sweater, I could make anything.

It was great for my budding crochet confidence, and I don't think I've ever hesitated over a difficult pattern since. Looking back, that almost seems silly to me, as this pattern was by no means difficult, especially considering the incredible direction crochet has taken since then, but it symbolized something for me that made everything click.

So tell me about your own threshold pattern. What were you making when you found your crochet confidence?

Until next time,

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on Apr 13, 2011 7:40 PM

I like your colors on your first sweater. I got my confidence slowly after finishing several doilies I finally realized I can make anything I want to. It's a great feeling isn't it :)

on Apr 14, 2011 4:49 PM

Great job!

on Apr 14, 2011 4:49 PM

Great job!

jroberts123 wrote
on Apr 15, 2011 3:36 PM

Right now I have been thrilled to make a washcloth or afghan that is a recognizable rectangle or square...with the same number of stitches on top and bottom.  I finished a twin size afghan for my son and realized that one end was only ten stiches off.  I began undoing it thinking I would only have to go ten or so rows.  Unfortunately, the error was at the beginning of the blanket, but I kept at it and redid the whole thing.  By the end of this year, I will have made my first sweater and I hope it turns out as beautiful as yours.

cannej wrote
on Jul 2, 2011 12:44 PM

How nice for you, Sarah, that you’ve kept your early sweater.  Seeing how we advance is encouraging, isn’t it.  

When you said  “See that stitch? That one right there? The double crochet stitch that was supposed to be a half double? It's been 10 years, and it still bothers me.”, I recognize that feeling.  For me, some mistakes can remain, some must be ripped back and fixed, even if no one else would ever notice.

I’m not sure that I ever had a threshold pattern.  My mother, grandmother, aunts are all crocheters, tho none of them do much more than afghans and what I think of as bazaar type things.  So, I learned to crochet young.  Certainly, I’ve had to (and still do) learn and had many times of frustration and made many mistakes, but I think I’ve always expected I would be able to crochet whatever I wanted.  

Having said all that, I have to add that the internet has enormously added to my knowledge, skills and enjoyment of crochet.  So many wonderful people sharing what they have and know and do!  My crochet and life has been enriched because of these connections. - Cheryl