When the #myfirsthandknitsweater tag started going around Instagram, I really wanted to share my first hand knit sweater because I remembered it being hilariously bad, but I didn’t have any decent pictures and had given it away a decade ago to my friend Ashley, when we were in high school. I sent her a text asking if she still had it, and she did! Ashley informed me that she had everything I’ve ever knit her. She dug it out, and her friend Laura Marie Anthony took some extremely cute pictures of it.
The pattern was from a Stitch and Bitch book and originally had a colorwork yoke. I skipped the colorwork because just making a sweater had felt like enough of a challenge. I had read a tip that you could start a sleeve and use that as a gauge swatch, so I dove straight in and somehow deluded myself until believing that I had gotten gauge. I hadn’t, and let’s not even talk about those unintentional twisted stitches.
I was a theater tech at my high school along with Ashley, and I knit on this project a lot when we were killing time during rehearsals. Because of the gauge issue, my sweater came out way too tiny for me and the perfect size for Ashley. I kind of wanted to burn the sweater, but Ashley had seen the progression of the thing and was willing to give it a home (and might have even paid me for it?). So I added special silly buttons that I thought she’d like, including a dinosaur and a pineapple, and it became hers.
After this disaster, I decided to get better at knitting before making another sweater, and I did! I read everything I could get my hands on about technique, and my second sweater was a well-knit disaster due to poor yarn choice. So I decided to get better at choosing yarn before making another sweater, and I did! My freshman year of college, I finally started knitting good sweaters. It just took a few failures and some determination to learn from them.