Thursday, March 03, 2005

Still Slumping, and The Legend of the VFS

The knitting slump seems to continue. I didn't knit at all last night. I really can't remember the last time I was healthy and didn't do something crafty all day (barring extenuating circumstances, of course). Although I don't usually knit during the summer (too hot for me), I do cross-stitch avidly, but there was none of that yesterday, either.

However, to keep my blog from becoming either totally boring, or totally whiney, I present you with pictures of My Very First Sweater:

(Click for a close-up if you're feeling brave.)

My VFS started off back in the Fall of 1999. I was taking a textiles class in college, and, having finally discovered that I was a left-handed knitter, decided my first major project should be a sweater. (This was after the standard scarf, of course.)

So I brought a sweater I liked into class, measured, knitted a swatch (at least, I think I did), and cast on. I should mention at this point that the yarn I bought was Paton's Decor, which is mostly acrylic. At the time, I didn't know better. I knitted away quite merrily on this sweater for a great deal of time. At what seemed like a good spot, I started decreasing for the neck edge. After lots more knitting, I had what was most definitely a V-neck sweater. That would be fine except that I look terrible in V-necks, and had most definitely set out to knit a crew neck.

I did some whining in class, and my teacher assured me that it would stretch out when I wore it, and the ribbing for the crew neck would round it out. Okay, okay. So I cast on for the back, and continued knitting away. I finished the back, and about 2/3rds of what would've been an ENORMOUS sleeve, and then life intervened so I put the sweater down.

About a year later, I taught myself to knit socks, and then I really forgot about the sweater. On ocassion I'd pick up the sweater, look at it's various parts, and then stick it back into my (ever-growing) stash. Finally, during my last semester of college, I decided it was high time to finish my VFS, and so I ordered a pattern book with some nice simple crew neck options (Paton's Back to Basics II). Backordering meant I got the book in April, just in time for final exams and packing to move out of the dorms.

It wasn't until 2003 that I actually picked the VFS up again with any seriousness. I realized that I really didn't like the yarn, having become a true yarn snob in the intervening years, but that I really needed to finish the VFS to feel like any sort of a successful knitter. It was just too much of a UFO hanging over my head. So I frogged everything I had knit, and then left the yarn to sit next to my bed for several months (eventually resulting in my spilling milk on it all one night).

I eventually cast on, and began working on my VFS again. Of course, I was maintaining my sock obsession on the side, so the VFS didn't get a huge ammount of attention. Finally, in early Fall of 2003, I finished the VFS, and seamed it together.

I was still knitting ignorant enough at that time to not really know about the benefits of blocking, or the proper way to effectively seam a sweater.

As soon as I finished seaming and weaving in my ends (or maybe I just knotted them off), I pulled the sweater on, and ran to the mirror.

I hated it. It had several inches too much ease (now that I know about ease), the shoulders puffed up in a most unbecoming way, and the color was all wrong for me.

I took off the VFS, took some pictures of it (since it was a FO, after all), folded it up, and hid it in the closet. I mentioned my failure to a few people, and even tried to give it away, but there were no takers. At a Stitch-and-Bitch night at school I even managed to get rid of all the extra yarn I had left over from the VFS, donating it to the group's common stash.

Finally, in May of 2004, my mother came to visit. She tried on the VFS and didn't mind the excess of ease (a little less on her than on me), or the uber-puffy shoulders. So now the VFS lives in Iowa with my mum. I've never asked her if she's worn it.

Since the VFS, I've knitted one other sweater, a child's cardigan (pictures of that some other time). I've got my fingers crossed that my next sweater venture (involving lots of cables and some very nice non-acrylic yarn) will turn out a little more favorably.


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