Guess what? I finished my first sweater! This is the first sweater I’ve ever made from scratch. The pattern is the Homegirl Sweater by Meg Made With Love. Technically it’s available for free on her blog, but I purchased it because I like to support the creatives that are putting something out there that I’m using. This is a super easy pattern with great looking results so I highly recommend it. The style is very forgiving fit-wise so it’s hard to mess it up, making it great for beginners!
I made the size small based on my swatch and the finished measurements. My swatch measured almost perfectly the gauge which was very reassuring as this was my first sweater. The pattern author actually commented on my instagram post!
I know now that you’re really supposed to make your swatch bigger than the recommended 4 inches by 4 inches and measure the inside 4 x 4, but I didn’t at the time. Either way, everything turned out so looks like I was safe.
Most of the sweater is worked in half double crochet . . . which I learned doing this sweater. And that’s really the only stitch. If you can do that stitch you can do this sweater. I hadn’t heard of it before, but there are lots of tutorials online. Lots. So it’s very easy to learn and not any harder than a normal double crochet.
The sweater is worked side to side rather than vertically. It makes the texture work and makes it look kinda like a thermal sweater. It’s a nice effect. It’s also worked in 8 separate pieces — front, back, 2 sleeves and associated cuffs. After making everything you piece them together.
I know you’re supposed to block before stitching the pieces together, but I elected to attach the cuffs to each piece before blocking, that way I could each full piece square. I don’t have fancy blocking boards (this is my first sweater, remember?) so it was towels. This took forever to dry. Well, not literally forever or I wouldn’t have finished. But definitely more than 3 days. So if I’m gonna keep doing this whole sweater thing, then I might invest in some blocking boards. I’ve heard the Cocoknits one is very nice due to its fuzzy size.
I definitely need to work on my initial chaining although it got better by the end and I was able to block out the most heinous mistakes. I now understand the phrase “it’ll block out.” But the upshot is that my chaining is pretty loose so I would end up with one side slightly longer than the other. Like I said, it mostly blocked out so no harm done, but something I’ll keep in mind for my next one.
I was a little worried about length as I was crocheting and thought about making it a bit longer to be on the safe side, but I didn’t because I didn’t have extra yarn (I actually did but I didn’t know that then). However, it all worked out in the end. Really. Everything ended up the right length after blocking and you can see it hits me in the correct places. Even the sleeves were the nice long length that I like.
The yarn is Malabrigo Rios in the Whole Grain color. I got my yarn at Uncommon Threads where everyone is super helpful. I showed them the pattern and explained what I was looking for and they were able to recommend a couple of yarns. I really liked this one and, in hindsight, for a first sweater I probably should have picked a solid color rather than a variegated. With a variegated you need switch skeins every couple rows to avoid getting patches of color so not only was I learning new stuff for the sweater, I was also learning about alternating skeins. But I love a challenge.
The yarn itself is great to work with so that was a fantastic recommendation for a newbie like me. It’s superwash merino which supposedly means I can put it in the wash and dryer, though I think I’ll be doing the wash with a sweater bag and flat drying it. But at the same time, I kinda wish I’d made this out of a cotton or acrylic. Wool usually makes me itch and unfortunately this one still does it a bit. I don’t notice it on the body, but I can feel it on my arms. As a result, I’ll probably wear the sweater with a thin undershirt. It’s pretty hefty so it’s definitely for the cooler months anyways. The yarn got way softer with the initial blocking wash so I’m hopeful that it might get even softer with more washing because I really love how it turned out and am looking forward to lounging around in it this winter.