My First Garment

Winter is fast upon us so it's time to get busy.  After making the baby blanket, I started thinking about my next new challenge.

I came up with this idea to attempt a school vest for my DD.  I remember myself wearing a polo neck, woollen tunic and two woollen school jumpers on top of each other in my childhood years.   I could not imagine how she could possibly be warm enough in the playground with only a polo shirt, lycra pants and poly-cotton zip jacket.

We had a sudden cold snap in April.  I panicked and tried to beat time, thinking ‘if I could just get started over Easter, I might have a vest ready for the new term at school’.  I spent many a stressful hour searching for easy patterns, comparing wool, buying wool, returning wool, re-choosing wool. I had to decide about whether to buy a thicker yarn to make a large needle quickie, or how about a fluffy yarn with a loose knit … should I get a blend with acrylic for rough ‘n tough daily wear, or should I stick to pure wool?

I had started my first diagonal square so thought I could handle a knit pattern with basics of cast on and off, knit and purl, increase, decrease.

However I still did not feel confident enough with knit-pattern reading, so went back to my crochet staple.  I settled on the Lion Brand Next Generation V-neck Vest pattern and improvised with a 5.5mm hook and 8 ply pure wool and made a swatch to get started.

Soon enough, I found I didn’t like the low-grade scratchy wool so started again with a local alternative.  

Cleckheaton Country

The stress of it all was driving me crazy.  So I returned to the idea that this was just an experiment for fun: I stripped away the time deadline, fit requirements and all other expectations.  Now I could start!
It was easy to follow the basic pattern and improvise, measuring on the model as I went.  The pattern had no curved edges which simplified things.

The back with straight edges.  Easy enough!

I do dislike counting stitches so took the easier route of counting the ribbing to match the front with the back.

I set aside some quiet time to work the front shoulders and neck – no getting distracted in front of the tele!  But when I laid it out finished, I thought it would be warmer to have wider shoulders

So frogged them and did my own version.

Well I paid for that disobedience when I came to do the edging – now the shoulders would be too wide!  I made the adjustment by doing the full v-neck edging but only one round of dc on the sleeves.

It was a relief to get my first garment finished.   It is far from perfect:  there are knots in the middle of rows (I’m not sure why this is a no-no … maybe it is a bump that interrupts a good row..?  Do you know why?) and one of the seams doesn’t meet to match straight.

I had made a sensible addition to the winter school uniform, and I managed to fulfill a need that was not available via a purchase.  I can't say it is a big achievement in terms of fashion or fit.  However there was still a great reward to be had....   

Seeing it keeping my DD warm ignites a wonderful radiance.  That is what is meant by the expression ‘my heart swells with pride’.