Completed: Smells Like Teen Spirit Sweater

26 Aug

I am SO happy to be finished with this sweater!

Smells Like Teen Spirit Sweater - front

Clocking in at nearly 6 months to knit, seam and finish – this sweater was definitely a labor of love to complete.

Smells Like Teen Spirit Sweater - front

Smells Like Teen Spirit Sweater - side

Smells Like Teen Spirit Sweater - back

Both the pattern and the yarn are from Wool and the Gang, which is pretty much the coolest yarn company I’ve ever heard of. WATG sells yarn, patterns, needles, and complete kits for their patterns (as well as RTW knit pieces, if you want to be completely lazy πŸ˜‰ no judgement over here from me!). The company reached out to me earlier this year – well, 6 months ago – and asked if I’d like to try one of their kits for a review. Being the cheeky piece of shit I am, I choose the Teen Spirit Sweater, in the classic red/grey colorway.

Smells Like Teen Spirit Sweater - kit

Smells Like Teen Spirit Sweater - kit

The kit came beautifully packaged, and included 21 balls of their Wooly Bully alpaca yarn, the Teen Spirit Sweater pattern, at set of size 10.5 Rosewood needles, and a giant needle for weaving in all the ends.

Smells Like Teen Spirit Sweater - front

Smells Like Teen Spirit Sweater - back

The pattern is One Size, which I knew immediately off the bat was gonna be WAY too big for me – it has a 44″ chest measurement (compared to my measly 32″ – that’s a LOTTA ease!). So the first thing I did was knit a gauge swatch to figure how many stitches I knit per inch, and recalculate the pattern so it would work with my specific measurements. Since the pattern is basically 4 giant rectangles (the sleeves have very gradual increases but nothing crazy), this was not at all difficult to do. All I needed to change was the amount of stitches I cast on, and then just follow the pattern henceforth. I also shortened the body of the sweater, because I wanted mine to be slightly cropped to offset the boxiness.

All the pieces are knit separately – front, back, and two sleeves . The front and back are identical, and are literally just two big rectangles – there is no shaping for the neckline, arm holes or waist. As I mentioned, the sleeves have very gradual increases to make them slightly shaped, but they are still primarily just big ol’ rectangles. To make the tartan, you knit in stripes following the pattern, and then weave the vertical stripes in afterward using this technique from WATG. It looks a lot more complicated than it actually is – it’s just time-consuming! I spent MANY nights sitting on the couch, binge-watching Mad Men, with a tiny blanket o’ sweater in my lap, weaving tartan stripes. In fact, this was the main project I worked on in the last week before my move – as it was the only thing I hadn’t packed!

After I wove in all the tartan stripes, I then blocked the pieces (which seriously took like 2 days to dry completely) before seaming. You seam the shoulders first, then attach the sleeves at the sleeve cap, then seam up the side and sleeve seam in one go (same as you’d do when sewing a knit tshirt). Finally, you knit the neckline ribbing (the sleeve and hem ribbing are knit while you are knitting the pieces). The resulting sweater is MASSIVELY heavy – I wish I owned a scale, because I’d love to know how much it actually weighs! Honestly, I love throwing it at people and watching how surprised they are when they feel it’s heft hahaha. It’s surprisingly not that itchy – it’s a little bit itchy, but I think another wash with some lanolin will clear that right now – but it is super duper warm. Way too warm to wear right now, obviously, but I’m sure I’ll really appreciate it come winter πŸ˜‰

Smells Like Teen Spirit Sweater - flat

Smells Like Teen Spirit Sweater - flat

Smells Like Teen Spirit Sweater - flat

As complicated at this sweater looks and as long as I spent working on it – it honestly was not difficult to knit at all. Even with rewriting the pattern to work with my measurements, the overall construction was very simple and straightforward. It was definitely time-consuming, but not hard – seriously, this is a great pattern for a beginner. Lots of knitting and purling, simple color changes for the stripes, and then seaming everything together (my seaming definitely needs some work, btw. Woof.).

Part of what took me so long to finish was simple mistakes I made on my end. I wasn’t happy with my first batch of tartan stripes – which I decided after I’d finished weaving the tartan for the entire front. I ripped everything out, recalculated, and wove it all in again. I could have stood to do a neater job with my weaving – all the other examples I see are much more even and precise and mine looks a bit sloppy in comparison – but I’m pretty happy with it regardless because I AM SO NOT RIPPING THAT SHIT OUT AGAIN. I also had some trouble with the neckline ribbing – I picked up too few stitches the first time, and wasn’t able to get the sweater over my head! So I got PISSED, ripped out the ripping, and put that fucker in time out for a solid month. Ha! Eventually, I got some liquid courage (aka wine) and tried again – this time picking up stitches at a 1:1 ratio and making sure it pulled over my head before binding off. It worked! Go me!

Check out my Ravelry page for the full low-down on this project – my stitch counts, measurements for the tartan weaving, etc. Didn’t want to clog up this post with all that, but it’s on the ‘Rav! BTW, I should mention – you can also buy this pattern individually, if you don’t need the yarn and needles. Teen Spirit sweaters for everyone! πŸ˜€

Smells Like Teen Spirit Sweater - front

When I started this sweater, I naively thought that I would have it finished before the weather started warming up – ha! Not even! On the flip side, it’s definitely ready and waiting for the next season! I’m actually pretty glad that I had an entire summer to fuss with this, because it made me not be in a hurry to finish it – I knew I’d have to wait months before that was even an option. Instead, I took my time and ripped out when needed, and I think the end result was worth it. Man, I cannot WAIT to wear this bad boy! I think it’ll look especially ace with my Elizabeth Suzann Cecilia Pants. Which, btw – if you are looking for the magic pants that look amazing on EVERYONE, that’s those. You’re welcome.

**Note: The kit for my Teen Spirit Sweater (which included the yarn, pattern and needles) was VERY generously given to me by Wool and the Gang, in exchange for a blog review. Thank you, WATG!


29 Responses to “Completed: Smells Like Teen Spirit Sweater”

  1. LinB August 26, 2016 at 10:32 am #

    Alpaca is V – E – R – Y warm. Love the sweater, and love the colors on you. Just warning you that you may have to move to Canada to justify this level of warmth.

    • LLADYBIRD August 26, 2016 at 10:34 am #

      I think anything below 80* is too cold, so this should be just perfect for me during the coldest months of winter here πŸ™‚ hahahaha!

  2. Beth August 26, 2016 at 10:42 am #

    Wow — this is one amazing sweater, Lauren! And it truly looks great on you. When I looked at the first pictures i was thinking “stranded knitting,” but never ever would have thought this was woven. It looks like a piece you’d see in our local art gallery that would sell for somewhere north (forgive me; I did use a small “n” πŸ™‚ — if that makes any sense) of $300. Just gorgeous. I’m finishing up Miette in a soft navy cotton (Universal Yarn Cotton Supreme) for my sister. Lovely pattern and cardi — going to have to make one for myself! Fall is on the way so we’ll soon be enjoying our hot, stylin’, one-of-a-kind wools. Enjoy!

    • LLADYBIRD August 26, 2016 at 11:15 am #

      Thank you so much! I am looking forward to wearing this – although, realistically, it probably won’t be until January πŸ™‚ But at least I’ll be ready for it when the time comes hahah!

  3. mertxelasierra August 26, 2016 at 11:03 am #

    Very grunge, Lauren! I think it is gorgeous. I also love WATG projects, they are really cool. And no need for those pants, I think the jeans you are wearing in the pictures are perfect for the sweater.

    • LLADYBIRD August 26, 2016 at 11:16 am #

      Thank you! I looove WATG, while I wouldn’t necessarily wear all of the patterns they promote – I love the photos and the styling. So fun to look at!

  4. Sarah August 26, 2016 at 11:22 am #

    Love this. I might have to try it as knitting season is coming fast. 🐿❀️

    • LLADYBIRD August 26, 2016 at 5:01 pm #

      It’ll be sweater-wearin’ season before we know it! πŸ˜€

  5. Lynsey August 26, 2016 at 3:13 pm #

    Gorgeously cosy and loving the funky tartan, oh I wish I could knit (I tried but awful, really shit actually πŸ™‚ your one clever lady!

    • LLADYBIRD August 26, 2016 at 5:03 pm #

      Thank you!! Boo about not being able to knit! Maybe try continental style (or English style – whatever is the opposite that you learned!)? I have come to realize that most people adapt better to one over the other, so it may be worth trying a different method πŸ™‚ I’m a continental girl, fyi! πŸ™‚

  6. esewing August 26, 2016 at 3:42 pm #

    This is a great jumper , love the tartan well done for persevering , well worth it for such a lovely garment , am afraid I’m not very good at going back to abandoned projects !

    • LLADYBIRD August 26, 2016 at 5:05 pm #

      I never want to revisit them either, but I make myself – mostly because of the expense!! I also feel like half-finished projects are bad crafty karma, at least for me πŸ™‚ haha!

  7. Fabric Tragic August 26, 2016 at 5:32 pm #

    This looks so cool. Very clever. Do you find it chokes you because there is no neckline shaping? I’ve found that with both sewing and knitting patterns that have a symmetrical neckline front and back….

    • LLADYBIRD August 28, 2016 at 1:23 pm #

      I was afraid it would, but I didn’t feel choked while trying it on for these pictures. Of course, I haven’t had a chance to really wear it while actually moving around – so we’ll see how I feel once the temperatures drop πŸ™‚

  8. PsychicKathleen August 27, 2016 at 11:07 am #

    Although I don’t knit I always have to read your blog regardless. “Cheeky piece of shit that I am” was worth it. I laughed like a crazy woman. Your work is always gorgeous Lauren. This sweater looks just perfect with jeans – cozy and chic the ideal combo πŸ™‚

    • LLADYBIRD August 28, 2016 at 1:24 pm #

      haha well I always try to keep it entertaining even if the subject matter isn’t everyone’s cup of tea πŸ˜‰ And thank you!

  9. vintagethrifter51 August 27, 2016 at 6:22 pm #

    Love the sweater! It is gorgeous and worth every minute of the work you put into it. Well done. Cheers, Michele

  10. Kate Carvalho August 27, 2016 at 10:08 pm #

    This is so cool! A super warm hand knitted sweater (especially red tartan!) is worth every minute!!!

  11. Hannah F August 28, 2016 at 2:09 pm #

    I love this company! I am one of their party hosts/knit ambassadors and they are the best! Excellent customer service! I usually stick to the quick projects – due to my attention span, but this one is very lovely! I can’t wait to see how you style it for winter!

  12. katieweychardt August 30, 2016 at 12:17 am #

    This is adorable, I love it. You’re so clever! Sewing I can do, knitting is a whole other world.

  13. fionaparker17 August 31, 2016 at 5:35 pm #

    Knitting blows my mind! Such a cool jumper on you

  14. weeza September 2, 2016 at 9:21 am #

    If you count up how many balls of yarn you used (or how many you have left compared to the original number in the pack), then multiply by the weight of one ball – wah la, that’s how much it weighs, thereabouts. That is the limit of my math skills.

    • LLADYBIRD September 8, 2016 at 3:20 pm #

      Why have I never thought of this?! CLEVER YOU ARE.

  15. Jonathan Caswell September 11, 2016 at 3:50 pm #

    Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:

  16. Meg September 20, 2016 at 5:05 am #

    It’s so beautiful! Knitting for punks – I blummin’ love it *hearteyedemoji*


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