I am SO happy to be finished with this sweater!
Clocking in at nearly 6 months to knit, seam and finish – this sweater was definitely a labor of love to complete.
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 😉 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.
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.
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 😉
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! 😀
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.