This week, you may have seen my reel about how a classic sweater is timeless and never goes out of style. The sweater in that video is more than 30 years old, and I still love it and think it looks good. It’s got that feel that’s actually having quite a moment with theQuiet Luxury trend.
I bought the yarn at a store that’s still there - Uncommon Threads in Los Altos, California. It was 100% wool, and I distinctly recall that it was $4 per 2-oz skein and that I needed 8 skeins. I remember thinking, even back in 1989, that this sweater was a bargain! It certainly was, especially when you consider that even now, it still looks pretty much brand new.
It’s one of the few sweaters from back in the day that I still have, since many of the things I knit have run their style course. But this one has stayed true. It’s a classic, and such a staple in my wardrobe that I don’t really even look at it anymore. I just put it on.
But today, I started feeling a little cringey when I examined my early efforts. Maybe it was because I was putting it out there on social media and wondered what people would think of the cables in the seams that don’t match up, the buttonholes that are a sight, and the sleeve increases completely lacking in finesse.
I broke my own rule and ignored the advice I am so quick to dole out to you.
Be gentle with your former self. We are all learning and doing better all the time.
Is this sweater up to the standards I set for myself today? Maybe not, but it was still pretty darn good for a completely self-taught knitter with just 5 years under her belt.
I learned a lot with this sweater too. There’s a beautiful slipped stitch edge on the button band, and the button band was worked separately and seamed. And did I mention there are buttonholes? As I look at the pattern now I see that it just says “Work in 1/1 ribbing making 6 buttonholes” So those clumpy buttonholes represented a major triumph.
If I could go back, there are things I would tell my adventurous new knitter self about buttonholes and seaming, and so much more, but the first and most important thing I would say is this:
Brava, young Ellen! Congratulations on stepping into new territory and figuring things out on your own. This is a wonderful learning opportunity, and I’m super proud of you. Knit on with courage and confidence. You have no idea where this will take you!
~With much love and affection, Older Ellen
Do you have sweaters from back when you were a newer knitter? That may be last year, or it may be 40 or 50 years ago. Doesn’t matter. Remember to always be kind to yourself and cherish your early work - it is a testament to your growing skill and to your willingness to do and learn, learn, and do.
Bravi, all of you.
With much love and affection, Ellen
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