The Nice Thing about This Picture Is that It Doesn’t Show How Badly I Botched the Sweater

February 3, 2008 @ 9:58 am | Filed under: , ,


I learned to crochet when I was eleven, but I took about fifteen years off. And I’d never made anything but blankets, I think. This was my first attempt ever at a sweater (either knitting or crocheting).

Here’s the pattern I used: Baby It’s Cold Outside.

Rilla drew a lot of compliments at the park, but honesty compels me to confess what a mess I made of the project. First of all, it was supposed to be a present for a newborn. Of course, since I spent over a year on the sweater about ten newborn friends grew into toddlers before I had a chance to give what I thought was going to be the perfect new-baby gift. Hee. As I (finally, at long last) crocheted the final stitches, I had two dear friends who were counting down the days to the arrival of wee daughters, and I was delighted with the timing. The only difficulty was going to be in deciding to which baby girl I’d send the sweater.

Then I began whipstitching the sides together and it became clear that this sweater wasn’t going to work for either one of the newborn lasses. Rilla bopped past as I held it up by the sleeves, biting my lip doubtfully. The sweater looked more like her size (and she’ll be two in April) than newborn size. Hmm. I am sure I followed the directions meticulously. I can’t possibly have been at all distracted during the year and a half of sporadic bursts of hooking, right? The year and a half in which I packed up and moved to the other side of the country? No cause for absentminded mistakes there, surely?


The sizing problems, it turned out, were the least of my mistakes.  I mean, there are worse fates than accidentally making a sweater the perfect size for your own child. Of much greater concern was the fact that the front left panel was some two inches longer than the back of the sweater.


I unraveled the extra rows, but now the two front panels are different sizes. As I said, you can’t tell from this picture. Since one panel buttons over the other, the discrepancy looks almost intentional—sort of boxy and chic.

At least, that’s the story I’m going with.

I haven’t made the buttons yet but when I do you’ll see what I mean. If you compare mine to the picture, you’ll see how terrifically I blundered.

Fortunately for me, Rilla doesn’t give a hoot about following instructions to the letter.




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22 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. patience says:

    It’s gorgeous. The cardigan. And the toddler. And very funny photo story.

  2. JoVE says:

    Actually NO ONE cares about following instructions carefully. No one in the park knows what you were aiming for. They just see a cute sweater that you made for your daughter. Sometimes we beat ourselves up for stuff that doesn’t matter in the end.

    And it is a cute sweater.

  3. molly mcgovern says:

    What a sweetie!

  4. christie says:

    she’s playing on the wall the sign asks her not to play on…. isn’t she? You boxy, chic, scofflaw you.

  5. Jennifer says:

    It is so cute – and so is Rilla. I’m so inspired!

  6. Melissa Wiley says:

    JoVE–no fear, I am far too soft on myself to ever beat myself up. đŸ™‚

    Christie–yes, you are right, that’s the very wall. And again in the spirit of full disclosure, I must add that immediately after snapping those photos I removed a very indignant young lady from the forbidden wall, as well as her highly disappointed big brother. And Park Day ended with two very unhappy little people being carted back to the car by mean old mommy who wouldn’t let them ignore that sign just because they can’t read it! LOL.

  7. Kathy says:

    What is it about a sweet sweater on darling toddler girls? I could *never* pass on buying (don’t knit/crochet yet, but learning) a special sweater. Now mine are 10 and 5 and I’ve saved all those sweaters thinking there might be another one…

  8. Amy says:

    LOL, you and me both, Lissa. Today I made a pair of “longies” for the first time. Baby pants made from an old wool sweater. Only I sewed them together inside out. You can only tell if you look inside at the nice cable knit, LOL, but I know.

    Love the pictures of Rilla – and I think the sweater looks great! đŸ™‚

  9. Isabella says:

    the sweater is adorable just like your daughter. she looks fearless!

    there is a great easy pattern for knitting a sweater here:

    help with knitting terms/mini online videos for stiches can be found here:

    There is also a great book called Dyeing to Knit by Elaine Eskesen. It has great ideas on how to dye yarn, yet also patterns. Dyeing yarn with kool aid is fun. It has my favorite pattern for knitting a toddler sweater from the top down, all in knit stiches, and increase stitches, no purling. It’s very easy and mindless, easy to pick up whenever.

    I have made things bigger and smaller before..and the people who recieved them liked them just fine. It usually has to do with gauge. I think it’s the love that goes into handmade items.

  10. Faux Wood Blinds Gal says:

    So enjoyed your post mixed in with the great baby pix:-)

  11. Hypatia says:

    From the pattern, it looks to me like the front panels are *supposed* to be different sizes — aren’t they?

    Regardless, it’s a darling sweater!

  12. sarah in va says:

    I still think the sweater is darling, even or not. I am impressed that you get your shoes tied in the morning much less crochet a sweater!! The colors along overshadow any imperfections. They are perfect for her.

    Love a kid who lives on-the-edge.

  13. Mary G. says:

    she’s so cute, it makes the sweater look great! btw, I particularly like the “don’t play on the wall” part ….

    Keep up the crafting, Lissa ….

  14. Kristen Laurence says:

    Lissa, that sweater is so, so sweet! I love it.

  15. Angela, MotherCrone says:

    I have made that sweater, from the pattern, and even in the same Homespun Waterfall color!

    As one who crochets fairly regularly, and teaches crochet and knitting at our learning center, I must only recommend making that little gauge swatch they tell you to do at the beginning to figure out how many stitches you put in an inch. My stitches are tight, so I always need to go up a few hook sizes so my items turn out the right size. Many of my students crochet more loosely, and have to move to smaller hooks for the same effect. That difference alone can throw you off two sizes in either direction!!

    It still looks adorable, and you shoul be happy with your first efforts. I’m teaching crochet again next year…and would happily send you the beginner lesson plans that you could do with your older girls. Let me know!!

  16. Rebecca says:

    You should be proud to have completed a sweater! I have a sweater in the making that I started for Ben (who is now 11). It is a size 2T so that tells you how long I’ve been working on it. There is not a child in the house that it would fit, even if I completed it today. I mostly stick to tiny things like socks, baby hats and scarves so I know I will complete them.

  17. Meredith says:

    Too cute, and the sweater is heavenly!

  18. Helen (Mary Vitamin) says:

    I think the sweater is fantastic.
    You always make me laugh – what a funny picture and end line!

  19. Faith says:

    The sweater looks lovely to me! If I could knit like that, I’d call it quite the accomplishment. Very cute, and nice colors, too.

  20. Jeanne says:

    I have a lovely picture of my youngest in a mine in Colorado. He’s standing in front of a fence, which you can’t see, and right beside the “Danger: High Voltage” sign, and he looks like he’s mixing with the dangerously high voltage stuff, which he isn’t. But it is a great shot.