Greetings from Utah! Awhile back Ashley Yousling, one of my favorite knitterly people, happened to mention that she had never knitted anything for herself — only for other people. I loved what happened next, and am happy to have her here to tell us all about it today. Thanks, Ash!
My journey as a dedicated knitter first began much like Karen’s, with the discovery of Joelle Hoverson’s “Last Minute Knitted Gifts” through a friend I worked with. The seed was planted years earlier as a child, when a great aunt taught me the basics of knitting. Renewed interest and patience did not come until adulthood and even then it would take time to foster this fiber relationship. I’d often start projects and never finish them. This was an enduring trait I’d had since childhood. But when my niece was born, I chose small projects and found great satisfaction in finishing them. I completed a variety of knits that year, ending it with an ambitious goal of knitting everyone’s Christmas presents. My interest waned drastically. It wasn’t until I found out I was pregnant with my son that I picked up my needles again. That is when my love affair with knitting and wool truly began.
I again started with small projects, but this time chose increasingly more difficult and time consuming patterns. Much of my renewed dedication to knitting was owed to my growing knowledge of fibers and technique. A few months back I realized I had never actually knit anything for myself. Someone tagged me on Instagram asking, “What is your most-worn hand knit?” I didn’t have one! The next day I started on my first personal knit, a pair of very colorful socks.
Soon thereafter, due to much knitting jealousy (it’s a real thing I swear) I wondered if I had the gumption to knit a sweater for myself. I had never knit anything adult sized for the very reason I mentioned earlier. With much encouragement from knitting friends Karen and Anna, I took the plunge and ordered ten skeins of Brooklyn Tweed Loft for my first sweater, Reine. As soon as the yarn arrived, I got to work, focused on doing everything the “right” way. Swatching, measuring, note taking and so on. Progress was slowed only by my career and motherhood, not by any lack of interest. With every hurdle overcome, I fell more in love with knitting, more infatuated with wool and more confident in my skills as a maker. I suppose I had a very well-written pattern to thank as well.
This past week I knit the final stitches on the sweater, made just for me. I still can’t believe the fit or feel. It’s pretty magical. I discovered the antique buttons at a local haven I’d been hearing about, Exclusive Buttons in El Cerrito, and couldn’t be happier. If you’re ever in the Bay Area, make sure to visit. The sweet little old lady Mary has owned the place for 30 years and has a story or two to go along with your purchase.
If you’ve been holding back, consider this a pep talk. Go knit yourself something amazing.
For more from Ashley, check out her blog, Woolful, and follow @woolful on Instagram. And p.s. I can’t believe I never made it to Exclusive Buttons before I left town!
i loved reading this story and could relate to many of the things she discussed. ive been a knitter for most of my life, but always with lots of help…unfortunately sometimes too much help keeps you from progressing in your own skills. only in the past few years have i really started to grow in my skills (thanks to rav, internet, etc but i have yet to knit a sweater for myself. still intimidated, but i would make one with a kal, or with you:)
That’s gorgeous, Ashley. I have never knit myself anything…..yet. I think I’ll start my first sweater…..for myself👍👍
That sweater IS amazing. Beware , knitting for yourself is addicting !
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I follow @Woolful on IG and am always so delighted and inspired to see her awesome creations. Great job, Ashley!
I’m always surprised when people say they’ve never knit anything for themselves — I was motivated to start knitting by the things I wanted to wear myself! :)
I’ve been knitting for approximately ten years and have never knit anything for myself either. I’ve knit many sweaters for my husband, children and grandchildren – and lots of socks, hats, scarves, cowls and mittens – and several prayer shawls for friends who needed them. I LOVE the sweater you knit, Ashley, and decided to knit one for myself…after I finish the three adult sweaters on my needles and two children’s sweaters for my grandchildren! :) Some habits die hard!!!
Congratulations on a job well done…she’s just beautiful! Don’t you just love Jared’s designs???!!!
whoot! ashley you and it are gorgeous! a shawl for you next?
I’ve knit lots of things for myself, but have never committed to a sweater…or a blanket, for that matter. I was also a much better “starter” than “finisher” of things before I began knitting, and I think that’s why I’ve shyed away from big projects in those 10 years. (And a sweater for myself would definitely be a “big” project in all senses of the word!) However, I just finished knitting an enormous shawl that took 5 1/2 weeks to complete, and now realize that I have acquired the necessary patience for a large project. I already have enough yarn for a Mags Kandis’ Amiga sweater, and plan to knit it, just as soon as I do some more relatively-instant gratification projects, that is!
Beautiful Reine! I loved reading about Ashley’s knitting story, and look forward to following her other knitting adventures on her blog.
What a beautiful sweater! I loved your story, I’m a very selfish knitter. I’ve only knitted for myself, a few exceptions.
Great story! The second photo in the post is gorgeous! I’m now following Ashley on Instagram.
Love the feature. Ashley is awesome! Her blog is so beautiful, as is her Reine.
I absolutely loved reading this! Reading about a knitter’s journey through my designs is what keeps me going as a designer. Ashley’s Reine cardigan turned out so well, too! I hope it becomes her new “most worn hand knit”.
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