There’s a concept used in my industry, probably from a business book no one can remember the name of anymore, known as Lessons Learned. When you finish up a project, the team gets together and thinks about how things could go better the next time. Sure, some whining happens, but the focus is on how you can do things differently to make it all go better next time.
Lessons learned apply to crafts, too.
I learn something with every project. Sometimes it’s something little, like that a particular yarn likes to split so the lesson learned is to use a needle with rounded, rather than sharp, tips. Sometimes it’s something you can’t believe you never thought to do differently.
My Harvest sweater left me some major lessons learned. Lessons I thought I had learned before.
Thing is, my sweater doesn’t fit me. I chose the wrong size to make. Got gauge, followed the directions. Doesn’t fit.
Yep, I wrote a whole post about measuring yourself and choosing a size. Yet, I made the wrong one for me.
I chose the size exactly the same as my chest measurement, measuring around my widest point in my chest. This means that there was zero ease.
Lesson One: Cotton does not stretch
Next time I work with this yarn or another cotton, I should add at least and extra inch to account for the fact cotton does not stretch. (And maybe add a bit more if I intend to throw it in the dryer when I’m too impatient to let it dry flat.)
Lesson Two: Remember your body type
Unlike the standard person sweaters are designed for, I have broad shoulders and, well, a small chest. In the future, I need to account for this.
Amy Herzog has an amazing blog series called Fit to Flatter which is also available in book form. In the post on choosing your sweater size, she describes how to take a better measurement than the tradition chest one. I won’t rehash what she says, but the lesson from Amy for me is that I often need to knit a size or two larger than the pattern calls for.
I tried on the sweater and even wore it a few times before blocking it. From the start, it felt tight across my shoulders and I couldn’t quite close it. After blocking it via washer and dryer, it is not at all flattering. And, worse, it’s just not comfortable. Here’s a photo I took of me trying it on, about the only photo I have of me wearing it. Notice how it won’t close, yet bunches at my armpits. Signs of a poor fit.
Don’t worry, though, the sweater will not be relegated to the back of my closet. I’m lucky to have a friend for whom the sweater is a perfect fit. It’s actually winging its way across town (so more like fighting I-66 traffic) to my friend KO to keep her warm on chilly days at work.
I will knit myself another sweater one of these days. And I will remember my lessons learned. (Either way, I’ll blog about it, you can be sure.)