Striped sweater for the Hugonaut

I’m an annual knitter. This means that about once a year, when it gets cold, I see some cute sweater float across my Pinterest feed, and I pull out my knitting needles and chubby thread I mean yarn and try and remember the difference between a knit and a purl. Usually this involves watching video tutorials on the Purl Bee and getting my friend Giedra who is an experienced knitter to re-teach me the long-tail cast on again, which she patiently does, year after year. I know to those of you who don’t knit this may sound like I have some sort of mastery of the art, but trust me when I say my knitting skills are rudimentary at best.


Then I begin the process of improv-knitting a sweater for the lucky, lucky child who will be this year’s new handmade sweater recipient. And when I say “improv-knitting” that is just a fancy way of saying that I make it up as I go. And yes you are right if you are thinking (as well you should) that it would make all kinds of sense to actually follow a pattern written by, you know, a knitting professional or something but here’s my general problem: it’s usually been about year since I logged into my Ravelry account (for you who don’t knit — this is THE epicenter of online knitting information. Sadly, Ravelry has no sewing-equivalent, though many have tried) so I’ve forgotten the password, so why bother trying to reset it when I could just make something up? And how am I going to find the perfect hooded sweater pattern that uses exactly the gauge yarn I have picked out? Better just to wing it. This always seems to make perfect sense at the time.


There are a number of problems with this approach as you might have already guessed. Number one is that improv knitting almost always results in a sweater that does not fit. Clementine is JUST NOW growing into the pink and yellow number I made for her three years ago. Though that was crochet, but the general approach was still the same. And Hugo, as you may be able to see in these photos, is already busting out of the tiny sweater I made for him last winter like a delicious little baby sausage.

Mmmm. Baby sausage.


The other problem is that I often start these projects mid-September with great zeal and motivation but then lose steam, forget how to knit, have to reteach myself how to knit, and then end up finishing them in late spring, or more often, the following year. Timing. If I lived in Iceland this wouldn’t be a problem. And actually this summer was so cold that he did end up wearing it a bit in July (JULY?!?!), so all was not lost. But soon this little sweater will be on its way to cousin Penelope. Lucky thing.


I used Shepherd’s Wool yarn which is made here in Michigan (yay!). You can see the sweater I was inspired by here (I think mine turned out better ahem), and if you use Pinterest you can follow my Someday when I am a knitting superstar Pinterest board to see what other ambitious projects I intend to recreate. My “things-made-with-yarn” blog category contains my other mostly ill-fitting knitting projects.

Please do not pin or repost pictures of Hugo. Thanks!!!


24 thoughts on “Striped sweater for the Hugonaut

  1. These are possibly some of the cutest baby photos I’ve ever seen. I thought he was a doll at first. You could be describing my knitting experience, so similar.

  2. DUDE! I’m super impressed that you just winged it and came up with a totally adorable and wearable sweater. You are a KNITTER if you can do that. I’ve been knitting for 12 ish years, A LOT, and have knit countless sweaters from patterns, and I have never ever even explored the thought of just winging it on a sweater pattern. You rock!

  3. How I love the name, The Hugonaut! That’s just adorable & I’ll never read your blog again without thinking of that. I’m a knitter first, then a lousy sewist, so I live by Ravelry! I’m awfully impressed that you pulled off a sweater like that by just winging it. I think you’re more a knitter than you’re letting on….

    • aw thanks Samina — I can’t take credit for the name, my friend karen calls him that and it gets stuck in my head too! 😉

  4. OH HUGO! such a little cherub! i looove this sweater. hm what if you tried blocking it, you think it might stretch enough for him to get another season out of it? not that i know anything about knitting, really, i’m still in the “hats and scarves only” club. ;P

    • yeah…i know, thanks, I do really appreciate knowing that stuff for sure!! Been trying to fix that all day. I think the images are too big and flickr times out trying to serve them. A page reload is what’s fixing it for me, not changing any image settings.

  5. Having just started knitting again at the age of 42….the last time was when I was about 10, I am super-impressed with your cute little cardigan. I forgot everything and couldn’t remember how to cast on or off, and just about remembered how to knit…I’ve also enjoyed watching lots of YouTube vids to get up to speed with these things, and have now graduated to making my daughter a wooly hat with circular needles oooooohhhhh Feel very chuffed about it, I have to say…. 🙂 Keep up the good work!

  6. Would it be outrageous to widen the button placket, the edge of the hood, perhaps increasing a bit, and add cuffs? If you still had the mustard yarn or could do it in grey and add a teeny stripe of mustard for one go around, you could make it work, no? I’m a total make it up crocheter, so obviously disregard everything I ever say about knitting. (But if that’s impossible in knitting, swap to crochet immediately! Just saying!)

    • not outrageous at all!! I just have to try and figure out if that is something I want to spend my time going back and doing….but it’s a good solution, for sure!

      • I just suggested more work to you…. Now that is outrageous!! And I just retread the pos t and realised it’s getting sent to his teeny cousin which is perfecter than perfect all round. I must have skipped that line with my baby sausage centric vision. Gah! Gorgeousness from top to toe!!!!

  7. I seriously can’t handle how cute he is! the sweater is great too. I’m also a seasonal knitter, and have a short attention span when it comes to knitting. I now just stick with hats!

  8. Yea! I am also an annual knitter. I pick up the needles in December, find one simple hat or cowl, grab a bunch of yarn, and knit Christmas gifts for my children and nieces & nephews. After the holidays I put away the needles and don’t usually pick them up again until the next December after I’ve read how-to’s and watch videos to re-learn the basics.

  9. Do you have a picture without Hugo in it that we can pin? I knit slowly (and much worse than you do) on a year-round basis and would love to add this to the lineup.

  10. this sweater is adorable, i think i want to try to make it! sadly, it probably will not turn out as nice as this one though. harumph.

    as an aside: where did you get the oh-so-cute japanese sailboat/wave bundler underneath the sweater? i kinda want it.

  11. I loved this fabric on you so much I was able to snag the last 2 yards from Lucy at Guthrie-Ghani.
    I haven’t decided yet if I’ll make a Bianca or Washi top!

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