My First Sweater (TM) has turned out to be my Waterloo (a joke that never gets old, right? Right? Hello? Is this thing on?), Reader. I chose the Wicked sweater from Zephyr Style, a top down raglan (I think?) with a boat neck and some cabled details, and I used heathered burgundy Cascade 220. I will admit that I had my doubts about the Cascade 220: it didn't seem all that special to me, but it's cheap and known to be durable. As I used it, I came to appreciate its softness and springiness--I don't think you can go wrong with it. I do still think the donegal tweed version looks stupid. Sorry, Cascade.
This pattern is known to run large, so when my gauge was 20 stitches/4 inches rather than 18 on size 7s, I decided to just go with it. Reader, I can picture you muttering to yourself: Aha! Foreshadowing! This turned out, however, to not be the problem. Neither was it a problem when I realized about halfway through the collar that I'd forgotten to do the twist stitch and decided I didn't care. The problem is that the sweater is terribly unflattering. I've had this confirmed by Lilyriver, who tactfully noted that she thought it was too big. That might be one issue, despite the theoretical 2" of negative ease I thought I'd built in. Issue #2: worried that the sweater would be too small, I didn't do the waist shaping. I have a men's sweater that doesn't have shaping, so I didn't think the waist shaping would make much of a difference here. It may have, but it wouldn't have helped issue #3, which is that worsted-weight yarn and size 7 needles makes for a somewhat bulky knitted fabric. As acknowledging that it's possible that I might only be able to wear fine-gauge sweaters would cause me no small distress, I've decided that the real problem is issue #4: what was supposed to be a boat neck came out like a crew neck. I thought this might happen from some pictures I saw on Ravelry. Since patterns are resized according to a formula and not by reknitting the garment in each projected size, I think the neck doesn't doesn't quite work on the larger sizes. I think a v-neck would have helped the sweater look less bulky and would have given it a little more style.
For now, I'm not going to reknit it. (I actually still have a sleeve and a half left to go.) I'm tired of the yarn and I'm not sure I could fix it enough to make it wearable outside the house. I may eventually go back and experiment with waist shaping.
Happy new year, Reader!