This is the first thing I've ever knit for myself (and it's really only the second thing I've ever knit, period), and I like it. :) There's a bit of a story, though, about why it has stripes . . .
I found the pattern in a book called "One Skein Wonders," so in theory, one would think that all the stuff in the book can be made from one skein of yarn, right? Well . . . this particular top, called the Diotima Shell, was apparently made from one really freaking big skein of yarn. (The pattern calls for 275 yards, and I did know this before I started, but who knew that yarn came in skeins that big)? I decided I'd try it with somewhat less yardage - some Lion Homespun, which really, is a pretty big skein of yarn, comparatively. It was some I had in my stash, needing to be used, and I happily started knitting. Things were going along fine, but before terribly long I realized that the one skein really wasn't going to be enough. Okay, no biggie. I'd just knit along until I had used up about seven-eighths of the yarn, and then switch to a different color, do a big stripe, and then finish off with a thin stripe of the original color at the bottom. I even knew what color I wanted for the stripe. I was sure that Lion made a turquoise yarn that was the same shade as one of the colors in the multi-color Colonial blue that I was using.
So, I headed over to Michael's, to discover that there was no turquoise. Not the shade I wanted, anyway. Poo. (I even checked the Lion website when I came home; there is no turquoise. Maybe it was discontinued, or something, because I could swear they used to make one). There was, however, a skein of Colonial blue that looked the same as the one I was using, although since I bought that original yarn more than year ago, I was pretty sure it couldn't actually be the same dye lot. I bought it anyway, along with a couple of other colors that I thought might work as a stripe.
When I got home, I couldn't find the wrapper from my original yarn, so I couldn't check if the dye lots matched. They really did look the same, though, so I decided that I'd just finish the sweater with the new yarn, and forget the stripe. So, I knitted my way through the rest of my original yarn, but when I went to join the new skein, I looked at them closely and decided that, actually, the new skein looked brighter than the old yarn. I was afraid the difference would be really noticeable, so I came up with yet another "brilliant" plan - I would do a stripe after all - if I put color between the two different Colonial blues, the slight difference in color wouldn't show, right?
So, I knitted a nice, happy stripe of Gothic (some purple I had on hand from my afghan project). When I thought the stripe was wide enough, I had second thoughts AGAIN about the new Colonial blue. What if the separating color wasn't enough, and it would be obvious I'd used dye lots that didn't match? Okay . . . this is still fixable. I didn't want to finish the sweater with the Gothic; doing it in just two colors would look weird, I decided. But what about three? So, after comparing half a dozen colors I had on hand (I have a lot of Homespun, because of that afghan project), I decided to do a third stripe in Antique (red). As I knitted the third stripe, I decided I was quite pleased with the way the colors looked together. When it was long enough, I finished it off, wove in the ends, and tried it on - YAY, I really like the way it looks. The yarn is a bit bulky, and kind of makes me look like a linebacker, but not so much that I can't wear it. So, I was happy with the way my project turned out. Hey, I actually knit something for myself. Whoo Hoo!
That's not quite the end of the story, though. Later, I was tidying up around the couch (where I sit while I'm knitting and crocheting), and I found a Homespun wrapper. It was the wrapper from my original skein of Colonial blue, and just for the heck of it, I decided to compare dye lots with the new one I'd bought. And I'll be damned if those two skeins - purchased more than a year apart - weren't from the same gosh-darned dye lot. *facepalm* I could have finished the sweater in blue; the difference was just my eyes playing tricks on me. Of course, now I'm right where I was before I started this sweater in terms of my stash - I thought I was using up stash yarn, but I ended up buying a new Colonial blue to replace the one I used, (um, not to mention the two other colors I bought as potential "stripe" colors, one of which was the Antique). I guess that's okay. I'll use the yarn for something, eventually, and it makes for a good story. (Well, I hope it was a good story, anyway :D). Funny thing is, I think I like the sweater better with the stripes than I would have if it were all blue. I do think it looks like I meant for it to be that way, and not that I ran out of yarn and had to finish haphazardly with another color. So, we'll let that be our little secret, shall we? Except for the part where I really didn't have to finish with another color, if only I'd bothered to compare those dye lots from the start. *giggle*
Aside from all this, I learned a lot about knitting from doing this project. At first, I had trouble keeping track of my stitches (it's k1, p1 rib stitch, which now seems easy, but at the start I kept getting confused); I learned how to pick up stitches from the cast-on edge (thanks to some help from happy_potterer); I learned how to knit in the round on circular needles; and now I actually know what knit and purl stitches look like on the needle (it took me a while to figure this out, but once I did it made it SO much easier - I no longer had to count obsessively; if I got lost, I could just look to see which my next stitch should be). So, all the way around, a successful project. YAY. :)