I have yet to knit myself a sweater. This embarrasses me a little, especially since it seems like many knitters jump right into sweaters after they master the basics. Supposedly, I prefer smaller projects like socks and shawls and toys, and I don't wear sweaters that often anyway, and I'm trying to keep my yarn budget under control (ha). These are all somewhat true, but really, I'm scared of gauge. The whole concept. I understand how it works, but as a tight knitter most of the time, the thought of making something sizeable that actually needs to hit precise measurements is a little scary.
So I'm starting slow, with some baby cardigans. I've tried to get gauge on these, but it doesn't matter as much since baby garments are more forgiving, and two of these are shop samples for my LYS (ie, not even for a real kid). Since I'm not angsting about the fit, I've been concentrating on understanding the construction of sweaters, and learning things like I need to go up a needle size for sleeves because try as I might, I can't stop knitting more tightly in the round than back-and-forth.
Baby Sophisticate, a free pattern on Ravelry, was my very first sweater, and also my first shop sample, knit a few weeks after I started working at my LYS (so, no pressure!). It's knit in Berroco Vintage Chunky and I think it's cute, especially with those bunny buttons, but I could see things I wanted to improve.
After that, I made the In Threes baby cardigan for my cousin's little girl who was due in July. Since they live in Texas, I wanted a simple, sleeveless pattern that wouldn't be too warm. I knit this in Universal Yarn's Cotton Supreme, which is soft and squishy. I love this cardigan and I think it turned out adorable, and once again, it owes a lot of that to my LYS's stock of cute buttons.
My second shop sample is the Girl's Best Cardigan pattern by Georgie Hallam. I made a size 5y, so it was a bit more work than a baby sweater, but I enjoyed it. A lot of that is because I felt more confident. But it's also because the pattern and yarn were not ones I picked myself, and probably not something I would have chosen - which means I got the chance to try something very different from my usual approach. It's fun! (Although a million picots are not my idea of fun.)
Next up: a cardigan for me!