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Knitting success: wears-per-sweater

“I’m trying to wear my knits more.”

“I guess I’m just more of a process knitter.”

“I love knitting, but my fashion aesthetic isn’t ‘knitted sweater.’

“I can’t wear wool, so there's no point in knitting myself a sweater.”

How do you measure success in knitting? Coziness? Was it fun to knit? Is it a work of art? I have a rhetorical metric (I am, after all, an accounting nerd): 'wears-per-sweater.' How often are you actually reaching for and wearing your projects?

The wearability trifecta - comfort, aesthetics, and knit appeal

For maximum wears-per-sweater, your garment has to be comfortable, it has to appeal to your fashion sense and go with your other clothes, and it has to be an enjoyable enough knitting project that you finish it. If the tags I see on Instagram are any indication, there are stacks of finished sweaters languishing on shelves!

Ideally, your sweater will also fit. That a much bigger convo that I'll write on later! Consider also, a sweater can fit and still never get worn, and a sweater can have a lousy fit and still climb to the top of your ratings. So - and I feel heretical writing this - fit isn't necessarily a top measure of success unless it impacts comfort.

In Picking Your First Sweater, I talk about looking into your closet to find sweaters that you like to wear. How about going further? Conduct a post mortem on knits you don’t love to wear, and get really specific about why you don’t wear them. Are they too hot? Are you constantly adjusting the shoulders? Too scratchy? Maybe they’re just not your style, or it turns out you prefer wearing dark-colored sweaters?

Friends, I’m sensitive

It took me a long time to figure out that I process sensory input a little ...differently. Like many folks with sensory processing differences, I'm particularly sensitive about anything touching my skin. I don’t own lotion, I’ve built a career around wearing tagless leggings as pants, and… anything scratchier than the inside of a twice-washed hoodie is off the list.

As a knitter, what a bummer.

As a designer, though - what a superpower! I’ve got your kids in mind, and how much they hate a snug neckline being pulled over their head, or a cuff touching their hand, or a collar crowding their necks. And I’ve got your back, too, thinking about whether you’re actually going to wear that sweater once you knit it.

Evaluating a project

So what's in your pattern queue? Think about the top ten sweaters you’re itching to cast on. If you can find some overlap between what you’ll wear and what you’ll knit, you’ll be on your way to being someone who consistently wears their knits.

A screen shot of some of my Ravelry patterns, some pullovers, some cardigans.
Clockwise from upper left: J. Cieslak, H. Fettig, O. Sucche, J. Flood, K. Davies, Weichien, E. Green, Ysolda

Here are eight of my patterns from my favorites list, and here’s how the Wearability Trifecta lens helps me get real about what's going to end