I made myself a test gauge to be sure my stitches matched up in size to the pattern before starting, and then worked on the ribbing for the bottom. At that point, I only had to use knit, purl and cast on stitches, and those were all familiar to me.
To start the body of the sweater, the pattern said to increase 6 stitches. Feeling confident that I could manage that, I knit the first row, increasing 6 times evenly as I went. On the return row of purl knitting, I realized that I did not remember how to increase because I had created 6 holes in the sweater instead. Rookie mistake.
Ripped out those rows, looked up "how to increase" in a knitting book and tried a second time. This time I got it right, and began the body of the sweater. Again.
About 8 rows in, I came across a random hole. I think I had mistakenly done a "yarn over". Ripped out about 4 rows and started up again. After a few nights work, I had about 8 inches of the back done.
I laid it out on top of a sweater that my son already owned and that fit him well. It was easy to see that my knitted sweater was going to be too small. Another rookie mistake. I should have compared my work to the storebought sweater about 4 inches sooner and saved myself a lot of time. I had to start over. Again.
I went back an looked through the pattern book I had bought, ignoring the crazy eyes and the sullen stares of the models and found a nice crewneck sweater that looked more roomy, then convinced my son that v-necks were overrated anyway.
Then came the hard part, ripping out everything I had done so far:
Before I could start over, I had to deal with this...
a mountain of yarn sitting there on the table.
I lamented to my knitting expert sister about losing the convenience of a pull-skein, where your skein stays in one place while you pull yarn from the center. She showed me how you can wrap a ball of yarn and make your own pull skein, a technique I will graciously share with you:
Start wrapping the yarn around your fingers, making sure to leave a long tail hanging out from the center:
Continue winding your yarn into a ball, always making sure the tail end is hanging free:
When you are finished, you will have a nice, tidy ball of yarn with a pullstring from the center:
Now I was ready to start the sweater project all over again, but not without a nice, consoling cup of tea and a good night's sleep first.