Sweaters can be made top down, bottom up, side to side or tee shaped. One never needs to make the same one twice. Sweaters are bigger projects that a hat or scarf, but worth the time. Only your imagination dictates which pattern you use, and how you use it.
- Use a needle two sizes larger that the pattern calls for and cast on loosely. This will insure that the sweater bottom, neck, and cuffs are not too tight and will easily slip over the child’s head.
- Be generous with the neck allowances, nothing is sadder than a beautiful sweater which will not go over a child’s head.
- There are many of methods of casting on, use the method you like the best. There isn’t any right or wrong way, they all work. A cabled cast on is one of the simplest. This method does not create a very stretchy edge, so it’s VERY important that you use a larger needle. It is basically a knit stitch which is twisted and placed back on the left needle. See a video on how to do cable cast on. Read about cable cast on.
- When casting on to knit in the round, cast on one more stitch than you need and join with a knit two together.
- Always make your life easier for yourself, and leave at least 4-6 inches whenever you cast on so you can weave in the ends with ease.
- Use whatever you are comfortable with, or experiment with a couple of different methods.
- With worsted weight yarn, a size #8 or #9 needle usually works.
- Don’t forget to provide yourself with a needle that is two sizes larger for the cast on rows
- For a sweater with four parts (front, back and two sleeves) that are knitted separately some people prefer to use long single point needles. Some people prefer to use a circular needle.
- To knit the neck you will need either a 16”circular needle, a set of double pointed needles, or a long circular needle using the Magic Loop method.
- If the sleeves are done in the round, a set of double points can be used, or a long circular used in the Magic Loop method.
- You can learn about the Magic Loop method by watching this video.
- Some people prefer a 1×1 rib (meaning 1 knit, 1 purl) or a 2×2 rib (meaning 2 knits and two purls), feel free to use whatever ribbing you prefer. Or use no rib at all and produce a
- rolled edge with stocking stitch for about an inch.
- If you use a rolled edge be sure to measure correctly: measure from the base of natural rolled up edge, do not uncurl it to measure!
- Most ribs should be a minimum of 2-3 inches long. You can do longer ribs if you like, or do the whole sweater in rib!
- If you are new to knitting in the round you might find it easier to work a couple of rows back and forth before you join into a circle. This provides you with a bit more body of work to help avoid a twisted row when you begin the circular work.
- Many patterns call for a smaller size needle for the ribbibg. This is nice if you have enough needles, but if your stockpile of knitting needles is not extensive, it is perfectly fine to use all one size for the whole sweater.
- If you do the ribbing with a smaller needle is it REALLY easy to forget to change at the end of the ribbing. One way to remind yourself is to stick the new (larger) needle into your work at the end of the row, so it dangles there awkwardly until you finish the row. That should help you remember!
- The body of the sweater can be stockinette stitch, or any pattern you find or invent. Most of the donated sweaters are knit with stockinette stitch because that is faster to knit for most people. Decoration can be fun, and educational. It’s a great way to expand your knitting vocabulary with a smaller project (like a hat or scarf or sweater) or to try a new method we are unsure of. Check out our Decoration section below to see some hints on how to improve your sweaters with some simple decoration ideas.
- As a general rule the length of the sweater (from the underarm to the bottom of a
- Sweater) and the length of the sleeves (from the underarm to the wrist) should be the same. Cuffs can be a bit longer, and then turned up to allow for growth. The body of the sweater should NEVER be longer than the sleeves.
- Sleeve snake – As you knit sleeves, there are increases or decreases at intervals,(depending on if you are doing a top-down or a bottom-up pattern) In order to keep track of these events, Sheila offers this clever idea: “I take a 12 inch piece of contrasting waste yarn and weave it into the sleeve each time I do a decrease or an increase. After I do the increase or decrease I lay the yarn over between one stitch and the next and keep knitting. The end of the contrast yarn will just dangle either on the right or the wrong side of the piece I am knitting. This allows me to count, more easily, how many rows there are between each event and when it is time to do it again. You can also see how many you have done as you reach the end. This works on circular, as well as straight needles, and can be used in places other than a sleeve, I just call it a sleeve snake because I use it most often on sleeves. It hasn’t been knit into any of the stitches, so it is easy to remove when the garment is finished, just pull it out.”
All sweaters can be ribbed, worked with contrasting stripes or bands of seed stitch, worked with odd rows of purls, lace, cables… ANYTHING you can imagine!!
- Stripes are very popular both with the knitters and the children. You can produce stripes in circular knitting without the jog by using this method: Knit one round in the new color. When you get to the second round slip the first stitch. Meaning that you should work the last stitch of the first round (with the new color) then slip the first stitch of the next round (the first stitch of the second round with the new color). Work the other rows like normal, working every stitch. When you sew in the ends you will be able to even up the join exactly by tweaking it a tiny bit. If you are changing colors in your sweater, but will be using the color again soon, carry the old color up the back, and catch it every three or four rows, or sew down the float with an end. You don’t have to cut the color each time you change. Carrying the color a little ways will prevent you from having a huge number of ends to sew in at the end.
- A pretty way of easing into a new color is to work the first row of the new color as knit one, slip one (as if to purl), and repeat across the row.
- Many people like to incorporate stripes or patterns into bands throughout the whole sweater. The top-down sweater pattern makes an intriguing effect if the yoke is knit in a contrasting color.
- We suggest knitters have at least two types of needles on hand. One big, blunt one for sewing up, gathering last stitches, etc. and a smaller sharp one for sewing and weaving in ends, and joining invisibly
There are NO KNOTS in knitting. Please don’t EVER knot your yarn. Knots are ugly, they fall apart over time, can be uncomfortable to the wearer, and are just plain bad knitting! We are so happy to teach you better methods, PLEASE don’t use knots!!! Here are two methods our knitters like a lot.
- Overlay the old and new yarns, and work two stitches with both. Remember to knit it as a single stitch as you come to it in the next row.
- Another method is to split the yarn (both old and new) for about four inches, and overlap half the new and half the old for a couple of stitches (half of each will create a whole to knit with).
There are NO KNOTS in knitting. Please don’t EVER knot your yarn. Knots are ugly, they fall apart over time, can be uncomfortable to the wearer, and are just plain bad knitting! We are so happy to teach you better methods, PLEASE don’t use knots!!!
- Always leave about 4 inches minimum for each yarn end you create in your knitting
- Split the yarn in half and sew in each end by skimming, on the underside of the project where it won’t be seen. Skim by putting your needle through just a few strands of a row of stitches. You can go horizontal, vertical, or diagonal. Better yet do it a couple of different ways!
- Whether you are weaving in ends or sewing pieces together your sewing should be FLAT. You should not ever create a bump.
- Your sewing in should not be noticeable on the right side of the work.
Other Interesting, but not necessarily useful, thing that we can’t help sharing:
- The length from your elbow to your wrist joint is the length of your foot.
Do you have a tip or a trick that would help us knit sweaters? Please, leave a comment and share with us!!