How do you knit a sweater?

Knitting your first sweater is one of the big milestones every knitter wants to achieve and with this guide, we breakdown all the steps of how to knit a sweater to show you that even a beginner can knit a jumper! Here are the basic skills you need, some good patterns to try, and details to get you started.

Essential Skills for Knitting a Sweater

Before you knit a sweater, there are a few knitting basics you should have under your belt. Make sure you’re comfortable with casting on as well as working both purl and knit stitches.

While sweater patterns vary in the stitch techniques they use, most work in rib at the top and bottom of a jumper to bring stretch to the shape. To create shapes around the arms and neck you will also need to know how to cast off in the middle of your work as well as finishing your project. Depending on whether your sweater is knit top-down or bottom-up, you’ll need to know the basics of increasing and decreasing.

You should be comfortable with reading a basic knitting pattern and deciphering knitting abbreviations.

With these skilled mastered, you are ready to give a sweater a go!

Choose the perfect beginner sweater pattern

Once you’ve decided to dip your toe into the wonderful world of garment knitting, the first thing you need to do is find a sweater knitting pattern. Choose a pattern that is suited to your ability – begin with something simple, with perhaps a boat neck or crew neck, some easy ribbing and lots of garter stitch or simple stockinette.

If you’re a little nervous about knitting an adult-sized sweater, you can always start by knitting for a baby or child. Little sweaters contain all the same skills as bigger ones, but they’ll finish faster, giving you more confidence in a shorter period of time.

Chunky yarns make a project go faster and the stitches are easier to count and see, so they are a good choice for beginners.

Choose yarn and needles

What fibre are you going to use? Merino wool or maybe an acrylic blend? Make sure to check you have the right yarn weight for your pattern before you start! A smooth, ordinary wool yarn is great for a first project. It’s easy to knit with, and allows you to see what you’re doing, and learn from mistakes. Your pattern will also let you know exactly how many grams or yards you will need for your jumper.

If you look at the yarn label, it will have a recommended needle size (look for an icon of two crossed knitting needles, with a number under it). Stay away from anything smaller than US size 8 needles (5mm) if you don’t want it to take you forever to knit. US size 10 1/2 needles (6.5mm) will cruise through an average ball of yarn at a very satisfying rate.

Gauge and tension

You will notice in your sweater knitting pattern there is a section about gauge or tension. This is how the size of the sweater is measured against the size of needle you use and how tightly or loosely you knit. As a beginner knitter, checking your gauge can help make sure the size and outcome is as you would like. The best way to identify your own personal tension is to knit a swatch – taking the time to check this before you start is definitely worth it!

Finishing Matters

Once you’ve taken all the time needed to get gauge and knit all the pieces your sweater requires, take a little more time to sew your seams properly. Mattress stitch is essential for sewing side seams, while a horizontal seam works to join bound off stitches together, such as shoulder seams. The right finishing can make all the difference in having a sweater you’re proud to wear versus one that lives in the back of the closet.


Post time: Jun-23-2022