Scared of Sweaters

Or anything that isn’t a rectangle, really. I want so badly to expand my horizons into things that aren’t scarves, afghans, or hats. I saw another poster looking to knit a sweater and I think a top down sweater does sound easiest especially since I’ve never sewn anything together in my life.

Opinions, advice, tips, tricks, or links to patterns would be well appreciated. Thanks in advance!!

Sweaters are not as intimidating as they seem. Three years ago I locked myself into the trailer up north for a couple of months and I knit 10 sweaters and a lace baby dress. I started in July and I was finished for Christmas. Just follow the pattern. Start with an easy sweater and I suggesst you start with a baby sweater. This will give you an idea of what pieces you need to put together a sweater and how to sew them together. Use mattress stitch to sew the pieces together. Give it a try. It’s not really that hard. MAKE SURE you pick an easy pattern the first time and you will have no problems.

I’m with you. I want to knit a sweater but it scares me. I went out and bought some yarn to make a sweater but I don’t have a pattern and when I read patterns they sound really hard. I thought about the top down thing too but am still looking for a pattern.

I just began my first [I]ever[/I] sweater today. I checked out Yarn Girls Guide to Knits for Older Kids from my library a couple of weeks ago and have been reading through it. The instructions for the first sweater in there - a pullover with curling edges since it’s St st the whole way through, and knit with super bulky yarn on size 17 needles - seemed simple enough, so I thought I would give it a try. It’s for my 7-year-old DD.

I have just completed the first rectangle part and it’s time to begin shaping the armholes. I took a break to check my email, etc. on my computer. The instructions are, IMHO, super-easy to follow and I can’t wait to complete it.

I say dive right in and give it a try – I have a feeling that after this one, as it seems so simple, I will be wanting to do knit more and more …

My advice is to find a sweater that you really want to knit and that has instructions/pattern that you think are written so that [I]you [/I]can follow them. That’s one of the things I like about the Yarn Girls books - they make sense to [I]my[/I] brain :knitting:


ETA: it helped me to not be intimidated to think about sewing, and that knitting a sweater (at least this kind that I am working on right now) is simply making all the pieces (the front fabric, back fabric and sleeves) and then sewing them together.

I was afraid to make a sweater too, but one of my friends told me about the “Knitting Pure and Simple” patterns, they are top down. I did the weekend pullover (in a lot longer than a weekend :teehee: ) and it was very easy. The hardest part for me was picking up the stitches for the sleeves – but it really wasn’t that bad once I tried it. Good luck!!

You can knit rectangles, then you can knit a sweater. Knit 2 large ones for the front and back, and 2 narrow one for sleeves. Sew together. See, that wasn’t so hard…

Hi knitpurlgirl! Oh Don’t be afraid of sweaters! If I can do it, you can do it. I’ve taught myself too, well, with books and this site.
You’ll always get help when you get to the part that’s hard (like doing the seams up, which isn’t that hard after all)

I made my first cardigan recently… I altered it from a fancy red version with a fur collar to a plain natural wool one and it was really easy… It even has a seed stitch border on the bottom and sleeves.
Here’s a pic wo the buttons sew on yet. I love this simple little thing.
You can do it!

OK, so where do you get the “Knitting Pure and Simple” patterns? I went to their website - they don’t sell them, they’re “available at these yarn shops” (where they give you a listing state by state). Needless to say, none are anywhere close to me, half of the websites don’t list the KP&S patterns, and I haven’t found any that do any shipping. Is it a book, or is it a bunch of individual patterns? Maybe I’m cheap, but there were a couple of places on the 'net that I saw them but they were like $5…is that for just one design? If I want a crew neck, a v-neck, and a cardigan, do I have to spend $15? Somewhere there’s got to be an entire book of top-down sweaters I could get for just a tad more than $15!

I would say yes, just dive right in. My first sweater was a top down, Pure and Simple. Loved it.
At least if you run into problems you can back up and redo, so find an easy one and go for it.

I too have been intimidated by sweaters. I found a book called The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns, which has basic patterns of all kinds (vests, sweaters, mittens, etc.) I’ve finished the back and am now working on the front, and I hope I can sew the pieces together when I’m done. Give it a try–maybe we can finish one together!

I am half way through (1 sleeve done, and the body to about 3" below my underarms) on my first top down raglan sweater. I used the free pattern from The Knitting Fool It is going very well and was much easier than I though it would be. If you can do simple increases and decreases, knit, purl and ribbing, you are all set. I decided to do it in simple st st with 2x2 ribbing so that I could concentrate on learning the method and not worry about patterns, etc. I started at the neck and increased as directed - tried it on and it fit perfectly in the chest/shoulders, but the increases went on for way too long and it was too wide in the body - just frogged back to where I thought the underarms should have been (literally looked in the mirror and stuck a pin in the knitting where I thought I should have stopped increasing) and reknit from that point in the pattern - it fits perfectly! I would recommend a worsted weight yarn so it isn’t too big and chunky, but won’t take forever either. I used Plymouth Encore as I knew it was a “study” yarn that would handle any frogging, etc., I may need to do as I learned.

I have knit a sleeveless seamed sweater in the past (was actually my very first project - what did I know LOL) and that was a lot easier than I would have thought as well. Don’t let yourself be intimidated by it, just pick a pattern that is fairly simple and take it one row at a time. You’ll be surprised how much you know, and where you need help there is plenty to find right here on this site!

Good luck - and keep it fun!

I just did my first sweater and it was really big and thick and chunky (was SUPPOSED to be! :slight_smile: ) and it took NO time at all and it was so encouraging to me to be able to do more! There’s a pic in the Whatcha knitting forum. It wiped out any fears I had about sweaters. Just jump in!

There is a book - Knitting from the Top Down, by Barbara Walker - but it’s more of a design theory book than a stitch by stitch pattern book. However, it gives good instructions for making top down sweaters. A lot of libraries have it, so you can see if you can get one through your local one.

I’ve only knit one sweater, and have just started on my second, so I don’t have a lot of sweater experience. I CAN, however, tell you something I learned that hopefully will help you a little.
Before I started my first sweater, I went through all my magazines, trying to find something that would be pretty, but also easy enough for a beginner. But, while reading the patterns, I would get that same feeling that you discribe. The feeling of being overwhelmed by so many instructions. If I understand you correctly, that’s the feeling that’s holding you back for trying the sweater. My advice would be to find a sweater you like, and just punge in. That’s finally what I did, and I learned that when you follow each pattern instuction, one step at a time, as you get to it, it’s not complicated at all. As Ingrid’s signature says, “Trust the pattern.”

Anyway, I know you can do it. Just don’t think of all the instructions at once. After all, you can only do one little step at a time.

Yep, good advice. Knitting is done one stitch at a time.

My first sweater was for a teddy bear! I figured if I really messed up it wouldn’t be that big of a loss. It was great practice and I gained the confidence to make a sweater for a person. My second sweater was for my SIL it was the Hourglass Sweater from Last Minute gifts. It was a really great ‘first’ sweater. I got the book from my library.

I’m working on my first sweater right now. I’m working on Tubey from, and it’s fairly easy. I’ve had to make a few modifications to it. I had to add shortrows to the bust and I had to modify the size of the neck opening a bit because it runs large. If you feel confident enough, this is a good first sweater and the pattern, I’m finding, is very easy to modify to fit you. Since it’s top down, you can also try it on as you go (which is why I’m knitting it on 2 circs, so I can try it on as I go). Here’s a picture of mine. :slight_smile:


This is going so well, I can’t wait to try another sweater. I have a couple in mind I want to do after this one. :slight_smile:

My first knitted sweater was for my DGD, and just finished another for her for Christmas. Kids sweaters are good to start on because they don’t take forever.

The book I’m working from is [I]Top Down for Toddlers[/I]
from the Cabin Fever sisters Deb and Lynda Gemmel. There is almost no sewing, and certainly no setting in sleeves or anything like that. I plan on starting with the pullover and going on to the cardigan. If I live long enough, may work my way through the whole book!

The yarns listed are still available, which I find encouraging. If you don’t want the whole book, most LYS’s sell these patterns one at at time.

Anyway, jump in and have fun, there is plenty of help to be had here and at your LYS.