Sweater pattern using cheap yarn

I’m looking for a women’s sweater pattern that I can make using some really cheap acrylic worsted weight yarn that I picked up at Michael’s for .75 a ball. I am still kind of knew to making clothing so I don’t want to spend a ton of money on yarn yet. Most patterns I like call for really nice yarn and I am not so good with gauge yet so if I don’t have to change anything about the pattern, I would rather not.


I tried to post a reply a couple of minutes ago and something went wrong and I don’t see it, so if I am answering twice please forgive me.

Anyway, I am the cheapest person I know and I’ve also made lots of sweaters. Here is what I would suggest:

  1. See if the yarn you bought has a website. For example, if it’s Lion Brand or something, they have a website with free patterns. I think others do as well.
  2. Go back to Michael’s and up in the front of the store by the registers there is usually a rack with lots of free patterns that are compatible with the yarn they sell there. They also have those free patterns hanging by the yarn on the shelves, too. The same thing is done at Wal-Mart, I believe.
  3. Otherwise, search for a pattern that requires worsted weight yarn with characteristics similar to the yarn you purchased, ignoring the brand. Starting with a gauge swatch would be the best idea, but if you don’t want to do one you could just throw caution to the wind and start knitting.

Lydia, do you like that yarn? I just ask, because a sweater is an involved project that takes a while. You really end up putting your heart into that kind of project, and it’s tragic if the yarn ends up limiting how much you like it in the end.

I know you don’t want to spend much money, but there are nicer affordable yarns than cheap acrylic. If you are excited about the yarn, then GREAT, you got a steal! If not, you should check out the selection on the thread I just posted, where you can knit a wool sweater for $15-$30 (www.knitpicks.com). There’s also a link on that thread to the review of their yarns at knittersreview.com.


I agree that a sweater takes a lot of work and good yarn feels, washes, and knits better (usually…) But I can also understand that you want to start w/o making a big investment to see if you like it. Worst comes to worst, it goes to the Salvation Army!

I think the important thing first is to see what kind of needles the yarn recommends, and how many stitches to the inch and rows to the inch they say you will get. Test it yourself, b/c it doesn’t always play to the script. That’s called a “swatch” and you can see how your own personal knitting ends up. That’s called your “gauge”. So you now know, in whatever stitch you chose to make your stitches in (that’s important too, b/c when you try a different type of stitch, you may end up with a different gauge) that you’ll be looking for a sweater with that gauge. If you’re a die-hard, you may even want to wash and block your swatch to see if it changes in size. They say that testing gauge is the most important step before starting a project. You can use bigger needles to get a bigger gauge or smaller needles to get a finer gauge, but usually yarn is what it is and you can’t make it do what it ain’t supposed to.

Then there are many wonderful compendiums (compendia?) of free patterns on the net. You might want to start off with http://www.knittingpatterncentral.com/list_new_patts.php. Poke around to find something that a) you like b) is close to your gauge and c) is relatively uncomplicated, like a sleeveless shell.

Then go to it, and come back here and ask questions! Good luck!