Saturday, December 13, 2008

How to Make a Sweater from Scratch

First, purchase six skeins of a yarn that's cursed with the insidious, unbearable, name "Softee." Purchase it because it is $2/skein at Michael's. Think, "I will make a prayer shawl out of this." Any chunky yarn will actually do. It doesn't have to have a title that makes you want to hack off your head with a rusty saw.

Cast on 62 stitches on size 9 needles. Begin knitting a ribbed pattern, knit 2 purl 2 etc, for ten rows.

Begin faux cabling, using a very fancy sneaky non-cabley cable recipe that you learned by creepily staring at Colyn while she was knitting. If you don't know Colyn, you can spookily leer at any knitter who's doing a stitch you admire. If they look at you suspiciously, compliment their glasses. That always works.

Cable for a while.

You should at some point in the first 30 rows gasp and realize that due to the scrunched-upness of the cabling and ribbing, this prayer shawl will be only wide enough to wrap up some kind of sad terrier.


Decide that what it really was all along was the front of a sweater for your four-year-old daughter.


After you've knit until the bottom of the sweater comes to your daughter's hips when the top of the sweater is at her armpits, cast off 5 on both sides and switch to your second color.

Continue until the top of the white is at your daughter's neck when the bottom is at her armpit, then cast off all but three repeats of the cabling thingy, and continue making a little asymmetrical tab thingy on *one side of the sweater only.*

Make a duplicate for the back. Now when you put these two things together, the little tab thingy will be on opposite sides, will form a shoulder, and you can stitch them together. See, this is the shape:

After you've got two of those thingies and you've put them together at the sides and shoulder, it's time to start panicking about the sleeves. Make a complicated plan. Confuse yourself. Live for days in inner turmoil.

This is a good time to hang out with some experienced and intelligent knitters. You might want to clutch at your head periodically and loudly say, "I DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M GOING TO DO ABOUT THESE SLEEVES! MY MY!" Hopefully someone will stop you from knitting and tearing out mysteriously shaped sleeve pieces which you intend to set in, and say, "Just pick up the stitches around the arm hole." In my case it was Deva.

Pick up the stitches around the armhole on size 6 double pointed needles. Celebrate! Rejoice! For me it was about 40 stitches. Continue knitting stockinette in the round until when you put the garment on your daughter she says it is almost the right length. Then switch to ribbing for 10 rows.

Do the other sleeve.

Put the sweater on your daughter. She will say that it needs something. Something like pink flowers.

Decide that pink flowers can be stapled onto the front of the sweater like an afterthought. Crochet some little flowers in a similar yarn. Sew them onto the front of the sweater with the flower color yarn -- I recommend sewing down all the petals.

Now pick up the stitches around the neck and knit some ribbing until your daughter proclaims "IT'S CHOKING ME!" Tear out a couple of rows, and cast off.

You're done!

Disclaimer: I am an idiot who has no idea how to make a sweater. I was helped along by extremely generous and smart knitters who saved me from making stupid mistakes. Your mileage may vary!


  1. I'm not sure which is more cute, the story or the sweater. You did a great job, though. And, of course, your daughter looks lovely. Especially since there's a pink flower on it. BTW, I made my son's first sweater out of that exact same yarn. He's outgrown it now, but he loved it!

  2. Anonymous12:25 PM

    It's a very nice sweater, but Sadie is spectacular. She's going to be a great beauty. Right now that child is beautiful beyond belief.

  3. Thanks Catherine!

    I really like the yarn ,how it feels on the sleeves, but I wish now that I had a tighter whatever on the body of the sweater. It really stretches up around the shoulders and neck. I actually learned *why* people use smaller needles with chunky yarn while making this sweater.

    Anonymous, I must say I have to agree. :) Now how about making her a smocked dress!

  4. Great article post. This is very nice article or i like it because its informative. I really appreciated this :)