Well, it may be 90 degrees and humid here in central Wisconsin, but now is the perfect time to start planning your upcoming sweater projects for this fall! Here at Unwound, we're itching for the weather to turn so we can wear our cozy knitted gear. If you cast on now, you'll have a lovely garment ready for apple season!
Sweaters are a great project for anyone from beginner to expert - there are so many options out there, we can guarantee there is a sweater out there for anyone! Whether you want to take it easy with a relaxing project, or stretch your knitting skills with something spicy, there's a sweater for you! Below, we'll feature a few pattern ideas for different experience levels and also list some tips and tricks for deciding on your next sweater.
Beginner Sweater Patterns
One of our favorite designers for beginner-friendly patterns is Tin Can Knits. They create well-written patterns for classic sweaters that are sure to be wardrobe staples. Their sizing ranges from newborn all the way to adult 4XL, so these are patterns you can use over and over. Check out their worsted weight pullover called Flax, or the cardigan Harvest. Either of these would be suitable as a "first sweater" project! And best of all, they're both free patterns!
Adventurous Sweater Patterns
This Slinky Ribs pattern by Wendy Bernard is one of my favorites for learning the incredibly versatile "top-down, set-in sleeves" sweater construction. When you make a sweater this way, you can try it on as you go and make sure everything fits, rather than knitting the whole body before you realize you don't care for the extra fabric. Wendy also shows you how you can modify patterns with this construction so that they fit you exactly how you envisioned. Her book Custom Knits provides an excellent guide for getting your toe into the designing waters. The books is accessible for beginners, and full of great options for more experienced knitters, too.
Spicy Sweater Patterns
The Hitofude sweater by designer Hiroko Fukatsu has a really interesting construction that keeps you focused for the whole knit. This is one where you just have to trust the pattern. This lacy cardigan can be made with only two or three skeins of sock yarn. It works best with solid or lightly tonal color, which allows the lace to stand on its own. It is a great, lightweight option for those in-between seasons. Especially here in Wisconsin, where we experience all four seasons in the span of two weeks. ;)
Tips and Tricks for Picking out a Sweater Pattern
Make sure you have enough yarn! In fact, make sure you have plenty extra just in case. You never know when a yarn will be discontinued and suddenly become impossible to find again.
If you think you might be cutting it close to not having enough yarn, consider making a contrasting color hem, button band, cuff, collar, or other details. Other yarn-saving ideas are to add stripes, make it short sleeved instead of long-sleeved, or shorten the body. Obviously, these methods work better for some designs than other, but they can be life-saving if your cat happens to chew up your last skein of that gorgeous hand-dyed yarn. Not that I'd know.
When choosing a pattern on Ravelry, make sure to pick one that has quite a few projects already. That way, you know other people have successfully made that pattern - it is tried and true. There will be people who can help you if you get stuck.
Look at the body type of the model wearing the sweater. If they have a similar body shape to you and it is flattering on them, it will likely be flattering on you! However, if the model is a different body type than you, consider scrolling through the Ravelry projects for that sweater to see if anyone similar to you has made it. Photos from real knitters can sometimes be much more telling than the staged project photos on the front page.
What are some of your favorite sweater patterns? We're always looking for new ones to add to our queue!