Seamless Knit Sweaters in 2 Weeks: 20 Patterns for Flawless Cardigans, Pullovers, Tees and More

Seamless Knit Sweaters in 2 Weeks: 20 Patterns for Flawless Cardigans, Pullovers, Tees and More

by Marie Greene

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781624147401
Publisher: Page Street Publishing
Publication date: 02/19/2019
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 49,780
Product dimensions: 7.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Marie Greene is an independent knitwear designer whose patterns have been featured by The Fibre Co., Skacel Collection, Making Stories and Laine magazine. She teaches classes at yarn shops and fiber festivals worldwide. Her patterns are available online at OliveKnits.com. Marie lives in Salem, Oregon with her husband and three sons.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

The Strategy of a Seamless Sweater

GAUGE SWATCHING, FINDING YOUR FIT AND DETERMINING YOUR KNITTING SPEED

The sweaters in this book are designed to be knit in a single piece, without seams. Unlike many traditional sweaters which are knit in four parts — with the front, back and two sleeves worked separately and stitched together at the end — all four components of these sweaters are worked together at once. Specific construction details are highlighted at the beginning of each pattern, but the general approach for a seamless sweater, especially one worked top-down, is that the pieces are formed in unison through a series of increases as you work across each right-side row — or every other row, if working the sweater in the round. Markers separate the front, sleeves and back sections, and increases are worked strategically around the markers.

Knitting a seamless sweater accomplishes three things at once: you create the basic fabric, the shape of the fabric and the construction of the final garment. This process naturally cuts out many of the extra steps that can slow down a sweater project. The sweaters in this collection, with the exception of the Archipelago Cocoon Wrap, begin at the neckline and the body is formed from the neckline down. Read through the pattern before you begin to familiarize yourself with stitch patterns, transitions and shaping that will happen along the way.

I love seamless sweaters something fierce, but they are only as good as the strategies behind their design. Seamless sweaters naturally lack seams which would otherwise provide structure to the garment, and we must employ other techniques to compensate. I do this in the following ways:

• A stable cast-on edge: I use the cable cast-on most often because it adds structure to the top edge, which bears much of the weight of the garment.

• Stitch patterns that anchor the yoke: See, for example, the patterning on the Shoreline Textured Cardigan.

• Clever shaping around the shoulders and neckline: You'll see this used in sweaters throughout the book, such as the Offshore Eyelet Cardigan, Landmark Cowl-Neck Pullover and Sandscape Slipped-Stitch Pullover, which feature mock-saddle shaping that hugs the shoulders.

• Working the ribbing and trim after the fact, rather than inserting them as you go: This technique provides added stability, as well.

YARN MATTERS

Regardless of construction techniques, a sweater that fits well and stays in place depends on having the right yarn for the job. In seamless sweaters especially, yarn choice is part of the strategy of a good fit. The recommended yarn was chosen for the way it works with the other elements of the design; substutitions may affect the fit, drape, stitch definition and longevity of a design, so it pays to select carefully.

Consider the Fiber Family

If you're unable to use the recommended yarn, it's important to know how to properly consider your alternatives. First, look for yarn in the same general fiber family as what the pattern suggests. If the pattern calls for 100 percent lamb's wool yarn, consider the characteristics of this yarn when choosing an alternative. Lamb's wool, while not soft, will generally hide flaws while showing stitch definition. The fabric will maintain its shape and body, even in stockinette stitch, and won't be prone to excess growth.

Ask yourself:

• Will this yarn have similar drape and sheen?

• Will this yarn enhance or interfere with stitch definition?

• Will this yarn hold up to blocking and gravity for the way this garment is meant to be worn?

Superwash or Not Superwash, That is the Question

Before you substitute a superwash yarn in a design that calls for a non-superwash yarn, or vice versa, consider the design details and what modifications may need to be made to compensate for fiber differences. Substitutions can significantly alter the fit and wearability of your sweater, so it pays to be thoughtful.

Tips to Remember

Superwash yarn will almost always grow several inches, especially in length, beyond non-superwash yarns. You will see this immediately when it comes time to block your sweater. Keep this in mind before modifying your sweater length; it can be a nasty surprise when the sweater grows 4 or 5 inches (10 or 13 cm) unexpectedly. If the pattern was written specifically for a superwash yarn, this growth will already be anticipated in the design. On the other hand, a design that anticipates growth because it's written specifically for a superwash yarn may require you to add length in order to get the same results from a regular, non-superwash wool.

Yarn differences can magnify design details. For example, eyelets or lace patterning naturally lend themselves to growth. If you pair a lace pattern with a superwash yarn, the growth will be enhanced. However, a design with cables and slipped-stitch texture can help the stitches maintain their shape, and may counteract the growth you would normally see in a superwash yarn.

A PROPER GAUGE SWATCH

A gorgeous sweater — that fits — begins with a swatch. This important first step creates a map of the results you can expect from your finished sweater. It provides clues about your tension, yarn behavior, stitch definition and the future fit of your garment. It's the only way to know ahead of time if the yarn and needle combination you've selected will work with your unique knitting style to get the results that the pattern promises. Every knitter is different — even using the suggested yarn and needle size doesn't mean your results will be exactly the same. Variations in your stitch gauge — even by as little as one or two stitches within your swatch — can affect the final fit.

Gauge information in a pattern generally looks something like this:

20 STITCHES AND 24 ROWS OVER 4" (10 CM)

This example gives us both stitch gauge and row gauge. Both are important to the final fit.

Stitch Gauge

Per our example, if you have 20 whole stitches in a 4" (10 cm) blocked swatch, your finished sweater should match the measurements provided in the pattern schematic. For example, if the total number of stitches at the bust is 200, then at a gauge of 20 stitches in 4" (10 cm) — or 5 st per 1" (2.5 cm) — the resulting bust measurement would be 40" (100 cm). The number of stitches at the bust (200) divided by the stitches per inch (2.5 cm) (5) = final bust measurement of 40" (100 cm).

"Close" Isn't Really Close

I can't tell you how often I've heard a knitter say that the gauge was "close," only to express frustration that the finished sweater doesn't fit. The slight difference of a stitch or two in the gauge swatch seems irrelevant, but when magnified across the full body of your sweater, it can make a big difference. Let's talk about how close "close" really isn't.

Using the previous example of 20 stitches in 4" (10 cm) as our baseline, if you have 22 stitches instead, your resulting fit (for 200 stitches at the bust) would be 36" (91 cm) vs. the expected 40" (100 cm). It's a noticeable difference caused by just two extra stitches in a 4" (10 cm) space.

On the other hand, if you have two fewer stitches over 4" (10 cm), your results will vary in the opposite direction. For example, using this same baseline, if you have 18 stitches over 4" (10 cm) instead of 20 stitches, the resulting measurement would be approximately 44" (111 cm). When you're expecting a sweater with a fit of 40" (100 cm), being "off" by just two stitches in either direction can mean a sweater that fits two sizes smaller or larger than you anticipated. If you want the right results, it's important to make every effort to ensure that your gauge is accurate.

Measure the Interior — Not the Edges — of Your Swatch

Speaking of accuracy, to ensure that you are able to measure full, complete stitches for your swatch, it is important to knit your swatch piece slightly wider and longer than the area you will be measuring for gauge. For example, if the recommended gauge should be 20 stitches and 24 rows, cast on 24–26 stitches and knit closer to 30 rows before binding off. This ensures that you will be able to measure a full 4" (10 cm) over the interior of the swatch — away from the edges. Since the edge stitches are not full, complete stitches (or rows), they should not be included in your measurement.

Don't Forget Row Gauge

I used to be a "knit first, ask questions later" kind of knitter. Maybe you can relate? Not only was I haphazard (at best) about stitch gauge, but row gauge never crossed my radar. I had no idea it was important, and it was only once I began to design sweaters that it occurred to me just how important row gauge really was — especially when you're knitting a garment top-down.

Two Reasons to Check Your Row Gauge

First, unlike pieced sweaters, which are generally knit to a specified measurement, the upper body of a top-down, seamless sweater is knit to a specified number of rows. Because of this, if you have too many or too few rows in your gauge, then the measurement from the top of your shoulder to the underarm will vary from what the pattern indicates. This measurement is the one that's most affected by a row gauge issue, and it can make for a less comfortable fit.

Second, row gauge affects yarn consumption. If you find that you often run short on yarn, consider your row gauge as a possible culprit. Having more rows in your 4" (10 cm) swatch means significantly more rows in the sweater overall. While most patterns — mine included — estimate yardage a little higher to account for slight variations, you may still run into trouble if your row gauge is not accurate.

SIZE & FIT

If there was one standard size that worked for everyone, making our own garments would be boring. Half the fun of creating a sweater for yourself is being able to decide how you want it to fit. But in order to get the results you expect, it's important to know about sizing and ease, and how to apply your own measurements to get the fit you want. There's nothing more frustrating than to pour your knitting hopes and dreams into a sweater, only to be left with a garment that doesn't fit. I want you to love your sweater.

Know Your Measurements

Before selecting a sweater size, start by figuring out what size YOU are. You'll need three primary measurements right away:

• Your full bust measurement

• Your upper bust measurement

• Your arm circumference at the widest point

Let's Get Your Measurements!

• Wearing a bra and a t-shirt or tank top, take a measuring tape and wrap it around your back, bringing it to the front so that it meets right at the midpoint of your bust. Make sure the measuring tape is horizontally even all the way around and doesn't sag down in the back as you measure — and don't pull too tight. This is your full bust measurement.

• For your upper bust measurement, take the measuring tape and wrap it around your back and over the upper part of your bust. This may be several inches above the midpoint of your bust and should rest comfortably atop. This measurement will usually be smaller than your full bust measurement.

• Next, wrap the measuring tape around your bicep and check your arm circumference. You want the measurement of the widest part of your arm so you can compare it to the widest part of the sleeve.

WHAT SIZE SHOULD I MAKE?

There is a difference between the "size" and the "finished measurements" of a pattern, and this difference will provide insight into the way the garment should fit. When you select a sweater off the rack at your favorite department store, you will likely have a selection in a range of sizes XS through XXL or beyond. If you were to choose two different sweaters, both size L, you would likely notice differences in the measurements from one to the other. Just because it is the same "size" doesn't mean the measurements will be exactly the same. Some sweaters are meant to fit loosely, some are meant to hug the body and others fall somewhere in between. In one brand we can wear a medium (M), but in another brand we might be a large (L). Sizing differences vary from pattern to pattern, designer to designer and decade to decade based on fashion trends.

Size

The size, as listed on a sweater label (or in our case, the pattern description) is meant to convey which bust sizes the sweater is intended to fit. Within this book, you'll see these sizes referred to in ranges that look like this: 30/32" (34/36, 38/40, 42/44, 46/48, 50/52) (76/81 cm [86/91, 97/102, 107/112, 117/122, 127/132]). When you read the word "size" within the pattern or anywhere within this book, this is the set of numbers being referred to. The first step in choosing your size is to determine where your actual bust measurement falls within the size ranges offered. For example, if your full bust measurement (at the widest point) is 31" (78.7 cm), begin by taking a closer look at the finished measurements for size 30/32 and go from there.

Finished Measurements

A sweater is meant to have a specific fit based on the designer's vision. While the size tells you which bust measurements the sweater is designed to fit, the finished measurements are the actual results you will get when the sweater is complete. The difference between these two sets of numbers equals how much ease the sweater will have when you are finished.

Ease

Ease is the word used to describe the fit of a garment in relation to your body. It indicates whether a garment will be baggy, tight or somewhere in between. The sweaters in this book are written to fit with positive ease. But since our bodies rarely fit into a cookie-cutter mold, and personal tastes vary, you can adjust your fit by selecting a different size for a fit with more or less ease. The finished measurements and the ease associated with them are contingent on getting the correct gauge as stated in the pattern. It's worth noting that ease is also contingent on choosing the correct size in the first place. The type of ease and how much of it is included can be a tricky business, because it varies from pattern to pattern; knitting the same size from one design to the next doesn't necessarily mean the fit will be the same.

Positive ease is the average default for most sweater patterns. It means knitting a garment with finished measurements that are larger than the measurements of your body, usually by several inches. For example, if you have a 32" (81 cm) bust and you knit a sweater with 3" (7.6 cm) positive ease, the resulting piece will measure 35" (89 cm) at the bust. Positive ease is the comfort zone for many knitters, and it's how most sweaters are designed. Approximately 2–3" (5–7.6 cm) of positive ease is a good baseline, and it gives most of us the wiggle room we need to feel comfortable in our clothes and have freedom of movement. Positive ease allows for a little fluctuation in our size, too, which never hurts. Please note: There is such a thing as too much positive ease, so remember that less is sometimes more. Too much extra ease becomes oversized and sloppy. If this isn't the look you're going for, be careful about how much extra ease you allow.

Because positive ease is already included in the designs throughout this book, it is not necessary to go up to a larger size. If you're at the lower end of the size range, you may prefer a size smaller.

Negative ease means you'll have a finished sweater that measures smaller than the measurements of your body — usually in the bust, with the corresponding fit in the arms being proportional. If you'd like to accentuate small shoulders/waist and a curvy bust, negative ease might give you the results you want, but it's less common and not for everyone.

Zero ease means that the bust of your garment is equal to the measurements of your body. Zero ease works well when a close fit is desired — but not as snug as negative ease. It is especially nice for lightweight cardigans that are meant to be worn over a sundress or sleeveless shirt. For those with curvy figures and small waists, zero ease (or even negative ease) can be a flattering style.

Different Ease = Different Style

Some designs are meant to be worn loose, some are meant to be fitted; styles vary, and so do personal preferences. The benefit of knitting your own sweaters is that you get to decide the fit you want. The intended ease helps to standardize a pattern so that it will have enough room to fit comfortably for most knitters, but it's your job to choose the size that works best for the fit you like.

Pick a Size, Any Size

When you have determined your bust measurement and arm circumference, verify that your gauge is accurate. It can't be said enough: gauge is crucial. Now, it's time to pick a size. If you're in between sizes or at the lower end of the stated size range, the positive ease will often allow you to knit the smaller size. If you have narrow shoulders and smaller arms but a large bust, consider choosing a size midway between your upper bust measurement and your full bust measurement. For example, my full bust measures 38 inches [97 cm] and my upper bust measures 34 inches [86 cm], so I can often get away with knitting a size 36. It depends on whether I want a more tailored fit or a roomy fit. Always compare your body measurements with the finished measurements of the sweater — both the bust and arm — to verify that this is the right option for you. Rarely will you need to knit a larger sweater than the recommended size, unless you need to accommodate a larger arm circumference.

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "Seamless Knit Sweaters in 2 Weeks"
by .
Copyright © 2019 Marie Greene.
Excerpted by permission of Page Street Publishing Co..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Four Days and a Finished Sweater 8

The Strategy of a Seamless Sweater: Gauge Swatching, Finding Your Fit and Determining Your Knitting Speed 11

Long-Weekend Knits: Relaxing Repetition & Breezy Details 19

Landmark Cowl-Neck Pullover 21

Cobble Beach Dotted Tee 27

Archipelago Cocoon Wrap 33

Shelter Cove V-Neck Pullover 38

High Tide Cable Tee 45

Staycation Knits: Hints of Texture & Graphic Features 51

Meridian Striped Pullover 53

Seaside Pleated Cardigan 58

Abbey Pier Eyelet Pullover 65

Stowaway Chevron Pullover 72

Tidepool Baby Doll Tee 79

Vacation Knits Mindless & Trade-Friendly Projects 87

Pebble Bay Simple Pullover 89

Blue Heron Drop-Stitch Tee 94

Newport Classic Turtleneck 101

Offshore Eyelet Cardigan 107

Cape Creek Minimalist Pullover 115

Binge Knits: Rich Texture & Vibrant Detail

Shoreline Textured Cardigan 123

Sandscape Slipped-Stitch Pullover 129

Bayside Garter Lace Pullover 137

North Channel Collared Cardigan 144

Riverbank Cropped Pullover 151

Basic Techniques: Tools for Sweater Success 159

Resources 165

Acknowledgments 167

About the Author 169

Index 171

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