Design Your Own Sweater
Before we begin, two things must be considered:
First, this is probably an overly simplified version of what you should do. It is sort of like being told to buy some boards and build a house.
Second, and the real basis of this concept, a bucket can be filled with anything and it will still be a bucket.

For this example, work with a Crewneck Dropshoulder Pullover with a 26" finished chest. This is an easy pattern because the front and back pieces are just about square, and the sleeves increase smoothly from cuff to shoulder.

  1. Choose your favorite yarn -worsted or chunky would work up quickly. I suggest "mill ends", "no name", or left-overs from other projects. If you don't have enough yarn of one color to do the sweater, you can always stripe! Since this is a test run there is no need to use high quality or fancy yarn. You probably will have to refine this pattern anyway.
  2. Choose a hook suited to the yarn and a hook 1.00 mm or 1.50 mm (1 or 2 sizes) smaller for the ribbing.
  3. Choose a quick, easy pattern stitch. Perhaps single crochet. Or, for a bit of texture -but tricky in the increases- **use back loop for the first sc, front loop for the second sc.* Repeat across the row, chain 1, turn. I call this "Back Loop/Front Loop Single Crochet."
  4. Work with an odd number of stitches in the row, and every row starts and ends with a "Back Loop" stitch.
    • To increase in the Front Loop/Back Loop stitch pattern:
      • In each of the first 2 stitches of the row work 1 back loop and 1 front loop sc; in the last 2 stitches of the row work 1 front loop and 1 back loop sc.
      • If this is not done, the alternating pattern of Back Loop/ Front Loop will not be consistent.
    • To decrease in the Back Loop/Front Loop stitch pattern:
      • Over the first four stitches of the row, work back loop sc2tog then front loop sc2tog; over the last four stitches of the row, work front loop sc2tog then back loop sc2tog.
      • If this is not done, the alternating pattern of Both Loop/ Back Loop will not be consistent.
  5. Next, and really important, do a test swatch in your chosen stitch! For the purpose of this example, I will assume you are doing single crochet for the entire sweater. I assume in Knitting Worsted (20 stitches to 4") your gauge will be 3 stitches to the inch and 4 rows to the inch so the fabric is fairly loose. You must know how many stitches you get in 4 inches or the pattern won't work. The row gauge is not as important because you work until the pieces are long enough. But the stitch gauge is needed -you won't know how many stitches you need if you don't.
  1. Back -Ribbing- With smaller hook, chain 7, work 6 sc (approximately 1.5 inches) in back loop only for 39 rows.(13 inches across the back at 3 stitches to the inch equals 39 stitches). Chain 1, Turn sidewise. Change to larger hook.
  2. Work 1 sc in the end of each row, -39 sc-,(mark this side as 'right side', chain 1, turn.
  3. Work in pattern until back is 14 inches long. Chain 1, Turn.
  4. Neck Shaping:Work in pattern for 13 stitches, chain 1, turn and work a second row. Fasten off.
  5. Join yarn with slip stitch in the 14th stitch from the finished neck shaping, (chain 1, back loop sc) all in same stitch work 12 more stitches in pattern, chain 1, turn and work a second row. Fasten off. There should now be two rows of 13 stitches each for the shoulders and a 13 stitch center section for the neck.
  6. FRONT- follow instructions for BACK for 12 inches, work "neck shaping" instructions until Front matches back in length.
  7. SLEEVES (make 2): Following Back Ribbing instructions, do 24 rows of ribbing.
  8. Add one extra stitch in the first row so there is an odd number of stitches to start.Mark this row as 'right side'.
  9. Increase 2 stitches at beginning and end of every third row until sleeve is 15 inches wide then work even in pattern until total length of sleeve is 12 inches. Fasten off.
  10. Finishing
    Be certain the 'right side' side of each piece faces outward.
    Otherwise the rows will not align properly.
    Its not very noticeable but the sweater will look not quite right.
    • Sew shoulder seams.
    • Matching center of sleeve to shoulder seam, sew on sleeves. If the sleeve is joined in the center at the shoulder seam and sewn both directions, it is easier to get the sleeve aligned properly.
    • Sew side and sleeve seams
    • Neck Ribbing This method makes the ribbing right on the garment. I find it nice looking and easy to do. Since the sweater will be turned back and forth constantly, I put the supply yarn over top of the table lamp so it is always above my work. This way it won't get tangled up as easily.
      • With wrong side of garment facing, (join yarn with slip stitch at shoulder seam, chain 1, sc) all in same space and around entire neck opening. Slip Stitch to beginning Chain 1. Turn.
      • Chain 6, sc in 2nd chain from hook, and in next 4 chain. Slip stitch in next 2 sc of foundation row. DO NOT CHAIN 1. Turn
      • Row 1: Sc in the 5 sc of ribbing. Chain 1, Turn
      • Row 2: Sc in the 5 sc of ribbing and slip stitch in the next 2 sc of the foundation row. DO NOT CHAIN 1. Turn
      • Repeat Row 1 and 2 of neck ribbing all around neck opening.
      • Last Row: Sc in the 5 sc of neck ribbing and slip stitch in last sc of foundation row.
      • Slip stitch ribbing ends together. Fasten off.
      • Weave in loose ends.
From this method and pattern, I have made a baby jacket in 28 stitch yarn, a child's sweater with a puff stitch using 20 stitch yarn, and a sweater using Tunisian Crochet (afghan stitch) in 18 stitch yarn. All different yarns and gauges. And, like I said at the beginning, a bucket filled with anything is still a bucket. So also, a pattern is still a pattern no matter what stitch or yarn is used to fill it.

Still not convinced you can do this?

Take a 9 stitch to 4 inch yarn (Melody) and a 10 mm hook and make a 4 inch square in single crochet. [that's about 9 stitches and 10 or 12 rows(about half an hour's work)]

Now take #10 cotton and a 1.8 mm or 1.9 mm hook and make a 4 inch square in single crochet. [that's about 36 stitches and about 30 rows (and at least 2 hours' work)]

How about Double Crochet using 4 strands of Worsted Weight and a "Q" hook?
That should be about 4 stitches and 3 rows.

To paraphrase my earlier bucket statement: a 4 inch square filled with any stitch is still a 4 inch square.

Return to Top of Page