For knitters, there’s no greater joy than wearing your favorite hand-knitted sweater, knowing that you made it yourself. And if the sweater fits perfectly, looks terrific, and gets you lots of compliments, you feel a special kind of pride.
Up until the last year or so, I stayed away from making my own sweaters. I learned to knit sweaters the “flat” way, making four pieces (front, back, two arms) from the bottom up and stitching the pieces together at the end, putting in a neckline by picking up stitches and hoping I had enough yarn left to finish the project. My necklines never looked professional. My efforts looked amateur.
Then came all those pretty “cake” or “sweet roll” yarns with the lovely colors and inviting rounds rolls begging me to knit something marvelous. I made the big switch to top-down knitting and circular needles. Much to my surprise, I came out with a sweater I wear at least once a week, proudly and confidently that it’s a great looking and fitting garment. (And the sweater’s “done” as soon as I’ve finished knitting – no tedious mattress stitching and few loose ends to tie up.)
This leaves me thinking, “where have top-down knitted sweaters been all my life?” I’m guessing it’s all about the new widespread availability of circular needle sets, along with a plethora of new yarns made for the self-striping colors that make a top-down knitted sweater pop. In any case, I’m so glad I made the switch. I may never buy another store-bought sweater again.
Here’s what I’m using for my top-down sweaters:
Pattern book: The Knitter’s Handy Book of Top-Down Sweatersby Ann Budd. (I’m using the chart for the “Seamless Yoke Sweaters” on page 23.)
Yarn: Caron Cakes (I’ve needed three cakes to make a sweater. You’ll have a good bit left over for a matching scarf.)
Needles: Clover Takumi Circular Needle Set(available online for about half the retail price) I’ve used size 8 needles with the Caron Cake yarn.
Markers: Jill’s Beaded Knit Bits. I love these markers, handmade and sold by the artisan online. You’ll need at least one marker for yoke sweaters, a set for raglan designs. Jill also carries row counters and other useful jeweled tools.
Happy Sweater Knitting!
Feel free to comment if you have projects to show off or tips for new knitters!