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Knitting Your First Sweater

This week we’re talking you through knitting your first sweater. We start right from the beginning linking you through to some great tutorials to make it as easy as possible.

Are You Ready?

If you can cast on, cast off, knit and purl then you’re ready. It’s that easy! 

If you want your first sweater to have colourwork or cables or anything fancy then I’d still say go for it! If you’re not sure about your skill level then knit a swatch for some practice. I learnt some of these things at knit nights (it’s so much easier with other knitters around). 

Pick A Good Pattern

This may be the best thing you can do to set yourself up for sweater success. 

Patterns on Ravelry (especially free patterns) vary in quality. They might not have been edited or tested thoroughly and they might skip things thinking you already know what to do. Look for patterns by bigger designers or patterns especially designed for beginner knitters. 

We recommend searching on Ravelry using the “Hot Right Now” filter to get the most popular patterns first. You can also filter for only patterns marked “Piece of Cake” or “Easy” by their users!

Choose a Thicker Wool

A design that uses bulkier wool will knit up much faster and will be easier to keep track of than something in a lighter weight yarn – you probably don’t want your very first project to drag on and on. 
You can do a Ravelry search to only look for pattern using a “DK or Worsted”,  “Aran” or “Bulky” weight yarn. To get the best results on Ravelry it’s always good to use your filters wisely!

These tips are good to keep in mind but the most important thing is that you choose a pattern you love and will want to wear! So if you know you want the drape of a 4 ply garment, then definitely go for it- just bear in mind that it might take a little longer to complete.

We’ve put together a small collection of patterns we think would make a good first garment project. Just click on the images to be taken to that pattern page:

Make Sure You Have Everything You Need

Now you’ve picked your pattern I know you want to get straight into choosing yarn but first you need to figure out what size you want to make. Be sure to get your correct measurements (you might need to get someone else to help you with this). The pattern will tell you which measurements to take- usually the most important one is your bust measurement.

Here’s an amazing tutorial video on how to choose a sweater size – it should be easy to find on well written patterns anyway but for more experienced knitters there’s some great advice here. 

Now that you know what size you want you should know how much yarn you’ll need (the pattern will tell you) and you can go ahead and pick some! 🎉 

You may have to do a few calculations here to figure out how many balls or skeins are required for your size but generally when you’re substituting yarn the most important thing is to get the correct meterage in equivalent yarn.

You don’t have to do this part by yourself – we do this every day! 
You can always come into the store with your pattern or give us a call or email and we can help you out. 

You’ll need needles to knit with – You may need different needle sizes than the ones recommended, since the most important thing here is gauge. So start with the recommended needle and make a gauge swatch (we know it can be a pain!), and then you can size up or down from there if you need. (we have a blog post about knitting needles if you don’t know where to start). We also have stitch markers and row counters to help you keep track of your knitting. 

Here’s a helpful video all about knitting gauge for beginners.

Use Books and Tutorials and Get Help

There are so many resources out there to help you with your first sweater/garment. We have this stunning book in store that takes you through from learning to cast on to knitting sweaters and socks. This book is a truly fantastic resource, and includes really clear diagrams and heaps of tips and patterns!

We’d also recommend using the Purl Soho and Very Pink Knits tutorials if you get stuck on anything.

You Can Do It!

You know everything you need to get started knitting your first sweater! Our final piece of advice is not to be intimidated.

We encounter lots of knitters in the shop who have all the skills needed to make a sweater but are hesitant to give it a go. You only need to know the basics to get started, and you will learn a lot of lessons as you go! And remember, we are here and always happy to help with advice and encouragement 🙂

xx Team Loopine

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