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Charting a sweater pattern

kswolff | Posted in Knitting and Crochet on

I have a purchased cardigan that I would like to copy. It’s very simple, no closure of any kind, slightly flared sleeves, collar is just a fold-back convertible style. What makes it really interesting is that the fronts and back are knit sideways instead of from hem to neck. I figured out the guage with no problem but have never actually charted out a sweater pattern. Does anyone have tips or tricks for figuring out the increasing for sleeves, decreasing at neckline and armholes, or any other issues?

I have looked for several weeks for a pattern that is even similar but have found nothing in either new or vintage books.

Thanks for any advice!



  1. kjp | | #1

    Kirsten, I haven't tried this personally, but did see some wonderful books that might help you at a local knitting shop.  (I'm hoping to try this sometime, I do a lot of yarn substitution and regrading patterns for the size I want.  I just did an amazon search to see if I could jog my memory of the titles:  one is "Knitting in the Old Way", the other is "1000 sweaters: mix & match patterns for the Perfect, Personalized Sweater" by Amanda Griffiths.  That one is neat, they have different options for body, collar, cuff, etc & you put it all together.  The other book you might want to try is "The Sweater Workshop"  Good luck!  Karin

  2. Barbaran8 | | #2

    I've knit several vests sideways - the first one was based on a pattern put out by a yarn company - go to a big yarn store, and ask them for a pattern which is knit up sideways. Mine was in weave stitch, which is lovely, because it doesn't curl! I've adapted and re-adapted that pattern several times, made it up in several different weights of yarn, below the hip, at the waist, you name it! I love knitting that way, because I can easily do stripes that are vertical rather than horizontal - this is far more flattering to my figure. Once you've knit such a pattern up once, it's really easy (at least for me) to knit up a test swatch and then calculate out what size blocks I need to knit up. I've gotten to the point where I just hold it up to my body, and go, "Hmmm, need another inch or two..."

  3. Barbaran8 | | #3

    Oh, and ask Carol-

    There is an older issue of Threads that had an article on knitting sideways - I don't remember what issue it was, but get it if it's still avaiable in reprint!

    1. kswolff | | #4

      Thank you so much for the idea of getting a basic pattern knit sideways and adapting. I learned to knit when I was about 7 and stopped a few years ago when I developed carpal tunnel from my work as a sign language interpeter. I gave up interpreting and now am knitting again. An excellent trade off I must say! Now that I have picked it up again I'm discovering a whole new mind-set and great updated inspirations.

      Also, the suggestion about an older issue of Threads is wonderful, although I don't know who Carol is :( Could you elaborate? I haven't ever looked for or requested back issues and would like to know how to go about it.

      Thank you again!


      1. Jean | | #5

        Not Carol, but you're looking for Issue #55

        KNITTING SIDEWAYSby Molly GeissmanIncrease your garment design options, and reduce the number of seams at the same time


  4. katina | | #6

    Have you seen the book " 25 Gorgeous Sweaters" by Catherine Ham?  In the Patchwork Jacket she talks about how to make a paper pattern from gridded paper.  I did this and just love that I can knit in any direction and can increase/decrease as needed by putting my knitting down on my pattern pieces and check how to shape.  All the instructions are in the book.  She also has a vest pattern where you knit sideways, and she tells you how to get your measurements.  It says in her bio that she sews, so that's probably why she uses this pattern method.

    Try your library for a copy. I hope this helps you.

  5. rjf | | #7

    Taunton Press has a book called "Designing Knitwear" that is excellent.  It's very easy to understand and it covers EVERYTHING.  Try your library or local bookstore.     


    1. rasbydance | | #8

      Although I can knit, I tend to crochet more.  Since I use crochet as a way to wind down from teaching in the evening, I do not want to spend a bunch of time trying to do a lot of counting stitches.  Thus, I decided to try something easy.  I traced off a paper pattern from one of my sweaters that fits well.  Now, I just choose whatever yarn and whatever stitch I want and crochet my sweater to "fit" the paper pattern rather than by counting stitches.  It's so simple and relieves some of my anxiety.  I'm not sure how well this would work with knitting, but it may be worth a try.  Hope this helps.  Rasby

  6. moomoo | | #9

    I have done some pattern drafting for knit machine and would be happy to offer specifics as requested.  My experience comes from doing a little custom work. My learning is mostly self taught through reading and inspiration comes mostly from the Threads Magazine - I am a charter subscriber and  do not mind the changes to the  magazine as life is always changing. 

    My intentions are to get back to machine knitting and would enjoy having future discussions with others who believe in keeping out of trouble by keeping hands and mind busy in a constructive and conservative manner. 

    It is a great joy to read all of the articles and messages that are available. At one time, I had a very extensive library of several different skills, but find the manual arts are most fulfilling and as another message stated, I will never be able to use all the yarn that I have accumulated.

    moo moo

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