Friday, April 19, 2013

Make A Sweater (Without A Pattern) Even If You Can Barely Knit



I'm sort of a "jack of all trades" type of crafter.  However this does not make me an expert in every crafting category - far from it!  There are some I know barely anything about, like knitting.  I've got the basics down, but ask me to make anything that isn't square or rectangular and forget it.  Yet, I still get drawn to knitting every once in a while and when I saw this fuzzy, fun yarn I desperately wanted to make something with it.  A sweater!!  Except my sweater making skills are....almost non-existant.

I'd made a super simple knit baby sweater - once- a few years ago. It was just rectangular pieces, but of course I couldn't find the directions or remember where I'd originally gotten them.  And that sweater was for a 6 month old and my Little Miss is now 3 1/2 years old.  So I got to thinking and calculating....AND my total cheater way to knit any size sweater came about.  Now I'm sharing it, so anyone as clueless about knitting as me can feel like a sweater making superstar.



You'll Need:
- Basic Knitting Skills like how to cast on & off and garter stitch.  There are a million how-tos & videos on YouTube for this.
- Bulky yarn* (I used Bernat's Tizzy yarn - it comes in some pretty candy colors and is marshmallow soft).  For my 4T size, I needed 3 skeins.
- Knitting Needles - I used some #15
- Plastic Sewing Needle
- Ruler or knitting gauge
- Optional: 5 buttons (if using a bulky yarn & loose stitch)

* Bulky yarn is a knitting newbie's best friend.  It's easy to work with, knits up quick and hides a multitude of goofs thanks to it's fluffy, stretchy nature.  It's usually super cuddly too.


Determine the sizing.  Use a boxy sweater or shirt in the size desired and note the length and width for two front halves, the sleeves and back.  The yarn package will tell you how many stitches and rows will give you a 4 inch by 4 inch square and use that extrapolate the stitches and rows for each of your main pieces, so for my desired 4T sizing, with yarn that took 8 stitches by 4 rows for a 4in square, I did a little math magic:


- Sleeves were 12in wide by 11in high = 16 stitches x 34 rows

- Front panels were 7in wide by 14in high = 14 stitches x 45 rows
- Back was 13in wide by 14in high = 26 stitches x 45 rows

It's kind of trial & error and involves a little rounding, but the finished sweater will have have a loose fit & a bit of stretch thanks to the bulky yarn so it's ok if it's not exact.  Knit up those pieces - keep checking with your ruler/knitting gauge to make sure the pieces are coming out to the dimensions desired.



When done, you should end up with two sleeves, two front pieces that will overlap and a single back piece.  All rectangles.



To assemble your sweater, start by folding over the top corners of the front pieces that will make the lapels of the sweater and tack those down with a stitch or two.


I use a plastic sewing needle and bit of yarn to do the stitching by hand - it goes really fast. If the yarn is too bulky or fiddly, just use a bit of crochet yarn in the same color - it'll glide right through.

Line up the top edges of the front & back pieces (with the lapel sides facing inward) and stitch them together with an overcast stitch and the handy plastic needle.

You'll end up with something that looks like this:

Now flip the almost-a-sweater right side up and grab the sleeve pieces. Place the center of each sleeve top on the shoulder seam and stitch the top edges together.

Fold the sleeve lengthwise and bring the front and back sides together and overcast stitch along the whole side from cuff to hem.

Since I used a bulky yarn with large needles there were wide enough spots to push buttons through, so I stitched on some colorful buttons (using heavy duty sewing thread):

Little Miss & I both love it.  I think it makes her like a fuzzy chick and she's thrilled that it's just like her "snugglies" (her yarn blankies).  And it's perfect for this changeable spring weather.  Now that I've got her sizing down I'm making her another one with rows of every color this yarn comes in.  They were all so gorgeous I couldn't decide on one so I bought a skein of every one.  That's how addicted to this stuff I am.  I'm also seriously considering making one for myself.  Just maybe in a different color - fluffy chick is not an easy look to pull off when you're over 5.


I'm also sharing this project with my FAVE LINK PARTIES.
Click HERE to check them out!

20 comments:

  1. Absolutely adorable! Love that fun yarn:@)

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    1. Thanks so much - the yarn is even more fun in person. Definitely a new favorite.

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  2. Cute cute! I love this tutorial - I enjoy knitting, especially simple projects. Thank you for sharing this. :)

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    1. So glad you like it - why should fun projects be complicated?? When there easy it just means you can do more;)

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  3. Really cute. Now I have to refresh my very basic knitting skills, so I can try one, too!

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    1. You should. I hadn't knitted in about a year, but a quick YouTube refresher got me going and finishing this pretty fast.

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  4. How cute! I want to learn to knit so bad. I'm one of those "jack of all trades" but great at not many, kind if crafter too.

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    1. Give it a try Brenna - just a few easy basics and you can be making this in no time. Crochet is my "want to learn, but haven't" craft.

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  5. Cute! Cute! Cute! I am not really much of a knitter (have the desire, lack the skill), but this makes me want to learn! Thanks for sharing at DIY Home Sweet Home!

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    1. That's exactly me Meredith, so if I can do it, you definitely can too!

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  6. What a great idea. And it looks so comfy. I think I could do this even with my little skill in knitting. Thank you for sharing! I’d love to have you visit me at Get Your Crap Together! We have a Pattern Party with free patterns from the 1st of the month to the 10th that I’d love for you to check out. See you soon!

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    1. Thanks for the invite Chelsea I'll be stopping by then!

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  7. That is one gorgeous sweater Cheryl! I love the simple pattern and I share your attitude of 'anyone can' !!

    Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
    Hope you have a fabulous week!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success
    http://www.jembellish.blogspot.com/

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  8. Wow, that's adorable! I love the way that yarn looks.

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    1. Thanks Michelle. The yarn is what sucked me into knitting again. It's funny how the materials can call you to use them!

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  9. so cute! She looks like she loves it. I love the color :o) Thanks so much for taking the time to link up to the Tasteful Tuesday party @Nap-TimeCreations.com. Make sure to follow my blog via bloglovin, GFC or facebook so you don't miss out on my features posts... it could be YOU :o)
    Emily

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  10. So very cute! Thank you for sharing this at the Make it Pretty Monday party at The Dedicated House! You wil be one of the features tomorrow at the Party! Pop on in and grab a feature button for your blog. Hope to see your prettiness again at the bash! Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

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  11. LOL.. LOVE IT !
    I am a huge knitter & spinner..
    SO of course I love to see what others knit.
    thanks for posting..
    Seeing this sweater makes me think you would enjoy a "top down" sweater too.. ck Ravelry.com
    for a great community of knitters & crocheters & Lots of free patterns.
    Top Down sweaters are knit in ONE piece, my fav.
    great job & she looks SO cute to boot !

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much - and hearing you're a big knitter makes it an even bigger compliment! I'll have to check out "top down" sweaters now...

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