Archives For sweaters

CH 65: Finishing a Sweater

Helen —  March 6, 2015 — 1 Comment

Curious Handmade Podcast 65

This week I’m talking about finishing my Custom Fit sweater by Amy Herzog and an introduction to my love of colour for the March podcast theme.

Show Sponsor

Meadow Yarn

Today’s show is sponsored by Meadow Yarn.

There is a beautiful rainbow of colour to browse through in the yarn section at Meadow Yarn and I was talking to Anj about choosing colours for projects and she said:

“Whether it’s opening boxes full of yarn in myriad jewel tones or quietly contemplating the perfect shade of grey, we never tire of thinking about colour and we spend lots of time having our heart strings tugged by the latest ‘perfect red’ or ‘to-die-for green’…. Matching the perfect shade of yarn with the perfect pattern is our ultimate goal and whether it’s a cool aqua whispering ‘cardigan’ to us, or a pop of vivid ruby red begging to be transformed into a warm winter cowl we’re happiest when we’re indulging our love of colour…”

You can find a carefully curated selection of yarn

What’s in the WIP?

I finished my Custom Fit V Neck pullover! Yay!

To help with the finishing I watched parts of two Craftsy Classes:

The Essential Guide to Finishing Handknits with Anne Hanson
Seaming Handknits with Chris Bylsma

Both classes were great and as the titles suggest – the Anne Hanson class included more general finishing tips while Chris Bylsma was more detailed on seaming.

Next up I’m planning to knit Reyka by Cirilia Rose from Magpies, Homebodies, and Nomads: A Modern Knitter’s Guide to Discovering and Exploring Style

I have my Lopi from Meadow Yarn all lined up ready to go.

Colour in March

I mention some books for colour inspiration:

Color: A Natural History of the Palette

Bright Bazaar: Embracing Color for Make-You-Smile Style

Colour Deconstructed

Farrow & Ball Living With Colour

Magpies, Homebodies, and Nomads: A Modern Knitter’s Guide to Discovering and Exploring Style


Curious Handmade Podcast 64


Today I have a special guest on the show – she is someone I have mentioned many times recently and is the perfect guest for this month’s theme. She openly admits to having a sweater problem – of course its Amy Herzog

Show Sponsor

Meadow Yarn


In the spirit of the theme of sweater month I ask Anj, the owner of Meadow yarn about her sweater knitting. Anj replied saying:

“Just about our favourite thing to knit is a sweater… The options are infinite and the result always hugely satisfying, whether it’s a fine fair isle or a chunky quick-knit it’s always a pleasure to see a finished sweater roll off the needles. At the moment with temperatures sub-zero we’re thinking about Icelandic Lopi yarn… used to create traditional Icelandic ‘Yoked’ sweaters, known as Lopapeysas, they remain hugely popular with knitters around the world and contemplating the endless shade combinations – from the traditional ‘naturals’ to the vivid, jewel- bright colours – is just about the best fun we have on a chilly day at Meadow Yarn!”

You can purchase Icelandic Lopi yarn and other gorgeous products at

I ordered some gorgeous Lopi from Meadow Yarn this week to make the Reyka Pullover from Magpies, Homebodies and Nomads.

Amy Herzog and Sweater Knitting

I’m excited to share my conversation with Amy Herzog who is the creator of Custom Fit, the author of two books – Knit to Flatter and a new one about to be released, as well as teaching workshops to help knitters make sweaters they will love to wear including at Squam – which is where I did Amy’s sweater fit class last year.

Amy Herzog Squam class

Amy teaching at Squam last year and demonstrating fit of different sweater samples.

It was great to get to try on lots of samples in the class and see what suited us.

Amy Herzog Swatches

Amy really does love to swatch! A pile of swatches she brought to the Squam class to demonstrate knitted fabric and fibres.

You can find Amy Herzog and the things we talked about in the episode here:

Amy Herzog Blog

Custom Fit – Custom Sweater Generator

Knit to Flatter: The Only Instructions You’ll Ever Need to Knit Sweaters that make You Look Good and Feel Great!

Craftsy Class – Knit to Flatter
(my affiliate link)

Amy’s Squam Body and Soul Class

Magpies, Homebodies and Nomads

Helen —  February 24, 2015 — Leave a comment

Last week I shared a bumper list of tutorials and inspiring resources for your sweater knitting. This week I wanted to share a book with you that I find particularly inspiring.

Magpies, Homebodies and Nomads: A Modern Knitter's Guide to Exploring and Discovering Style by Cirilia Rose

Magpies, Homebodies, and Nomads by Cirilia Rose is a gorgeous collection of knitwear and a book I’ve really enjoyed dipping into since I bought it last year. Cirilia describes the book as ‘a modern knitter’s guide to discovering and exploring style’ so this goes beyond sweaters to knit and offers tips on how to develop your personal style as well.

Details I love about this book:

Photography- Jared Flood is the photographer for the book and as a result, it is really beautifully presented and details are easy to see. (all photos included in this feature are Jared’s)

Style notes- Cirilia shares details about her professional experience in with styling (she used to work for Berroco), her stylist for this book and lots of great tips in a section she calls ‘Think Like a Stylist’. From organising your wardrobe to dressing up your knits, Cirilia includes great ideas that will help you really showcase your handmade sweaters.

The title of the book also indicates three distinct themes that the patterns are grouped by. Magpies are collectors and this section contains patterns to use your special skeins of stash yarn. Homebodies are patterns for us introverts and includes a cosy selection of designs for hunkering down with your knitting (and possibly a podcast?! Although Cirilia doesn’t mention that). And finally, Nomads. The final section of the book is inspired by the theme of nomads, taking inspiration and ideas from our travels. As many of you will know, this is a theme I’ve been inspired by for years and can really relate to the creativity that springs from journeys.

Sweaters I love:

Isla cardigan

Isla Cardigan– This is a cute DK weight cardigan that’s really lady like with a high waist feature. I just love the details and texture to this cardigan and think it would look fabulous with a dress or skirt.

Gezell coat

Gezell Coat- This oversized shape is a big trend in knitwear right now and very recognisable here in London. This aran weight jacket looks just like an image from The Sartorialist! I also love the bobbles that line the bottom of the jacket, a little touch of femininity.

Jordaan Cape

Jordaan Cape- This piece is really fun with it’s unusual shape and pops of on trend neon. I love that Cirilia questions how wearable ponchos are and updates her favourite trend with something a bit more practical and knitted.

Rekya Pullover

Rekya Pullover- This is another cute sweater that falls into a more causal look I think. Cirilia draws her inspiration from her many trips to Iceland and uses Lopi (sponsor Meadow Yarn link) to create a warm and wearable hoodie.

studio pullover

Studio Pullover- This is so much fun! I loved reading about the process behind this sweater, it’s many iterations and how Cirilia experimented with different ideas and motifs before settling on this final design that she includes in the book. It’s a really creative and vibrant sweater.

My Final Thoughts:

I love inspirational books that invite me to reflect on my knitting and help me develop skills beyond the basics. With this book there is a rich supply of techniques but also ideas for developing your own personal style and making the best of all your knitwear. This is an inspiring, heartwarming book whether you are a homebody or a nomad.

57 sweater knitting resources
Are you looking for the perfect basic sweater pattern?


Needing some sweater knitting inspiration?


Perhaps you need the a great tutorial about how to swatch? Or measure yourself for great fitting garments?
I’ve collected together some of my favourite sweater knitting tips and advice, designer inspirations and great sources for knitting patterns. My hope is that across sweater month on the Curious Handmade Podcast, I’ll encourage you to overcome some of your knitting obstacles and cast on to join me in my sweater knitting!


The resources I’ve linked to range from beginner tips to more advanced techniques. Also the links are in no particular order although I have tried to organise them under different headings.

 The Craftsy, Creativebug and Amazon book links  below are all Affiliate links. If you join these sites or make a purchase after clicking on the links I will receive a small commission that helps towards the running of the blog and podcast. I really appreciate it!

Sweater Knitting Patterns and Magazines

1. Ravelry

Ravelry is a community site, an organizational tool, and a yarn & pattern database for knitters and crocheters.

It is no understatement to say this website has changed my life and that of many other knitters. With over 5 million members it connects knitters, crocheters and yarnies from around the world together.

2. Twist Collective

An independent on-line magazine focusing on knitting and the sister arts.

3. Knitty

Knitty is the longest-running free knitting magazine on the web. Enjoy more than 12 years worth of free knitting patterns and free knitting tutorials!

4. amirisu

amirisu is a bilingual knitting magazine from Japan. It is published both online and in print a few times a year.

5. Pom Pom Quarterly

Pom Pom is a quarterly, collectable publication based in London, UK for smart, creative types who like knitting patterns with a modern aesthetic, great photography and interesting writing.

6. Vogue Knitting

Launched over twenty-five years ago, VK has set the bar for knitting, working with the biggest and most talented names in fashion today, including Michael Kors and Anna Sui. Led by Editor Trisha Malcolm, VK is published quarterly.

7. Interweave Magazines

Includes Interweave Knits and Knit Scene

8. Rowan Magazine

Our inspirational, biannual knitting and crochet magazine brings you three design stories along with features, what’s new section and much more.

How to Knit  Sweaters – online Classes and Tutorials

9. My First Sweater

(Craftsy) If you can knit and purl, you can make an amazing first sweater you’ll love to wear. Knit along with Amy Ross to create a classic raglan pullover or a cute cardigan.

10. The Top-Down Icelandic Sweater

(Craftsy) Designer Ragga Eiríksdóttir teaches you how to knit a fun, authentic Icelandic sweater from the top down and in the round.

11. Choose Your Own Sweater Adventure with Eunny Jang

(Craftsy) Mix and match design elements to create a flattering sweater you’ll be proud to wear. Tell your style story in memorable fashion.

12. Top Down Sweater Knitting with Wendy Bernard

(Creativebug) Learn how to knit custom top-down sweaters from scratch using your very own measurements and any yarn you like with Wendy Bernard.

13. Knit a Lace Cardigan with Gudrun Johnston

(Creativebug) In this class, Gudrun walks you through every step of making a cute, vintage-style cardigan. This seamless sweater is worked in one piece from the top down, so there are no tails to weave in at the end.

14. Fringe Association

This blog by Karen Templer has a wealth of in depth knitting tutorials and knitting analysis. Including:

Pullovers for first-timers: Or, an introduction to sweater construction
Cardigans for first-timers: Or, how button bands happen

15. The Craft Sessions

Felicia Semple who was a guest on Episode 60 of the Curious Handmade Podcast recently writes in depth blog posts on a range of helpful knitting techniques accompanied by beautiful photography. Including:

Learn to Read Your Knitting series 

How to Get Faster at Knitting Part 1 and Part 2

16. Ysolda

Ysolda Teague has a series on her blog called Technique Thursdays sharing a wealth of tips for sweater knitters. Including:

Joining the sleeves and body on a seamless bottom up sweater

Bust darts in sweaters with all over stitch patterns

17. Tin Can Knits

Tin Can Knits have some great free tutorials and patterns for beginners. Including:

Let’s Knit a Sweater

How to get a better Sweater Fit

18. Knit to Flatter

(Craftsy) Make every sweater you knit your new favorite! Author and designer Amy Herzog shows you how to fashion knitwear that’s perfect for your body.

19. Little Red in the City by Ysolda Teague

(Book) Part pattern collection, part resource book Ysolda shares all of her tips for successful sweaters that perfectly fit your body.

20. Fit your Knits with Stephanie Japel

(Craftsy) Knitwear designer Stefanie Japel teaches you how to knit a sweater with adjustments to the bust, waist and hips to perfectly fit any body type.

21. Feminine Fit: Bust Shaping Techniques

(Craftsy) Flatter your feminine side with sweaters that embrace your bust, hips and waist. Joan McGowan-Michael teaches you how to shape knitwear to fit.

22. Sweater Surgery with Carol Feller

(Craftsy) Give your ill-fitting hand-knit garments a little TLC and a new life with help from acclaimed knitwear designer Carol Feller.

Choosing your Yarn

23. Know Your Yarn: Choose the Perfect Yarn Every Time, with Clara Parkes

(Craftsy) The fastest way to become a better, more confident knitter is to understand your fiber! Learn how to choose the right yarn for the best results with fiber guru Clara Parkes

24. The Knitter’s Book of Wool: The Ultimate Guide to Understanding, Using, and Loving this Most Fabulous Fiber

(Book) by Clara Parkes

In this complete guide to wool – the most popular yarn around – passionate wool expert Clara Parkes translates the vast world of sheep and their wool into the language and context of knitting.

25. The Knitter’s Book of Yarn: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing, Using, and Enjoying Yarn

(Book) by Clara Parkes

Not all yarns are alike. Some make our hearts and hands sing, some get the job done without much fanfare, and some cause nothing but frustration and disappointment… If only there were a way to read a skein and know how it would behave and what it wanted to become before you invested your time, energy, and money in it. Now there is! With The Knitter’s Book of Yarn, you’ll learn how to unleash your inner yarn whisperer.

26. The Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook: More Than 200 Fibers, from Animal to Spun Yarn

(Book) by Carol Ekarius and Deborah Robson

This one-of-a-kind photographic encyclopedia features more than 200 animals and the fibers they produce. It covers almost every sheep breed in the world — from the longwool breeds of the United Kingdom to the Tasmanian merino, the Navajo churro, the northern European Faroese, and dozens and dozens more.

Sweater Designers I Love

27. Jared Flood – Brooklyn Tweed

In his own words:

“I am owner and creative director at Brooklyn Tweed.

I have secret fantasies about a perpetual winter that would facilitate year-round wool wearing.”

Favourite design: Hawser

28. Bristol Ivy

In her own words:

“I grew up hating fiber. To put it mildly, things have changed. 🙂 Now I’m a knitwear designer, work behind the scenes at Brooklyn Tweed, teach knitting, spinning, weaving, dyeing, and felting, photograph knitwear, and keep myself all-around extremely busy. I still dream of eventually marrying a sheep farmer and happily living the rest of my life knee-deep in wool.”

Favourite design: Offshore V-Neck

29. Joji Locatelli

In her own words:

“I am just an Argentine girl who really likes to knit. 😀 ”

And wow, can this girl knit (and design)!

Favourite design: Japan Sleeves

30. Veera Välimäki

Best known for her garter stitch, short row shawl designs, Veera also has a very modern, wearable collection of garment designs.

Favourite design: Coal

31. Thea Colman – Baby Cocktails

In her own words:

“I design mostly women’s garments and accessories, and love using cables, lace, and little details to make designs that are classic and wearable, but just a bit unique.”

Favourite design: Baileys Irish Cream

32. Kate Davies Designs

In her own words:

“I live in a small steading just off the West Highland Way. Scotland’s landscape is beautiful and ever-changing, and I love to create designs inspired by what I see around me.”

Favourite design: Frost at Midnight

33. Nora Gaughan

In her own words:

“I’m a newly independent designer after almost nine years as the design director at Berroco. It was time to live in one state and enjoy hanging the laundry out on the line in New Hampshire.”

Favourite design: Chainlink

34. Jane Richmond

In her own words:

“Jane’s designs are classic and simple. Her minimalist approach to knitwear design is paired with a dedication to cleanly written pattern instructions. Being both a process and product knitter, Jane’s goal is to create knits that are enjoyable to knit and easy to wear.”

Favourite design: Ladies Classic Raglan Pullover

35. Justyna Lorkowska – Lete’s Knits

In her own words:

“My true passion are unique garments that catch the eye with their intricate details and beautiful finishing. And if they can be seamless that’s even better.”

Favourite design: Mrs Skyler

36. Isabell Kraemer

Isabell is based in Germany and creates clean, modern designs.

Favourite design: Paulie

37. La Maison Rililie

In her own words:

“Not only do I love constructing garments that fit in the style I like and the colours I choose myself (who wouldn’t) but I adore finding new – or stumbling on old – ways to construct something in a different way. It is like sculpture: a three dimensional work that allows you to produce an object (with the proper calculations), that not only might be practical, but also is an expression of creativity and design!”

She also has some excellent tutorials on her website.

Favourite design: BeauB

38. Ankestrick

In her own words:

‘Top-down, seamless techniques opened up a new knitting world to me. Thank you ravelry!
I love to experiment with necklines and sleeves knitted top-down in one piece. All patterns are related to that love and my design credo: Let the construction design the sweater!!!”

Favourite design: Mrs Garter

39. Carol Feller

In her own words:

“Carol Feller is an independent knitwear designer and teacher. Her design approach combines her training as both an artist and a structural engineer, emphasizing seamless construction and clever shaping techniques to create flattering, tailored garments with interesting shapes and textures.”

Favourite design: Adara

40. Suvi Simola

In her own words:

“Hello! I’m Suvi, a knitwear designer from Finland. I’ve been designing knitwear since 2008 and besides self-publishing, my designs have been published in Vogue Knitting, Twist Collective and in several books. Besides knitting, I love to take photos.”

Favourite design: Light Trails

41. Heather Zoppetti

In her own words:

“Heather Zoppetti is a knitwear designer, teacher, and author of Everyday Lace (Interweave, 2014). She lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania with her husband and yarn collection. Her patterns have been published in many Interweave publications and by yarn companies such as Manos del Uruguay, Baah!, Reywa Fibers, The Alpaca Yarn Company, and Universal Yarns.”

Favourite design: Dahlia Cardigan

Useful Techniques for Knitting Sweaters

42. 40 Ways to Cast On & Bind Off

(Craftsy) Choose and use the best cast-ons and bind-offs for every knitting need. Start and finish all your knitting with a look you love and the perfect amount of stretch.

43. Mattress Stitch – Finishing your knitting 

(Creativebug) One of the most common ways to join the edges of knit pieces is with a technique called Mattress Stitch. Learn how to do this invisible stitch from a true knitting pro: Debbie Stoller. With just a tapestry needle and yarn tails, you’ll be able to neatly finish up the edges of your knitting in no time.

44. Button Bands and Buttonholes

(Craftsy) Live life on the edge with designer and lifelong knitter Anne Hanson as she teaches you how to incorporate beautiful finishes on your hand-knit garments.

45. Blocking Handknits with Kate Atherley

(Craftsy) Blocking is the easiest, fastest way to take your knitting to the next level. Finish knitting projects so that they look, fit and feel as wonderful as you imagined.

46.The Essential Guide to Finishing Handknits with Anne Hanson

(Craftsy) Finish any hand-knitting project with finesse. Learn the best techniques for edge finishes, weaving in ends, blocking, seaming, button and neck bands, zippers, hemming and more.

47. Weaving in Ends – Ysolda Technique Thursdays

If only you could wave a hand over your finished object and make all the little ends tuck themselves away neatly.

Sweater Knitting Kits

48. Wool and the Gang

Wool and the Gang was born … pioneering fashion production that’s made in a sustainable way, bringing back knitting as a viable means of production for generations to come.

49. TOFT

If you haven’t knitted or crocheted before then a TOFT DIY knitting kit is a great place to start making your own knitwear. Each of our patterns is marked with a ‘SKILL LEVEL’ to give you an indication of how challenging a project may be. We have made some knitting and crochet videos to help you find your feet with the basics, or if in doubt join us at one of our knitting workshops. TOFT knitting kits include the yarn of your choice and come presented in a natural TOFT cotton tote bag.

50. We are Knitters

Choose your knitting kit with the type of yarn that you want. It contains yarn balls, needles and the pattern.

51. Purl Alpaca 

Purl Alpaca Designs specialise in desirable knitting kits and are the Field-to-Fashion Company that offers you an exclusive collection of designer garments to make from 100% pure British alpaca yarn.

Taking it to the next level

Customising and designing your own sweaters

52. Custom Yoke Sweater  

(Craftsy) Join Amy Detjen from Vogue Knitting and learn dozens of useful knitting tips as you create a custom-fit sweater with stranded colorwork.

53. Handknit Garment Design

(Craftsy) Shirley Paden, author of Knitwear Design Workshop, brings her concepts to Craftsy! Learn her comprehensive yet simple process for beautiful fabric and knitwear.

54. Sizing Knitwear Patterns

(Craftsy) Whether your goal is to sell online, get published, or knit a sweater to fit, with Faina’s expert grading tips, you’ll be on your way to pattern success!

55. Elizabeth Zimmerman

Elizabeth’s “EPS” (Elizabeth’s Percentage System) is still widely used by designers: it consists of a mathematical formula to determine how many stitches to cast on for a sweater, given that the sleeves and body are usually proportionate no matter what yarn or gauge is used. She wrote many excellent books including:

Knitting Without Tears: Basic Techniques and Easy-to-Follow Directions for Garments to Fit All Sizes

56. Up, Down, All-Around Stitch Dictionary: More than 150 stitch patterns to knit top down, bottom up, back and forth, and in the round

Stitch dictionaries are to knitters what Webster’s is to a writer. Within the pages of these inspiring reference books are the endless variations of knit and purl stitches that produce the fabrics of all knitting. But in the Up, Down, All-Around Stitch Dictionary, designer Wendy Bernard does something no other author has done before— she presents instructions for working 150 popular stitch patterns four different ways: top down, bottom up, back and forth, and in the round.

57. Harmony Guides: Lace & Eyelets (The Harmony Guides)

There are many, many stitch dictionaries available and I have many in my library. Although this one does have some errata it is the one I return to again and again for design inspiration.


I hope this is a useful resource for you.
Please leave a comment and let me know what you think and if you have any other sweater knitting resources you would like to recommend. 

What Are Your Sweater Fears?

Helen —  February 3, 2015 — 5 Comments

Does swatching leave you cold?

Does measuring yourself make you want to hide in a dark room with some cake?

Does it feel like there’s so many patterns but you never know which ones might suit you best?

Joji Locatelli Adventurous Interpretations 2

Image Source: Joji Locatelli, Adventurous from Interpretations 2

In preparing for sweater month, I noticed a lot of anxiety around knitting sweaters. I’m not sure why that is, but I certainly feel it too. When it comes to creating sweaters for my wardrobe, the pressure I place on myself that it should be the perfect colour, fit and finish is incredible. Not to mention the fact I really want the knitting to be well executed!

So I’m starting sweater month by asking you how you feel about your sweater knitting. What’s holding you back from casting on? Or perhaps you have several sweaters in progress that you feel in danger of never finishing?

Tell me some of the obstacles that hold you back from creating hand knit sweaters for yourself and hopefully my month of tips, advice and inspiration will help you overcome them and have a stunning wardrobe of sweaters you can feel proud of!