Hello, lovely knitters!
I often get asked, through email and in my classes, what sweater pattern makes the best first sweater for someone who’s a little anxious about starting. I completely understand that anxiety, by the way – I recognize what a massive investment in time, energy, materials, and hopes a sweater entails.
And I’ll also fess up that a lot of “my early work” – the things I started my blog to discuss, and wrote about in my first two books – is at more of an intermediate level. Set-in sleeve sweaters with waist and bust shaping? Are definitely not the simplest place to start a sweater knitting journey. So when Craftsy approached me about a fit class aimed specifically at beginners, I got pretty excited.
The class is called “Simple Techniques for a Super Fit”:
And it’s now available on Craftsy.com – click here for a 50% off link!
As usual, I had an excellent team at Craftsy, and it was great fun both to develop, and then to film, the class. Simple Techniques for a Super Fit covers what I consider to be the essentials of great sweater knitting, in the context of keeping things as simple as possible. It includes:
- A class pattern. I designed a basic drop-shoulder cardigan and pullover pattern for the class, out of one of Craftsy’s new Cloudborn Fibers yarns. It’s an alpaca, wool, silk blend that perfectly matches this oversized shape. (And if alpaca is a bit warm for your liking – or you want to sub for another reason – the sweater is written for a versatile DK gauge of 5.5 stitches to the inch.)
- Setting yourself up for success. I discuss selecting a pattern that’s not likely to need a bunch of modifications in order to be great clothes, and breaking down what information you can get out of your knitting pattern.
- Swatching and Gauge. I go over how and why we swatch, and how to evaluate your swatch as fabric as well as measure its gauge accurately. I also go into detail about what options you have if the gauge you like isn’t the gauge the pattern was written for.
- Sweater constructions. I break down the 4 major sweater constructions, and what they each need in terms of fabric, fit, and modifications. I also show live clips of what an appropriate shoulder fit looks like for each construction.
- The basics of choosing a size and modifications. I cover choosing a size, for all major constructions, and then how to approach the modifications you’re likely to need in a simpler pattern like the class sweater – including sleeve and sweater length changes, neckline changes, and how to adjust simple shaping.
One of the first questions I asked the team at Craftsy was how they envisioned this class being different from my first fit class, Sweater Modifications for a Custom Fit. I think there are two major differences:
- This class takes nothing for granted. I did a lot of glossing over basic topics in Sweater Modifications – I had enough ground to cover that I really didn’t spend time talking about what to do if your gauge doesn’t match the pattern, for example. Or how to make simple length modifications. I assumed you knew your way around a pattern, and what it can tell you. Simple Techniques doesn’t assume any of that, and I explain everything in really clear, basic terms.
- I cover all sweater constructions. Sweater Modifications focused really deeply on the most complicated-to-modify sweater there is: a fitted, set-in-sleeve pattern. And didn’t really mention other constructions at all. This class not only has a drop-shoulder sweater as the class pattern, but I cover how to make successful raglans, yokes, drop shoulder sweaters, and set-in sleeved garments.
And by the end of filming, I was surprised to realize that I don’t think the class is for beginners only – there’s likely to be new stuff here, even for avid sweater knitters. The way we learn, as crafters, has changed over the past decade or so. Today, I observe makers learning in more of an ad-hoc way than when I was a kid: You hear about something, you look it up or take a class, you move on.
This is great – we’re so empowered! But the flip side is that our learning is less a steady progression of things building on one another, and more lots of different individual areas of learning that eventually connect. So even if you’ve knit a bunch of sweaters you love, there’s likely to be some new approaches, tricks, and ways of looking at sweater knitting in the class.
I hope you love taking the class as much as I loved making it. Here’s one more link to take the class for 50% off – and I’ll see you at Craftsy!