CustomFit Off-roading: The Spider Sweater

Happy Friday, knitters! Last week, I uploaded a new tutorial to the site – 5 tips for successful gift sweaters:

I mentioned the tutorial in my newsletter, and several of you wrote asking about The Spider Sweater I featured:

I made this sweater for Jacob several years ago – making up the pattern on the fly – and never wrote it down or released it. But this week I realized the Spider Sweater was the perfect opportunity to start a sometimes-blog-series I’ve been thinking about: CustomFit Off-Roading.


This blog series will be a mix of general inspiration and instructions for pushing CustomFit beyond its native abilities, and using CustomFit as the base for creating cool garments. Jacob’s Spider Sweater seems like a great place to start, given the Gift KAL timing, but I’m excited to showcase lots of other ideas here, too. (Both my own, and others’!)

The steps to off-roading are pretty similar to the CustomFit Mash-Up tutorial, except you’re making something new up:

  1. Identify the choices you’ll make in CustomFit’s Build Your Own Design wizard that are as close to your goal as possible.
  2. Make your CustomFit pattern!
  3. Identify all of the changes you’ll make to the basic pattern and write them down before you pick up your needles.
  4. Get knitting.

I’ve made up a handy worksheet you can use for the process, if you like. For each project I showcase, I’ll go through the above list and provide a filled-out version of the worksheet. I’ll use photographs and sketches to help you step through the process


When he was a wee lad, Jacob asked me to make him a sweater with a spider on it. “But not a cutesy spider, mum. A scary spider. Out of stitches, not with colors.”

Done and done.

The sweater starts with a plain pullover base, onto which I added a Reverse Stockinette panel, a single twisted stitch for the spider’s web, and the spider itself. (I directly used a chart from Barbara Walker’s Charted Knitting Designs).

Using CustomFit to make a Spider Sweater of your own is pretty simple, once you have the chart:

  1. Get your CustomFit pattern. Either use the Build Your Own Design wizard to create a basic pullover pattern, or (honestly) make a Tramontane pattern.
  2. Set up your Panel. Identify the 29 stitches starting at the left armhole edge (as worn) and moving toward the center of the sweater. Mark them for the Spider panel.
  3. Work the panel as you knit from the CustomFit pattern. On the back of the sweater, work these stitches in Reverse Stockinette with a single Twisted Stockinette stitch in the center. On the front, work entirely in Reverse Stockinette for a couple-few inches. Then work the chart for “The Spider” on page 35, from Row 52 down to Row 1. (This makes her head point toward the bottom of the garment.) Once you’ve completed the body of the spider, turn the center stitch into a Twisted Stockinette stitch to the end of the piece.
  4. Finish the garment. Knit the sleeves as written in your CustomFit pattern, working one RS row as a purl row to create the ridge at the top of the ribbing. Do the same thing for the first row of your neck trim.

That’s it! Now you can make a Spider Sweater for anyone you like, out of any yarn you like. (Pretty cool!) I’ve made up a PDF worksheet for the process: download by clicking here.


Hope you have an amazing weekend, and that you’ll join us over on the Gift KAL thread in Ravelry if you decide to make a Spidey of your own. Happy knitting!

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