The Ultimate Sweater Book

This is my fourth book on sweaters, and at this point it’s pretty fair to ask why I wanted to write another sweater book!

My Ultimate Sweater Book is designed to be a comprehensive, everything-you-need-to-know reference for designing and modifying sweater patterns. Need some detail about fibers and fabric? Drop-shoulder formulas? Modifying an hourglass pattern into an a-line one? Adding a pocket? Whatever else you might be thinking of?

I’ve got you covered.

I tried to make this book helpful no matter where you’re coming from in your sweater knitting. If you’re just a beginner, and want concise answers to your immediate questions – look ’em up in the index and get going! But the book will grow with you as your skills advance, too.

And, if you’re already advanced and have been wondering how to draft that set-in sleeve cap? I’ve finally written a book just for you, too:

When you’re wondering how to do any kind of off-roading or designing in your garments, this book will give you clear answers and guidance. The Ultimate Sweater Book is organized into four major sections.

Part I: The Basics.

I start the book off with sweater basics: Those unadorned, wear-with-everything garments that I think we knitters often overlook.

The first chapter is all foundational – measurements, ease, swatching, and some basic formulas.

Then, I devote an entire chapter to teaching you how to draft your own patterns from scratch. For Drop Shoulder, Raglan, Yoke, and Set-in Sleeve patterns, there’s all the math you’ll need to write your own perfect pattern.

Not really down with that much math at this point in your knitterly life? I’ve also included 12-size, 3-gauge cardigan and pullover patterns for each of the construction styles.

These basic garment patterns work well on their own – they were the models’ favorites, actually! But they also make great starting points. Throughout the book, I’ve included 4 sweater “Recipes” – sweaters that started with the basic patterns from these chapters, with some added twists.

Looking for an easy way to keep track of your basic numbers? I’ve created some handy downloadable worksheets for the basic patterns and sleeve cap calculations you might want to do. You can download the worksheets here.

Part 2: Adjustments.

This portion of the book goes into the nitty-gritty of pattern adjustments. Whereas the math in Part 1 of the book lets you draft the construction-specific numbers for any sweater, Part 2 tackles the rest.

This includes choosing a size if you’re working from a traditional pattern, but also things like:

  • The different shapes your sweater body can have, when you might want them, and how to work the shaping;
  • The different shapes and lengths your sweater’s sleeve can have, and how to make them happen;
  • How to work all of the different standard neck shapes.

Part 2 is a short section of the book, but I suspect it will be one of your most-often-used, as well.

Part 3: Embellishments.

Is it bad for me to admit that I think this is the fun bit?! Part 3 goes into all of the ways we can have fun with our sweaters as we move them beyond a basic garment.

From fabrics and stitch patterning, to shapings and edge trims, to closures and pockets, you’ve got a clear & quick reference in your fingertips.

This is also the part of the book where I offer up the sweater “Recipes” I discussed above. Here’s my favorite, the Penobscot Pullover:

I had a lot of fun coming up with 4 variations on basic sweaters, I hope you’ll like them too!

Part 4: Garments.

Because of course there are garment patterns, too!

Sometimes it’s really hard to take a bunch of text and turn it into sweater ideas, after all. So I’ve gotten you started with 24 gorgeous designs, photographed at the beautiful Sebasco Harbor Resort by the talented Burcu Avsar.

First, each of the four major construction styles has two 3-gauge, 12-size basic patterns. These unisex designs will give you a great basic starting point for pretty much any yarn / sweater combo you’d like. There are Drop Shoulder sweaters:



Raglan sweaters:



Yoke sweaters:



And set-in sleeve sweaters:



To give you an idea of the variations you can make on these basics, I’ve included four recipe-style variations on the basics too:

The Sunburst Cardigan takes the basic worsted-weight Drop Shoulder cardigan pattern and adds a tapered shape, some broken rib trim, and short rows to scoop a low hem in the back. I also changed the buttons to a single, large button just below the bust.

The Dockhouse Pullover builds on the worsted-weight Raglan pullover pattern by working the body pieces in an all-over stitch pattern. I also changed up the ribbing and added a henley notch to the crew neckline.

The Penobscot Pullover adds stripes, pockets, thumbholes, and an asymmetrical collar to a basic Yoke pullover. Each change is simple to make but added together, they result in a truly special sweater.

The Mill Pond Cardigan starts with a basic Set-In Sleeve cardigan, but with a deeper neckline and slight A-line shape. I then added a slip-stitch color pattern to the top of the body pieces after the armhole shaping.

And finally, there are 8 fully standalone designs, two in each construction type. The Baxter Turtleneck and Fiddler’s Reach Cardigan for Drop Shoulder patterns:



The Meadowbrook Cowl and Jump Shot Hoodie for Raglan patterns:



The Constellation Tunic and Quiet Moment Cardigan for Yoke patterns:



And the Spring Rain Tee and Campfire Cardigan for Set-In Sleeve patterns:



You can click here to order a signed copy of my Ultimate Sweater Book from the shop – and thanks so much for your support!

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