Learn to Knit a Men's Sweater

Uploaded by verypinkknits on 18.10.2011

In this tutorial weíre going to be learning to knit a menís sweater, this one here.
And if youíd like your own copy of the pattern to follow along, itís available over on my
website, Iíve also provided a link in the video description below.
In this tutorial weíre going to learn about measuring and sizing for a good fit, weíre
going to learn about getting started at the neck cuff and working an icord edge which
will eventually allow for the zipper, weíre going to learn how to work raglan increases,
and then eventually separate the sleeves to knit the body of the sweater, weíre going
to learn about switching from knitting a flat piece to knitting in the round, weíre going
to learn how to put in a zipper in our knitted work, and weíre going to learn how to do
some tidy finishing work.
So first up weíre going to cast on and get started with the ribbing.
The first thing youíll want to do if youíre following along with the menís sweater pattern,
is youíre going to want to take a chest measurement for the guy youíre knitting this for, or
of yourself.
So take a chest measurement, and the listing in the pattern is for an actual chest measurement.
Weíve talked about ease in tutorials before, and in this one there is two inches of positive
Meaning there is a little bit of extra room in the sweater.
Itís enough so that this sweater can be worn over a shirt, very easily.
So youíll want to go with the exact chest measurement.
This one is knit for a 42 chest measurement, but the actual measurement of the sweater
is 44.
Two inches of ease, like I said.
So youíll want to determine what size youíre knitting, and then I always suggest taking
a pen or a highlighter, and going through the whole pattern and highlighting the numbers
that youíre going to be using for that sweater size.
Otherwise youíll be in the middle of knitting and watching tv at the same time and youíll
jump to the wrong number.
Ask me how I know this.
So that is how youíre going to determine your size.
Next up, weíre going to look at getting started.
With, umÖwell, let me start here.
Weíre starting at the neck cuff.
The cuff of the neck is two by two ribbing and then we move into a six by one ribbing
for the rest of the sweater.
So weíre going to start here with the cast on number and two by two ribbing.
Letís take a look.
Youíre going to want to leave yourself a long tail for the long tail cast on.
And if you are confused about how much to leave, start with like a six inch tail.
And wrap the yarn around the needle, like this, for every stitch that you want to cast
Usually Iíll wrap half or a quarter of the total number of cast on stitches that I need,
and then just double it, quadruple it, like that.
And if you need a review of the long tail cast on, Iíll give you a link right here.
So Iím starting with a slip knot, and Iím going to cast on my stitches.
And youíll cast on the number that the pattern says for your size.
Iím not going to cast on the whole number, I just want to demonstrate a couple of things.
First is ñ let me pull in the sweater.
Along the sides of the zipper, we have an icord edge.
And that makes it really nice and tidy around the zipper.
So we have to maintain this on every row for the first part of the sweater.
And to do this, on a right side row, it says to slip three with the yarn in back.
So you have the yarn back here.
You slip three stitches without working them, and you always put your needle in as if to
purl, so you donít twist it.
Then you knit the next stitch.
And weíre going to be working two by two ribbing, so Iíll knit the next stitch as
And then yarn forward to purl two.
Yarn back to knit two.
Yarn forward to purl two.
And when I yarn forward, Iím just pulling the yarn, the working yarn, forward between
the two needles.
And then I want to show you on the wrong side of the work, weíre going to slip three with
yarn in front to maintain that icord edge.
So I slide ñ my yarnís in front here. I slip one two three stitches to the right needle
without working them, and then I purl the next stitch.
And then Iím just going to continue in rib, with the way that I established it in the
first row.
Now letís talk a little bit about working really nice ribbing stitches.
I have knit up a sample here, and Iíve really made a mess of this.
This is the six by one rib sample.
And you can see here and here, I havenít even pulled this apart yet.
There are the purl stitches hidden in there, this isnít blocked, so you canít really
see the ribbing very well.
But you can obviously see that the stitch next to the ribbing is a mess. The tension
is a mess, it shouldnít look like that.
Hereís the nice example!
You canít even tell where the rib stitches are, excuse me, until I pull it apart like
this. Then you can see.
That is nice tension in ribbing.
And I want to show you really quickly how to achieve this.
Some people think that if you just pull the stitches really tightly in ribbing that it
will give you nice tension.
Thatís not exactly true.
Thereís a place where you want to tug to make sure that it stays nice.
And Iím showing you this in the six by one rib because I was able to make a better example
using this rib.
But itís the same with six by one or two by two rib, that youíre working in the cuff.
So here I am at a purl stitch. Iíve worked six knit stitches.
Iím going to yarn forward and purl, and yarn back.
And this is where I give the tug. Right here. Before I go on to the next knit stitch.
Now the reason that ribbing ends up looking sloppy sometimes is itís the action of pulling
the yarn forward or back to change from knitting to purling, that leaves a little bit of extra
yarn between the two stitches, that makes the stitches next to that look loose.
Let me show you again on this.
Iím going to work up to the next purl stitch.
What we want to do is eliminate the yarn thatís dragging between the needles on the yarn forward
and yarn back.
So Iím going to yarn forward, and sometimes on this, well, usually on this Iíll take
my index finger and actually push that knot forward right there.
To eliminate distance between the last stitch and the next stitch.
Iíll do that again.
The last stitch was knit, so the bottom of the stitch is here.
Yarn forward, and push that forward, like that.
Purl the next stitch.
And Iím going to go back to knitting now, so I yarn back, and I tug right here to eliminate
drag between the two stitches.
Next up, weíre going to talk about working the raglan increases and placing markers.
Once youíve finished knitting the neck cuff, then weíre ready to move on to the body of
the sweater and start the raglan increases.
The increases are increases that happen here, here, and the same thing in the back.
And knitting a sweater like this allows us to knit the front, the sleeves, and the back
all at the same time.
Itís also a way to make sure that youíre going to end up with a sweater that really
fits well when itís finished because you can try the sweater on while youíre knitting
Now, um, youíve finished the neck cuff. Weíre going to start with placing the markers and
knitting the raglan increases.
And your first row is a setup row, where youíre going to be purling and placing the markers,
so letís take a look.
I have an itty bitty sample here. Your neck cuff will be longer than this.
But your purling, and to place a marker, you just need a little ring marker like this,
you put it on the right needle, and you keep going.
And thatís all it takes to place a marker.
And once I get to the end of this, Iíll show you what it looks like all together.
We have four markers. This is the front, this is actually the left front.
This is a sleeve, this is the back.
This is a sleeve, and this is the right front.
I promise that it all works out! [laughs]
And this is a right side row. And every right side row is an increase row.
Iím still going to maintain the icord edging, so Iím going to slip three with the yarn
in back.
And knit one.
And youíll be following your pattern here, because Iím just going to knit because Iím
not reallyÖthis sample isnít really big enough to do the six by one ribbing.
But youíll want to follow your pattern to make sure that the ribbing stays on track.
Okay, so here we are. Weíre left with just one stitch left before the marker.
Iím going to do a make 1 right, and Iíll demonstrate this more slowly in just a moment.
Iíll knit one, slip the marker, knit one, and now I do a make 1 left.
Those are the two increases around the marker.
Iíll work in ribbing, following the pattern up to the next marker.
Make 1 right, knit one, slip marker, knit one, make 1 left.
Let me show you the make 1 stitches a little better.
The make 1 is a one stitch increase, and we have a right leaning and a left leaning version
of it.
We use the bar between two stitches to make this stitch.
And to do a make 1 right, we take the tip of our left needle and put it in front to
Whoops! I just did that backwards!
We put it in back to front.
Show you again, back to front.
And we knit that stitch through the front loop, like this.
And weíve made a stitch where there was not one before.
So make 1 right, you pick it up back to front, the bar between two stitches, and knit through
the front loop.
To do a make 1 left, weíre going to take that same bar, pick it up front to back, and
knit it through the back loop.
One more time.
Take the tip of the left needle and the bar between the two stitches, pick it up front
to back, and knit it through the back loop.
So youíll follow your pattern. Youíll continue knitting in the ribbing and the raglan increases
until you get to a point where the front zipper opening of the sweater is 12 inches long.
Weíre going to go from knitting a flat piece to knitting in the round.
Thatís what weíll cover next.
Now youíve gotten to a point in the sweater where youíve knit the raglan increases for
12 inches, which is length of the zipper opening of the sweater.
Since this is a pullover, from there on down the sweater is one piece. And itís not a
cardigan with a zipper all the way down.
So when we stop knitting a flat piece and start knitting in the round, we need to do
something to make sure that the point where the bottom of the zipper is, is secure.
And itís not just going to ñ if it was just normal stitches, it would be a weak spot in
the sweater and pull apart.
So this is a little technique that I made up to fix that.
Here is my itty bitty sample.
And I have too many stitches on here to really flatten it out and show you what it looks
like, but here are my four markers.
The first thing I do is Iím going to need a double pointed needle for this.
Iím going to tink back. Tink is the word knit backwards.
Iím going to take out the last three stitches of the last row.
And put them on to this dpn.
This is a little bit fiddley, but itís only three stitches!
These three stitches also happen to be the icord edge that weíve been working.
So Iím going to hold the dpn behind the work, and line it up with the first three stitches
on the left needle.
The right needle is just going to hang there for a moment.
So, three stitches here, weíre going to work with these three stitches on this left needle.
Now I need the right needle. Iím going to pull it out. No, Iíd better not pull it out.
Itís not long enough for that.
Iím going to knit the first stitch from the left needle with the first stitch from the
So I put my needle in to the front of that stitch, then through the front of the stitch
behind it, wrap it, and pull it through both stitches.
So Iíve just combined two stitches into one.
Put it in to the front of the left needle ñ the first stitch on the left needle.
The first stitch on the DPN, wrap it and pull it through both stitches.
And a third time.
Now the DPNs empty, we can put that away for now.
And we have a nice join here at the bottom of the zipper.
Next up weíre going to talk about separating the sleeves.
Up until now weíve been the front, well, the two fronts of the sweater, the sleeves,
and the back all at once.
Now weíre at a point in the sweater where the body of the sweater is wide enough, and
we want to separate the sleeves and reserve them to knit them later.
So weíre going to just be working on the trunk of the body from here on out.
But we need to get those sleeves separated.
So, um, letís just take a look.
Hereís my little sample. This is the opening for the zipper here.
And weíve followed the pattern to knit up to where we need to separate for the sleeves.
Iím just working to the first marker here, following my rib pattern.
And when I get to the first marker, Iím going to leave this marker in. Iím going to take
out all of the rest of the markers in my sweater, but this is going to be the new beginning
of my round, so Iím going to leave that one in.
Now Iím going to take some scrap yarn.
I always use brightly colored leftover sock yarn. So I can really see it when I go to
take it out its easy to see, and itís also very fine.
So my tapestry needle and my sock yarn. Iím going to slide all of the sleeve stitches,
which are all of the stitches after the first marker, on to this scrap yarn.
And you always slip the stitches as if to purl. Put your tapestry needle in like youíre
going to purl the stitch, and slip it on to the needle.
I do this up to the second marker, and that marker I want to take out. I donít need it
Okay now I can break the sock yarn, and I usually tie a little knot here to make sure
[laughs] god forbid, the dogs should get a hold of it or something. I want to make sure
this sock yarn is not going to come out and leave all these stitches live.
Now weíre at the underarm part of the sweater, back here at our working yarn.
Whoops. I lost the marker that I put here. There it is.
Thereís my marker. I want to make sure that stays there.
Iím going to use the backwards loop cast on method to cast on stitches here under the
And to do that, this is a way of casting on stitches when you only have one strand to
work with.
Iím going to put my thumb on the yarn like this, flip it, and just slide that loop on
to the needle.
The yarn is in my palm like this. Thumb on the yarn, flip it, slide that on to the left
And youíll follow your pattern to get the right number of stitches.
Iím going to cast on four there.
And now skipping all those sleeve stitches, just pretend that theyíre not even there.
Just continue working the rib pattern with the stitches that are waiting for you there
on the left needle.
And you see these sleeve stitches are just stuck here on this scrap yarn.
And youíll continue around until you get to the next marker. Slide all those stitches
on to scrap yarn until you get to the final marker, and then youíll remove those two
markers, cast on using the backwards loop cast on the number of stitches your pattern
tells you, and just keep going around.
From there on out youíre going to be knitting the trunk, the body of the sweater. No more
You just need to maintain the rib pattern as you have it set.
And next up weíre going to talk about doing the icord bind off.
In this sweater we use whatís called the icord bind off on the bottom of the sleeves
and the bottom of the sweater, which gives it a really nice plain edge.
A lot of times youíll see the same ribbing that we used at the neck cuff at the bottom
of the sleeves and the bottom of the sweater, but this is more straight fitting. It doesnít
cinch in anywhere.
So Iíll show you what icord bind off looks like and then weíll take a look at how to
do it.
This is a little sample I knit up that weíre going to be using later in the tutorial.
This is just a normal cast on, but this is the icord bind off.
You see itís just a nice rolled edge, and it doesnít cinch in like ribbing would.
Just really, really plain.
Okay, hereís my big chunky sample so you can see how to do it.
This is just plain stockinette stitch, and the icord bind off is going to be the same
for the sleeves and the bottom of the sweater.
To start out, we do a backwards loop cast on on to this needle.
And Iím using DPNs here, but youíll be using the circular needles or DPNs that you were
So just like the underarm casting on, weíre going to put three stitches on to the needle.
That will get us started.
We start by knitting two.
This is kind of a slow going bind off, but itís worth it.
Knit two, slip the next stitch as if to knit. Meaning you put your needle in there like
youíre going to knit it, but donít work it. Just slide it over.
And then knit the next one.
Then youíre going to take the stitch that you slipped, which is the second one in on
the needle, and pass it over the other stitch, binding that off, essentially.
Then slide those three stitches back on to the left needle.
So thatís the process.
You knit two, slip the next stitch as if to knit, knit one, and then pass the slipped
stitch over the last stitch on the needle, leaving you with three.
Slide those back on the left needle.
Slip one, knit one, pass it over.
And then thereís your icord edge.
This is very chunky. [laughs] You can see.
Next up weíre going to talk about doing finishing work on the sweater.
I want to quickly talk about doing some nice finishing work on the sweater.
Youíve put all this work into it so far, so we want to make sure its nice, and the
last little bits you do are really nice and finish the sweater up nicely.
The first thing that I want to talk about is the neck.
And this is the full sized sweater.
And when I was doing this, I wanted to make the ridge between the neckline and the rest
of the sweater fixed.
And not something that could be loose and spread out over time and over wearing it.
And so thereís one trick that I did, that I want to show you.
Letís take a look.
If I open up the zipper.
Iíve put in this cord right between the neck cuff and the rest of the sweater.
It is just this cord that has no give to it. You could also use bias tape, I suppose.
Itís something I found in my sewing basket, I donít even know why I had it.
But itís perfect for this.
And I just used a regular sewing needle and regular sewing thread, no yarn or anything.
To stitch this down, just grabbing a little bit of the back of each stitch here as I went
So that makes this fit up around the neck really nicely and not spread out at all.
Just a little trick you can decide to do if you want it to fit like that.
Now I want to show youÖwell, Iíll show you something else now.
While youíre knitting this, youíre probably not seeing the rib as it is here like this.
And thatís because the rib doesnít really show until you block it.
An when you wash it and block it, you want to take a measuring tape and make sure that
this is being stretched out to the size that itís supposed to be.
And when you do that, the purl ridges will come through and then youíll see the pattern
in the sweater.
But yours is probably all smushed up like this right now if itís still unblocked.
The last thing I want to show you, hereís the little icord bind of sample again.
I want to show you how to weave in this end and correct this gap right here.
So we have our tapestry needle.
We want to connect this end of the icord to this end.
And to do that, Iím going to take my tapestry needle and go into a V over on this side,
the first V over on this side.
And when I pull that tight, that pretty much seals it up.
Iím going to go back down into the same hole I came out of, and there, that looks a lot
But we still have a little gap underneath.
To fix that Iím just going to weave in the end, whoops, around that gap to close it up.
And that looks really good. And youíll do that at all the icord edges, the edges of
the sleeves and the bottom.
So now you want to go ahead and block your sweater so itís full size when we go to put
in the zipper, coming up next.
So now you have a completely knitted sweater, and the last thing we have to do is to put
in a zipper.
You want to go ahead and wash and block this and set it out flat to dry before we do the
We want the sweater to be the full size, blocked and everything, before we put the zipper in.
And to put the zipper in Iím using a technique I learned from Interweave Knits magazine which
is really smart.
Itís a way of making the zipper into another knitted piece, which makes it seam really
nicely into the sweater.
If you are going to try to machine sew or hand sew the zipper into the sweater, it will
never ever come out as well as it does with this technique.
Iíve put a little bit of a twist on the technique. Let me show you how it goes.
Hereís my little sample piece, and of course my sweaterís not finished, but the part that
weíll be using is finished, and this is blocked to be the full size.
The first thing Iím going to do to save myself a lot of math is to create my own ruler.
I want to look at purl bumps, so I just turned the sweater inside out.
And I found the ribbing section here with the purl bumps.
Iím going to take a piece of paper and mark every ñ Iím lining up with one column of
purl bumps.
And mark every other purl bump along the way here like this.
Thus creating my own ruler.
Iíd want to use the length of this whole piece of paper.
Then I jump over here to the zipper.
And if youíre using a light colored zipper itís easy to see, if you use a Sharpie or
something, but since Iím using a black zipper Iím using a white colored pencil to make
the marks on the zipper.
So Iíll line this up, you can see that I already have some marks on here.
Well, actually, Iím not sure if you can see them!
But Iíll make them darker.
And I learned to go ahead and do this in sections, because the colored pencil does rub out and
you end up redoing it.
So Iíll do like half the zipper, and then mark the other half, and do the other side.
But thatís enough for now, for demonstration.
Now itís time you need this little tool called a knit picker.
And itís available at any craft store ñ I was surprised. I had never heard of one
It is a little tiny latch hook. Iíll put it against the black background. Do you see
this? Black background. Thereís this little latch here.
A hook and a little latch.
Itís actually made for fixing snags in sweaters, but it works so well for this.
So Iím going to take the knit picker and poke it through the first spot that I marked
on the zipper.
Take my working yarn.
Put it around the hook and then close the latch.
Iíll pull that through.
Now I have a loop in my zipper.
I need one thing that I donít have here.
There we go.
This is a size 7 double pointed needle that I used ñ the same size that I used for the
Iím just using this for size.
Iím going to put it in that loop and tighten it up.
Now I know my loop is the right size, I can pull that out, go back to the knit picker,
open the latch, put it through that loop, and poke it into the zipper in the next marked
Take the working yarn, put it around the hook, close the latch, and pull that through.
And when I pull that through I not only pull it through the zipper, but through the loop,
the last loop that we made.
Get the double pointed needle in there and tighten it up.
And make sure that itís tight on the back as well.
You can end up with a pretty messy looking back of the zipper if youíre not careful.
Like what I have going right here, right now.
Thatís better.
Back to the knit picker, open the latch, through the loop, poke it into the next marked spot.
Whoops, Iím trying to do this with the wrong hands.
Into the hook, close the latch, pull it through, size it with the DPN.
And this is a little fiddely, but you do get into a groove where your hands just kind of
know what theyíre doing. You donít have to think about it so much.
Okay one more time.
Okay so youíll want to finish this.
Well, let me show you what we have here, isnít that awesome.
Little Vs just like knit stitches, along the sides of the zipper.
Thatís going to make it really easy to seam it into the sweater.
Letís go back to the sweater.
Or the little half sweater here.
So youíll want to use your own judgment here.
Put the zipper in like this.
You can have it lined up so that the zipperís completely hidden, or so that a little of
it shows.
Thatís up to do.
It depends on how far you sew it in here, of course.
So, what youíll want to do then, to sew this in is to take your tapestry needle and a piece
of yarn, go sideways through the first V that you see, and vertically through two purl bumps
over here.
Back over here and this way through a V, and then down and through two purl bumps over
And you know itís going to work out, because we actually made the ruler that we used on
the zipper from the purl bumps in the sweater.
So grabbing two purl bumps over here will match up perfectly with one of the Vs over
And then youíll want to fold these ends down and hand sew them with just a needle and sewing
thread. Thatís what I did. Just tack them down.
Once you get the zipper put in youíll probably want to use a steam iron to smooth the whole
thing out without pressing down.
Just use steam and then pat it out with your hands
Zippers can melt under really high heat, depending on what kind of zipper youíre using.
So just steam is fine.
Good luck.