Designing a sweater – Part 2: Research and Execution

See part 1 here.


Once I had selected the yarn, I sat down and wrote a chart for the zig-zag pattern. This was the important feature of the original that I didn’t want to change and probably the easiest figure out.

ZigZag Chart

In order to plan the sweater, I needed my gauge and I wanted to make sure the chart translated well from fingering (original) to DK (my tribute). It’s a good thing I did, because I realized that I needed to make the ziz-zag stripe a little wider. It was super important to block the swatch, because it grew in size and filled in. Without blocking, the fabric looked a little loose, but I knew after blocking the swatch that I had the right needle size.  I measured the swatch, blocked it, then measured it again. I knew I needed a 42″ sweater, so I was able to determine the number of pattern repeats would fit based on the width of the swatched pattern (14 repeats!).

Don’t forget to block your swatch, it can make a huge difference.

I went to my local LYS and they looked up the amount of yarn I needed for a 42″ DK sweater vest using this handy guide ( it estimated slightly more than I needed, which I appreciate).

Then the true research came. I needed to decide the best way to construct the upper torso, so I read many free online patterns. The three most popular methods seem to be:

  1. Knitting the front and back flat and seaming the entire vest.
  2. Knitting in the round until the arms, separating the front and back, then knitting flat (knitting the two sides of the v-neck separately).
  3. Knitting the entire project in the round and steeking.

I didn’t want to do option 1 (the wrong side would be a pain). Since I knew I would do the bottom half in the round, I had a lot of time to plan the exact execution while I worked on the main body.


I changed my mind about three times. After talking to a lot of people online and in my LYS, I found out that possum wool is slick and would have been a poor choice of wool to learn to steek with. I ended up choosing option 2.

The only other choice was the shape of the V-neck, which I did on the fly. I read more patterns to determine the best way to execute the decreases and then continued until it tapered down to the correct width.

V-neck before picking up the collar.
V-neck before picking up the collar.

I chose to graft the shoulders in pattern. Tip: don’t do this, it wasn’t worth it and didn’t look any better than adding a row, binding off then sewing together with a mattress stitch.

Grafting in pattern.



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