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Helpful tips for knitting your first sweater

November 20, 2017
By Janina Kallio

Calluna sweater pattern from Woolenberry

Love Calluna but never knitted a sweater before? If you know how to knit, purl and do simple increases and decreases, you know how to knit a sweater! All you need to do is simply follow the clear step-by-step instructions in the pattern and you’ll have a handmade sweater in your wardrobe before you know it.

I know the thought of knitting a sweater can be a bit overwhelming, so I wanted to address some of the common concerns and give you some tips on sweater knitting.

Is gauge really important?

To end up with a sweater that fits you the way you want it to, getting the correct gauge is essential. Even though swatching can be tedious, taking the time to do it pays off. As Calluna is knitted in the round, it’s important that you also knit the swatch in the round. Start with the needles used for the body and adjust them into a smaller or a larger size until you get the correct gauge. Also note that your gauge may change depending on the circumference of your knitted piece, so every now and then while knitting, measure your gauge and make adjustments if needed. Especially when starting the sleeves after knitting the body.

Why are there so many different needles?

For a snug fit, the ribbed sections are knitted with smaller needles than the stockinette body. And the different pieces of the sweater have different circumferences: the neck, yoke, body and sleeves all have different stitch counts, so one needle length won’t work for all of them. The pattern clearly states what needles should be used at different parts, so you don’t have to worry.

How do I know it will fit?

Measure your actual bust circumference and then add to it either positive ease (a few cm/inches more) for a cosy sweater, or negative ease (zero to few cm/ inches less) for a fitted sweater. For example, if your actual bust circumference is  107 cm / 42 inches, you could choose to knit Calluna in size L (finished bust 114 cm /45 inches) to get a comfy and cosy sweater. Or you could knit it in size M (finished bust 104 /41 inches) for a fitted, figure-hugging sweater.

Choose a size with the best fit based on your bust size, desired ease, and your gauge swatch, and maintain the gauge throughout the sweater. Calluna is knitted top-down in the round, so it’s easy to try it on while you’re working on it. It’s a good idea to check the fit after separating the body and sleeves and then later on to get the length you want for the body and the sleeves.

Why is it in fingering weight?

I chose fingering weight yarn because I wanted to create a sweater that would be warm without adding bulk. The resulting sweater is lightweight and well suited for different seasons. It works as a great layering piece (you can even wear it under a cardigan) and is a true wardrobe staple.

I hope you find these tips helpful and the thought of knitting your first sweater less scary. And remember that help is always near. You can contact me via email or post your questions and join the discussion on Woolenberry Ravelry group.

Ready to cast on for a sweater? See Calluna on Ravelry. Happy knitting!

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