What next?

A couple of question from a novice knitter....

I'm 2/3rds of the way through my first project, a scarf in stockinette. I've had a few problems, but nothing major (the occasional rip back to fix a "buttonhole", mysterious increases...etc). My long term goal is to make myself a Cable Knit Cardigan since I've always wanted to have one and they just don't exist in my size. As my knitting knowledge is increasing, I think I may mean an Aran knit, but that project is a long way off.

So, as I'm looking at my next project, its going to be a fairly simple cable scarf. I've got a pretty good support team of knitters in my area that can help me with basics, so I'm not *too* worried how that's going to go.

That's where my problem starts. I know a sweater (even a simple one) is still way out and I need a lot of practice before I can even think about trying it. But....even patterned scarves seem like they will not teach me a whole heck of a lot of the technique I need to be able to pull that dream sweater off. I need an "advanced beginner" project I think, and I think the leap from a scarf to a hat might be a bit much all at once. This leaves me with million "baby Afgan" and "Shawls" projects I can find....and I don't think I will look right wearing either one! Any advice on what I should try after that cable scarf to get closer to a sweater? I have friends that are "normal" sizes, and I could knit something for them, but I just can't find anything for a guy that will look right on a "normal" (not model shaped) dude that is within my abilities.

And the next big question.... I am not a "model" sized man. I wear a XXXL Tall, and the that tall part is important. (Unless I want to look like a plumber, and that is *not* a good look for me...). I've figured out the tall part isn't too tough; just keep knitting in pattern. But what about oversized patterns? Are there any patterns out there for large men? I'm worried "upsized" patterns intended for smaller men will look terrible. Any advice from guys who have knitted for the larger man? Books to read, methods to follow?

Thanks for any advice!

MMario's picture

Actually from scarf to cabled scarf to cabled hat would be a good progression in skills towards a sweater. Especially if you do the cabled hat in the round.

MMario - I'm not divorced from reality - we're having a trial separation

NonStopAndrew's picture

I agree with MMario, and have several pattern suggestions as well.

JDM511's picture

There is a book called the "Sweater Workshop" by Jacqueline Fee. This book walks you through Elizabeth Zimmerman's percentage system for sweater design. Before you start on a sweater, Jacqueline has you work on a sampler, which lets you attempt increases, decreases and the different skills required for making a sweater. I don't think she has you do any cables in this book, but when you feel confident to design a sweater of your own this is a good starting point, along with a cable reference book.

As a word of encouragement, if you can make a cabled scarf, then there is no question that you will be able to make a sweater. It just takes a long time to make a sweater, especially a 3XT.

Good Luck


albert's picture

You have talked yourself into believing that knitting a sweater is some mysterious process into which you must be initiated by a higher authority after you have proved your worthiness. Trust me, this aint the case. Get the Fee book and jump in feet first; you will not regret it. Google this: "gauge swatch"- learn it, live it, love it, knit it. Now get off your xxx tall butt and start knitting that sweater!

ronhuber's picture

There really is not anything mysterious about knitting a sweater. Whether you knit it in pieces or in the round (I think knitting cables in the round is much easier) A sweater is about equal to two scarves. However, a sweater is much more interesting than two thousand scarves, IMHO. Get the Fee book or the original Elizabeth Zimmermann "Knitting Without Tears"

twistknit's picture

The Jacqueline Fee book is a great book. E. Zimmermann is amazing! I think what you should do is make a baby sweater first. That way you understand the construction at a lower cost with faster results. There's always somebody out there reproducing that could use a nice handknit baby sweater. Good luck and welcome to the fold!

MasonM's picture

I agree with MMario that a hat in the round would be a good project to learn decreases and such. I'd also suggest socks as they combine a number of techniques.

I knit my first sweater, a raglan in the round, earlier this year. It really isn't that hard and I really enjoyed it.


Linux: because a PC is a terrible thing to waste


Linux: because a PC is a terrible thing to waste

knotaproblem's picture

Cabled scarf, Cabled hat, Fee book, make baby sweater.

Perfect! Thanks guys! I'll post pics of my progress.

knit_knot_eat's picture

Definitely try the hat. As a novice myself (only about 4 to 6 weeks), I got bored with my first scarf pretty quick (just finished it though). But mid way through the scarf, I moved to a hat. I finished my first hat in a about a week. All knit, in the round with one circular needle but switching to using 2 toward the end with some decreases at the top. I then did a second hat this time ribbed with 2 X 2. This was good because it really got me in the habit of switching between knit and purl stitches, not to mention having me really understand what the stitches look like because if you knit the wrong one, you mess up the ribbing (so I also learned how to back up a bit).

I really liked the hats in the round a lot better than the scarf. I just found a sweater listed as easy/beginner (knitting an purling in rows only) on the Lion Brand web site. It seemed easy enough, but I am not ready to use wool yet (and trying to figure out if I can switch the yarn type as I still don't quite get the whole gauge thing). I have tried wool before, but the way the strands are put together, I am still sometimes missing a strand and splitting the stitch. If I was you, make sure you try knitting something will the yarn you will do with sweater with, just to make sure you can handle it.

I have decided to try socks next instead to better hone my skills.
If it was me, I would recommend doing a hat. Then doing a basic sweater (or vest) without cables. Then do the cables with a scarf, and finally the cable sweater. But considering I have only done scarfs and hats, I might not be the best to ask.

MichaelJames's picture

My suggestion to you is that you jump right in and make yourself a sweater. That's what I did. I had only knit baby caps and a couple small odds and ends when I decided to make myself a sweater. I went to my LYS and purchased the book, Men in Knits because I LOVED the cover sweater.....which was/is a cabled aran (I share your love of Arans). I finished my first sweater in two weeks and in the two years since I knit that sweater, I've made so many sweaters that I've lost count! YOU CAN DO IT! The most valuable tool I ever picked up was Knitting for Dummies. Any time I ran into a question, I referred to the book and continued on. There's really nothing to it. DON'T LET ANYONE TELL YOU OTHERWISE! You've also always got a GREAT place to get really good help if you need it with the MWK site. I know I am always happy to assist if I am able.
Good luck!


Blankie's picture

I'm starting to think that one of the most disheartening things to knit is actually a scarf. It's just repetitive unless you are constantly changing pattern or it's a particularly complex pattern (a cable would be fun though). I'm in the midst of a moss stitch scarf and I'm ready to poke my eyes out.

One of the first male knitters I ever met made beautiful sweaters and his advice was great--"you don't like knitting only because you aren't knitting anything interesting."

One of my favorite commercial sweaters is a cable knit, and I particularly love it because the cables are mostly in the center with plain stockinetter in the area under the sleeves... makes for a nice slimming effect visually.