Screwing up my courage for my first sweater

Hey all! I really need some advice here; when I was living in Scotland I bought this burly purple-heather yarn from a facinating 18th century Lanarkshire steam-driven woolen mill...enough I hope to do a sweater. I've found a picture of a design I like (see the pic--though it's in silk in the pic and my wool is worsted, so I know the texture will be more robust...which I want.)

1) Where could I go to find a general pattern that is similar enough to follow the 'cut' of the sweater and still allow me to alter it to suit the idea of this?
2) would this sweater come out the same if I knit this up with the yoke and sleeves in one piece like the icelandic sweaters...but with cable stitches instead of the intarsia/fair isle? and where to find a basic pattern for that?
3) I know that Elizabeth Zimmermann helped folks figure out how to do away with the sizing dilemma in sweaters, but I don't know where to start to figure out her method.
Help from y'all great guys would be much appreciated!

Image icon nordic cable sweater.jpg1.12 MB


HuskerChub's picture

This is basically a raglan with cables at the yolk. It could also be knit, I think maybe more effectively, as a round yolk with cables. Either way, personally, I would get my hands on a copy of Barbra Walker's "Knitting from the Top Down". In it, she will hold your hand a walk you through either method. If you want to look at EZ's stuff, I would start with "Knitting Around" or "Knitting Without Tears". Good Luck and I'm sure others will have ideas for you too.

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

Shawn, you've hit it right on the button. These are the ones I recommend. Easy to use and lots of information on how to go forward bravely. -- Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

PieintheSky88's picture

I agree, looks like a simple raglan. You could probably find a thousand patterns on that you could adjust a bit to add the cables, etc. I'm working on my first sweater myself, now, so I feel your pain! My best advice is to just breathe deep and chug on, paying careful attention to detail and taking your time. No rush =) Best of luck! Welcome to the group =)

*All an actor has is their blind faith that they are who they say they are today in any scene.*
~Meryl Streep

*All an actor has is their blind faith that they are who they say they are today in any scene.*
~Meryl Streep

TheKnittingMill's picture

Welcome Fred! I think Shawn gave you two of the best resources. I'm making my first top down raglan right now and it's a lot of fun! Good luck!

If some sissy tried to kick my ass I would say, "Hey, Mary, go knit me a sweater before I slap you in the face!”
--Eric Cartman, South Park

Kilthoser's picture

Thanks guys, VERY much! Shawn; If I start knitting from the yoke down and don't have enough to finish, will it look funny to have the bottom half in a different yarn and colour? Are the sleeves worked in the yoke method at the same time as the body? And it's been so long since I've played with cable stitches that I'm going to have to relearn; how many cable needles do you generally need at one time? (I only have one that I scrounged from a yard sale at some point!)

Body by God; shetland socks courtesy of Fred

"Body by God; shetland socks courtesy of Fred"

MMario's picture

you usually only need one cable needle at a time, unless you are using another to hold some stitches in reserve...(for a sleeve gusset or some such thing).


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

Chris Vandenburg's picture

There is a pattern in the book "Men In Knits" by Tara Jon Manning. That was a success for my first sweater. I don't have the book in front of me because I'm currently out of town. But it is sort of a rustic sweater that is knit from the top down and knit in the round. (no purling) But basically it has a 6 rows of stocking net stitch at the coller, cuffs and hem then ribbed and the rest is stocking net. You put the sleeve stitches on yarn holders and then knit them down.

It may not be what you are looking for, but it was a confident pattern for my first sweater.

Best wishes, and keep us posted on this project. SCREAM!!!!!!!! if you need help, advice or just want to cry or bitch if something goes wrong.


PS. I envy you for having lived in Scotland...... I love that country! Almost as nice as Texas! LOL

"If a man has cream at home in the refrigerator he won't go out looking for 2% butterfat"
............Erma Bombeck

teejtc's picture

I'm about 2/3rds done with the "Cable Guy" sweater in "Son of a Stitch and Bitch" -- I'd recommend it. It's simple enough to require little thinking but still fun.

If you'll allow me to give one real suggestion it'd be: use good yarn. The first sweater I made for myself turned out great; I love it... but used cheapo yarn and because of that never wear it. If I had spent more on the yarn I'd wear it all the time....

Have fun!

Grace and Peace,