Thinking about Sweaters...

Yup, that's right; I've been thinking again and I'm looking for a little input. I really like working in the round; however, there are several sweater patterns that I'm interested in but they are all done in pieces. Also, the patterns all say "work front as back." Shouldn't I be able to work the body in the round and then work the front and back separately when I start to work the shoulders? I don't know; it just seems to make more sense.



New York Built's picture

Dear Buck:

Yes, you can convert just about any sweater pattern into circular knitting. Luckily, more and more people are rediscovering this fine aspect of our craft. To ease you into the concepts involved, may I suggest you purchase, borrow or dig out from under the stacks of math books and student work from 2004 ANY one of these three invaluable tomes:

(As a nod to your profession, this simple heuristic)

EZ's Knitting Without Tears AND/OR
Barbara G. Walker's Knitting From the Top Down AND/OR
Priscilla Gibson-Roberts' Knitting In The Old Way.

All three have all the technical information and simple directions to make just about any sweater you have a pattern in hand, OR, how to make your own pattern or modify someone else's to fit you or anyone else.

Knitting now for almost five years, I have yet to make a sweater in pieces. Made no sense to me then, makes even less now after making ten or so. All three authors offer their own take on why we have gotten to this state of affairs. Unfortunately, I suspect this current generation fears doing much without a cookbook recipe and Twitter bloglets from friends for reassurance. But I may be wrong...I hope.

"Think...then write...then rewrite...THEN publish."
- Mark's bathroom mirror sticky note to himself.

Every person I encounter teaches me more about myself. Without whom not.

albert's picture

I second the below-mentioned books- all "must haves".

rdought's picture

Buck, I've invested all of the aforementioned books and they really are fabulous. I was particularly delighted by "Knitting from the Top", which provides great opportunity to try on a piece as its worked, which should make fitting less of a headache. I've plans to begin a top-down sweater once I've worked through a couple more of my holiday-season gifts--which is to say, on December 26th. :-)

vsidart's picture

Knitting Top Down is one (very small) step down from EZ's books. Highly recommended, and spot on topic for what you're thinking. (and yes, you're right, it is the same. Almost.)

ronhuber's picture

For me, there is something really basic and wonderful about knitting sweaters, mitts, hats, socks, and scarves to keep me warm. In a way it keeps me in touch with those who have gone before. I prefer knitting a sweater to a scarf since it is much more interesting and in many cases a lot less knitting. And it is just as easy. Knitting a sweater in the round is a lot faster and easier for me but not for everyone. Some people really like the idea of making pieces and constructing them into something. Have you thought of starting with a vest?? EZ has recipes for those as well and they are really close to instant gratification. Take the plunge and just do a sweater in any form and then branch out and experiment.

mrossnyc's picture

You are correct in thinking that flat patterns can be converted to round without much problem. I read Knitting in the Old Way and Knitting Without Tears when I started knitting and they were both helpful in figuring out how to knit sweaters. I've also used the guidelines for making a sweater in Knitting in the Old Way to convert a flat pattern to a round pattern.

My next sweater will be from Knitting Without Tears and the one after that is going to be my first top-down sweater using Knitting from the Top.

Good luck!

Buck Strong's picture

Yup...I have both of these books, which are probably what got me to thinking that I could knit the flat patterns in the round. I should follow my own advice. I always tell my kids to do what ever they want to their math problems in order to solve them. Same thing here; I can do what ever I want.

Thanks guys!

"A man may fight for many things. His country, his friends, his principles, the glistening tear on the cheek of a golden child. But personally, I'd mud-wrestle my own mother for a ton of cash, an amusing clock and a sack of French porn." Blackadder

To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring-it was peace.
~Milan Kundera

New York Built's picture

I just KNEW you had them tucked away under a cloud of detritus from life. You are too smart not to have them...LOL.

"Think...then write...then rewrite...THEN publish."
- Mark's bathroom mirror sticky note to himself.

Every person I encounter teaches me more about myself. Without whom not.

Contrarian in-the-round knitter that I am, I remind you that if you suspect that might need to make major adjustments after you think you're done with the body (especially with the width of the body), separate front and back might be the way to go. This problem afflicts people like me who don't plan well enough ahead of time, or when the intended recipient refuses to sit still to get measured (my problem with my sons until I started using their clothes for measurements), or when the intended recipient gains a lot of weight during the knitting. To a large exent, ones preference depends on how much one is willing to rip out.