It's sweater weather! With so many styles, how do you decide which sweater to make?
As a beginner or advanced beginner, looking at sweater patterns can be daunting. Personally, if you are just starting out, I think there are a few things to think about and look for in a pattern that will help you to know where to start. Many people don't like sewing, for those who prefer not to sew always look through the pattern and see if it is made in pieces or if it is made in the round. Your notes section will most likely tell you about a sweaters construction, but if it doesn't, simply look through and see if you make a back and a front section, or if these are made at the same time.
The other piece of sewing that can't be avoided in some styles are the sleeves. If you are working a top down cardigan (my favorite style especially for beginners) you typically do not need to do any sewing whatsoever. However just because you see those telltale raglan increases on a sweater doesn't mean it's worked seamlessly. If it's worked from the bottom up there is a possibility that your sleeves are worked separately and sewn in. Look for sleeve construction and the words - pick up _ stitches- or - place _ stitches on holder- these words indicate that you will not need to sew in sleeves but rather will either pick up or use live stitches to construct your sleeve and/or shoulder seam.
My favorite trick, is to use your favorite store bought sweater as a guide and pick something similar when first starting so that you can match it's measurements. I believe this is the single most important piece of advice I've heard in regards to learning how to make sweaters that fit. Making your sweater fit is the most challenging part of sweater construction, so don't skip your gauge swatch. Many people try to skip this step or do it incompletely. If you want a truly good gauge swatch, Suzi suggests, that you make a 6x6" square then bind it off and wash it just like you will your finished sweater before measuring your stitches per inch. This step should never be skipped if you wish to have a beautiful and fitted end project. By binding it off and washing it before measuring, you know what the final gauge will be instead of a rough estimate that can and will change after washing. If you are going to invest hours of time into a sweater, it makes sense to take an hour ahead of time to check this important step.
No matter what you choose we have the yarn and support you need to finish a beautiful sweater here at the Yarn Outlet. Come in and join a group to help keep you committed to your goal. Take a class to learn the basics of sweater making or finishing which includes seaming. Whatever you need we are here to support you.