About


My name is Cheryl Brunette and I wrote Sweater 101: How to Plan Sweaters that Fit . . . and Organize your Knitting Life at the Same Time.

I started knitting at age seven because it was safer than embroidery, and landed my first professional knitting gig in 1962, at age 14 when I was commissioned  to knit three angora sweaters for a girl at my school.

I grew up with the neighborhood go-to knitter . . . my mother. Women wandered in and out of our house at odd hours of the day and evening, needles and yarn in hand when they met one of those sticking points that can stop a knitter cold.

In a minute or less my mother would fix a “goof” or, more often, she spent more time and taught a new skill so the knitter could go on. But as long as she had a knitted piece in front of her she also inspected the whole thing. If she found a mistake there was only one solution . . . rip it out and fix it, otherwise, she told the knitter, “You won’t be happy with it.”

Some of those knitters would have been perfectly happy to ignore the mistake, but if you wanted Lena’s help, you needed to “do it right.” And people did want her help. She was a good teacher and her work was exquisite. And . . .  she was the only show in town. There were no local yarn shops in the 1950s. Department or dry goods stores sold yarn and children (girls, really) learned these skills from family members. If your family was not around or didn’t have these skills, Lena was your ticket to success.

Thus I grew up with knitting as much a part of my world as eating. It’s what we did. And although my primary profession was teaching high school English, when my son was little and I wanted to work from home it made sense to open a knitting school next door. I also worked one day a week at the local yarn shop and became “The Tuesday Troubleshooter.” Without going into too much detail, from the mid-80s to the mid 90s I taught, wrote magazine articles, hired a professional producer to create 4 instructional videos, solved hundreds of knitting problems and wrote a book. Then my life took a different direction and I no longer followed what was going on in the professional knitting world.

Bio pic 1991 (teehee)

Video cassettes went the way of old technology but Sweater 101 stuck around and when it went out of print in January, 2007, I was ready to let it go permanently OOP. It had been in print since 1991 (published originally by Patternworks) and that was a long run for any book. But just for the heck of it I Googled myself and the book. Mind you, because we home/alternatively schooled our son we were early adopters of the internet but I had never thought to do that before. Nor had I looked at anything about knitting, and Wow! I was blown away by the amount of knitting information on the web and the fact that there was a whole new generation of young, smart knitters eager for more. One of them had, in fact, blogged about Sweater 101 the week before my search. It was the first blog post I ever read and it modified my life plans. I spent the next year+ getting the book back into print and am now participating in the professional knitting life again. It’s fun to be back. I like knitters. I always have.

Beyond my knitting life I’ve taught middle and high school English, edited books, edited stories for a news agency in downtown Seoul, Korea, managed a Youth Hostel in the Pacific Northwest, toured as a singer with a Big Band, raised beef cattle, lived on three continents and done a lot of other things. I’ve spent the past eight years substitute teaching and studying video production.

You can learn more than you ever want to know about my non-knitting life and thoughts at CherylBrunette.com

38 thoughts on “About

  1. I just love this!

    Came across your YouTube videos on the Bond introductions, searching for inspiration. And I found YOU!

    I am a 46 yrs old woman from Norway. I’ve knitted since I was 6 or 7, my mother is just like yours, and I see myself in the same position more and more often. I am ofcourse also a multi-crafster, I just love to craft and learn new things.

    I have an old Bond machine, just like your on the youtube clips, inherited from my mother. I have used it quite a lot earlier, and now I want to start again.

    Oh, this was a lot about me, I just wanted to tell you how happy I am over this gemstone of a page you have here!

    Thank you!

    Love from Norway,
    Janne.

  2. Janne,

    Thank you for commenting. How wonderful it is to have love from Norway! Thank you! and you are most welcome for this page. I will continue to add things as I find them. I love the magic of being able to share things around the world.

    Cheryl

  3. Hi Cheryl

    I am a 48 years old Spanish woman living currently in England. I came across your videos in YouTube and I think they are great. I bought the bond classic about a year ago and the bond elite recently and the results are wonderful but still some odd ends that I like to perfect. I have tried to order your e-book but the page does not let me do it as it does not recognise when I change the country. Can you help me? Do you have any sugestion?

    Thanks a lot,

    Lola.

    PS: you have done a wonderful job with the videos, CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

  4. Hi Cheryl, it’s me (Lola) again. I have tired one more time and this time it has been successful. I am downloading your e-book right now.

    Regards, Lola.

  5. Hi Lola,

    I’m relieved that the download worked for you (I saw your order come through yesterday). I hope it serves you well forever. And thank you for your comment on the videos. I loved doing them. They’re old and I haven’t started my new ones yet (life is very full), but soon. I’ve been working with video for 45 years and love it. It’s a great medium to be able to teach people far away.

    Joyous knitting to you,
    Cheryl

  6. Hi Cheryl,

    I have recently purchased a Bond and had a quick question for you. I am trying to do a two color checkerboad effect on a afghan, it is a 3 stitch by 3 row block per color over 171 stitches total. Once I put my contrasting colors in holding position and begin to knit, the Bond only knits the first three stitches, skips the next three stitches in hold postion, but after that it drops all remaining stitches. Can you please tell me what I am doing wrong? Any tips or suggestions will greatly be appreciated. Thanks!

    Kesha

  7. Hi Kesha,

    What’s happening to you is common given the pattern. The yarn doesn’t want to drop back down after stranding over those 3 needles in holding position. Your mission is to get the yarn to drop back down into the first needle past the HP set. I suggest you:
    1) slow down . . . as in move very slowly.
    2) Use a transfer tool to press gently downward on yarn as it feeds into the first working needle after your group of HP needles.

    Also, don’t expect that color work, lace work and cables will move very fast on the machine. Tons faster than hand-knitting but still much slower than straight stockinette stitch.

    Let me know if this helps and good luck,
    Cheryl

  8. Hi Cheryl,

    I came across your youtube videos right after purchasing the Ultimate Sweater Machine. I then discovered your book Sweater101 and I finally feel like I understand sweater patterns and construction! Just wanted to say thanks for all of the educational videos and book. They are so clear and understandable. Absolutely amazing! I would be so frustrated without the tools you have provided. Thank you!

    Best,
    Walter

  9. Cheryl,

    is there any way I can get the Pocket Yarn Yardage Guide? I checked online and it seems to be discontinued from Patternworks. I really want to buy your book but I also want to have everything suggested in the Introduction (looking at the electronic sample online right now). Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks,

    Nissa

  10. Wow I have learned so much from you . In December I made quite a few things for Christmas. I didn’t know how to use the USM at all until I started looking at your u tube videos in Nov. 2011. And you make it seem so darn easy. I have been looking at Cynthia O’s and Diane Sullivan’s too. I have downloaded all of your things cause I cant afford to buy anything , I am disabled and on a very low fixed income. So I will keep on using the internet to learn machine knitting. THANK YOU FOR ALL OF YOUR HELP. I have searched high and low for the term (straight row decrease)in one of your videos and cant seem to find it. Is there a way for you to point me in the right direction. The largest thing I made was a size 8 sweater but I guess it was to short for my granddaughter. So when I get it back I will just rib more on the bottom. Oh I can go on and on I have hand knit for about 50 years but wanted to try machine knit .. THANK YOU ,THANK YOU AGAIN FOR ALL YOUR HELP

  11. Hi Sherrie,
    You are certainly welcome for any and all help you have had from this site and the videos, and thank you for your kindness in telling me they have helped you. I’m scratching my head about the straight row decrease. I make up terms sometimes as I go along. Or at least I used to . . . before the terms were identified as the ones to use. Can you direct me to the specific video? Was is straight-line decrease? And I can’t even remember what I thought that meant. These videos were shot 24 years ago and my life has been full since then with lots of other things. You are most welcome, again, and please give me some context for this term so I can explain it another way for you.

  12. Hi Cheryl,
    Thank you for taking your time in answering me. I cant seem to find that video right now I have played and replayed them . I do believe you called it “straight line decrease” and in the video it said it was in tips and tricks 85-86 and in key plate news #8. (I wrote that info down so I could search for it.) Its to bad I didn’t buy the incredible machine when it was out because more things came with that kit. I am going to make my own tools like the three prong and and garter bar and maybe a few other things. Thanks again for all your help < am sorry for being so winded but this is all new to me and I am terribly excited. Can you tell? 🙂

  13. Hi Cheryl – came across your videos on Youtube today and found them not on extremely helpful but inspiring. I would love to buy your book Sweater 101. Do you ship to the UK please?

  14. Hi Cheryl, love the videos. I have just been given a Bond Elite and was most excited. However excitement soon turned to dismay when after setting up and following everything carefully, I can’t cast on. I am using worsted weight and keyplate 4 as per instructions.Every time I beg,in to push the carriage across it jams on the first needle in holding position. The needles seem to stick up once I put the hemmer on. I have waxed the plate and watched your video and your carriage seems to go effortlessly, whereas mine is a reall struggle and I know I shouldn’t force it. Please help me!

  15. I started hand knitting only in December when I was preparing to have foot surgery. I knew I would spend at least six weeks doing absolutely nothing and needed to keep my hands busy while watching videos or reading all day. I know of nobody else who knits so I turned to the internet for my education. I came across your videos and was fascinated. I am a slow knitter and thought that maybe a knitting machine would be an alternative. I’ve researched and thought for weeks….the end result is that my machine will be arriving soon. I’m cutting the wood for the custom table I’m building, and it will have some added room on the side so I can put my laptop next to it and watch videos while I learn. This is a whole new world for me and I’m so looking forward to it. I can’t thank you enough for the thought, time and effort you put into your work. I’m hoping I can get my daughter interested so keep your fingers crossed.

  16. Hi Jackie,

    I’m sorry to hear you’re having so much trouble. One thing I’ve been known to do with a stubborn cast on is to “hand knit” that first row by manually putting the yarn in each hook and pulling the butt of the needle back. You can also join our Ultimate Sweater Machine Facebook page where there are many people willing and able to offer helpful strategies.

  17. Hi Cheryl, I love your videos! I grew up in a house full of knitters, but only picked it up myself recently as I’d been always preferred crocheting and never really understood the whole “two needles” bit. Intrigued by what was yet to be discovered in the world of knits, I taught myself to knit with some YouTube videos about two years ago and instantly fell in love with it! Last fall, I bought the Ultimate Sweater Machine on a fluke it is absolutely wonderful. We were strangers for some time, but watching your instructional videos has made us closer than ever! It is great that you have made these videos and your publications all available for the world to see and I am thankful that you have chosen to share it with us, otherwise I may have never even known that they existed! (I was only 3 years old in 1987, lol.) Anyhow, the craft knows no boundaries and now neither will my knitting! I absolutely can’t wait to teach the next generation of knitters in my family, but in the meantime, I’ve got more projects to make on my machine 🙂 Many thanks and well wishes!

  18. Thank you Thomas! Congratulations on already planning to teach the next generation of knitters in your family.

  19. Hi Cheryl,
    Just wanted to let you know how much I love your videos. YOu make it all look so simple. . I’m 60 Years old and just learning to knit. I started on the USM because my hands are too stiff to knit by hand.
    Anyway, don’t pick apart my English. LOL
    Jeanne

  20. Thank you Jeanne, and I wouldn’t consider picking apart your English. And bravo for just learning to knit.

  21. May I just say that after finding About | How to knit a sweater on ImpressPages, what a delight to come across somebody who seriously understands what they’re talking about when it comes to this. You truly understand how to bring a problem to light and make it significant. Many more people should really look at this and see this perspective. I can’t believe
    you’re not more prevalent, as you most certainly possess the gift.

  22. Hi Cheryl,
    I’ve completed your lesson, and I love every bit of the classes! Thank you. Funny thing. You have me now checking all basic patterns before knitting. I’m coming to find out 25% of their calculation are off…lol. Thank for making knitting so easy and fun for a beginner. God bless, and stay well.

  23. Thank you for this kind comment Cynthia. Smart move! In my experience as a trouble-shooter at a yarn shop? More than 50% of the patterns had errors of some kind. Dangerous business to follow them blindly. And I’m so glad you’re enjoying the videos. Knitting SHOULD be fun and not some white-knuckled affair.

  24. Dear Cheryl!

    I love your sweater finishing videos. I have knitted my own sweaters in the past, but I always run into trouble with the increasing and decreasing on the sleeves and sides of the sweater itself. For which I cannot say that my sweaters look sufficiently well made. Although I have yet to put in practice your suggestions for increasing and decreasing rows, I would like to ask your help in my upcoming project.

    I am trying to knit an Irish Argan sweater for Women (me), My size fluctuates from small to medium. Thus, I was wondering if you could help me. PLEASE!!!!!!

    I do not have an Aran sweater pattern, nor have I ever knitted such myself. Do you think you could start a series of you tube videos, where you could go step by step about how to knit the particular kind of stitches associated with the Argan sweater, as well as the increases and decreases for every row.

    Thanks a lot.

    Sincerely,

    – Liz –

  25. Hi Liz,
    I swear I thought I had responded to this already but I can’t find it! I’m just pulling out of fever brain. An Aran sweater is very challenging. You must do a gauge swatch for every cable and textured st that you use and calculate your number of sts from that. You can use the drop=shoulder picture pattern from Sweater 101 to plan it.

    As for your size . . . I don’t know if you like your sweaters tight or loose. I would take my largest size and work from that but that’s my personal preference.

    I have no plans right now for videos that show traditional Aran pattern sts though that sounds like fun. I’ve fallen a month behind on my production schedule because I’ve been sick and was hospitalized. I can’t even drive to my studio yet so it will take me some time to regroup. As for increases and decreases, those depend on your gauge and how you’ve chosen to shape the sleeves.

    This advice doesn’t sound very useful to me but if I were to design an Aran today I would start by choosing the yarn and making many gauge swatches of the various sts I might want to incorporate into it.

    There . . . at least a starting point. And here are some pictures to familiarize yourself with the types of sts used. http://www.aransweatermarket.com/clan-aran-sweaters Use a good stitch dictionary to find instructions for such sts.

    Cheryl

  26. HI Cheryl, I hope you are now feeling much better. I am very happy that I found your videos for the Bond. I have just bought the USM and was about ready to throw it out of the window……….the only thing that stopped me was I couldnt afford to waste that kind of money!!!!! The machine just wouldnt work properly for me, no matter what I did.
    I got my can of Lori Lin lube and sprayed the bed, plates and carriage. I must say it did work a lot better after the spraying and wiping.
    I am hoping to find the time to work my way through your videos once I have my garden ready for winter. Your videos are so much easier to follow than the DVD that came with the machine.
    Take care and keep well.
    Betty

  27. Hello
    I’m working on a men’s cardigan on the usm. I have a very hard time calculating rows. Increase and decreases. It would be nice to see how to make a cardigan or have a usm book. I checked some of the old magazines but the patterns are a bit out dated.
    Do you know why they stopped making the magazine? I wish there would be a pattern for the bond

  28. Dear Cheryl: I found your site by accident one day and just loved it. I wish I could come to Michigan and take your class but I just can’t do it. Your knitting skills are wonderful. I wonder if you could do a video on ‘how to do short rows”, I just don’t get it from all the videos I have watched because it’s for a shawl collar on a baby cardigan of k2, p2 so it’s very confusing. Thankyou for your consideration. Pat

  29. Thank you Betty . . . I got so behind when I was sick (about 10 weeks to recover) that here I am . . . just getting to old comments. I’m glad you enjoy the videos. I’m a teacher by trade so that makes a difference. I hope you’ve made a ton of progress by now.

  30. Hello Cheryl,

    I just received my book Sweater 101 and thoroughly enjoying it. Thanks for again publishing it. However, I haven’t been able to find the Pocket Yarn Yardage Guide as yet. Both Patternworks and the above web link provided to another inquirer n 2012 no longer have it. Any suggestions how to determine yarn amount for the various sweaters in you book or where else to find it? Thanks much!

  31. Hi Sandy,

    Yes. When Keepsake Quilting bought out Patternworks they decided not to make their own products, hence no more Yarn Yardage Guide and that’s when Sweater 101 went out of print. Here’s one resource: http://www.lionbrand.com/faq/96.html and here is a rather cool calculator: http://www.jimmybeanswool.com/secure-html/onlineec/knittingCalculator.asp

    There are also a print versions avaliable. Back in the olden days my mother’s standard was 6 4-oz skeins for a woman’s or man’s medium sweater which is mostly what we made. There was always some extra that went into afghans or mittens later.

    Now that I’ve done a little research on this I realize there is a lot of variation. Always err on the side of too much yarn rather than too little is my motto.

  32. Hello Cheryl,
    I have enjoyed watching your video on scallop modular knitting. I noticed that you had mentioned there would be a written set of directions to accompany the visual and verbal demonstration. Do you have any idea where I can acquire or purchase it. I am in love with this form of knitting and am looking forward to giving it a shot.
    Thank you for time, Kathleen

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