How to knit a Sweater Workshop

1) Welcome to this workshop where we will make a Drop-Shoulder Polo Sweater together step-by-step. Start here:

Download the handouts for this class HERE.

2) And now we’ll fill in your pattern by using your calculator memory.

3) Time to cast on and knit the back of the sweater. Cast on and knit the front part way . . .

4) Where and how do you bind off the front placket stitches plus a few handy tips.

5) How to shape the front of your crew neck with the placket hole in place.

6) Knit the front and back shoulder edges together with a 3-needle or “2 needles and a hook” bind-off. It eliminates a seam.

7) Learn to use the “More-or-Less-Right Formula” which Meg Swansen once said was “worth the price of the book [Sweater 101] unto itself.”

8) Use the “More-or-Less-Right Formula” to chart your sleeves and learn to pick up and knit along the armhole edge.

9) You sew the main(underarm and sleeve) seams.

10) Work in the yarn ends.

11) Pick up and knit the button band.

12) Sew on the buttons. Learn to make a thread shank if you need one.

13) Now knit the buttonhole band, lining up the buttonholes with the buttons.

14) Pick up and knit the collar.

15) The last of the details and your sweater is done!

{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

Joan Lamm February 17, 2013 at 7:26 pm

All caught up, sure hope I got it right…ready to go when you
Have I told you lately how much I thank you for what you are doing???

Cheryl February 18, 2013 at 9:28 am

Thank you Joan. You are so welcome. I’ll get the next one up today.

Cathy Timbs February 22, 2013 at 9:55 am

Can you give the link to part 5? I only found the one made for the Bond part 5. Thanks, and thanks so much for all the great work you do. I’m really enjoying Sweater 101 too. Cathy

Cheryl February 22, 2013 at 10:24 pm

It’s not up yet Cathy. If you’re a subscriber to my YouTube channel you should get an email when it goes up. I’ll work on it this weekend. I’m in the middle of a 3-week substitute teaching job so I haven’t worked on it for the past 2 weeks. I’ll also post it here. And you actually can figure out the crew-neck shaping with Sweater 101 but I’m going to be giving a more detailed explanation in the video. I’m preparing the class to go onto dvd eventually so I want it to be quite thorough. And I’m glad you’re enjoying the book.

Cathy Timbs February 24, 2013 at 11:33 am

Thank you so much. I’ve really enjoyed all your videos. I have a Bond and was pleasantly surprised when I discovered you did all those videos too. So you just feel like part of the family!! I’ve been following your instruction for a long time. I think I’ll be able to do most of sweater. The great thing for me is applying the info from the book along with you in the videos. I am particularly interested in the section on “more or less” from your book. Looking forward to all the upcoming info. You certainly have the heart of a teacher and I’m sure there are many more “students” out there like me who appreciate all your good work. Cathy

Shar'ron McConville June 4, 2013 at 2:52 am

Hi Cheryl,
After much searching I finally found a knitting teacher on youtube that makes sense to me. Thank you for your easy to follow instructions and also wicked sense of humour. I am giving you a shout out from Melbourne Australia. I am hoping to find out if you sell your books over here and if so to find your distributor.
I am particularly looking to find instructions on how to hand knit a set in sleeve cardigan for the larger woman (Australian size 22).
I cannot seem to make Patons Pattern books such as book 1210 plain cardigan with crew neck work for me or even make sense. That is the same for Patons book 1231 front cover design. It isn’t the actual knit or purl or even the “fabric pattern” I am supposed to knit that I have trouble with, but how on earth to make the sleeves fit properly in the first place. I have gone to many places to find out how, but unless I see it worked in front of me, I am pretty much in the dark.

My poor mother has watched me undo countless of hours of knitting and is at a loss because she only knows how to knit raglan sleeves. I really want to try because I like to knit for my hands as I have R.S.D and it helps with my home physiotherapy program. Not to mention how it is nice to have clothes you make yourself that actually fit. I would like to know if you have a instructional booklet or program accessible to people like me Down Under so that I can complete at least my very first cardigan. Could you possibly be able to help?

Thank you in advance,

Shar’ron McConville

Hastings, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia :-)

Betty Bobbio June 10, 2013 at 9:05 am

I am looking at your video class How to knit a sweater 101 and I find that it stops at part 8 and I am sure there is at least a part 9. Where can I find the rest of the class?

I have ordered your book but would also like to see the video


Wake Forest NC

Joyeclyn June 24, 2013 at 2:13 pm

I don’t get it. A ll these stitches and calculations are so confusing. Is there an easier way?

Cheryl June 25, 2013 at 8:34 am

You can follow a designer’s written pattern exactly as long as you can match the gauge that’s called for. That’s the more typical way to make a sweater and in that case you don’t have to figure anything out. It’s already figured out for you. Just be aware that there might be errors in the pattern and you MUST match the gauge called for if you want predictable results.

Cheryl June 25, 2013 at 8:45 am

They’re all posted now Betty. Enjoy!

Cheryl June 25, 2013 at 10:55 am

Hi Shar’ron,
I wasn’t able to find any references to either of the Patons Pattern books you mention, but a plain crew neck set in sleeve sweater is just that. And I’m not sure about a woman’s Australian size 22 but from what I did find it looks like it’s a 44″ bust? Sweater 101 does have standard sizes through a woman’s size 50″ bust (actual bust measurement). Measuring and shaping the cap of a sleeve is a bit science and a bit art. Once you have the dimensions you can shape the curve in more than one way . . . but you just want to make it smooth. You can see the resulting shape I get in the Finishing 101 video. I haven’t made any video resource to show how to calculate and shape one but that might be a good future project.

I don’t have a distributor in Australia but I do sell eBooks there. I also ship to Australia. The postage is about USD 30 for the hard cover.

I don’t know if I’ve been of any help at all but I hope so.

Cora Campbell June 29, 2013 at 12:51 pm

What stitches did you use for this sweater? I also love that I dont have to follow someone else’s gauge.

Kathryn Parker July 1, 2013 at 10:24 am

I found you through a Ravelry thread. I know you are a busy woman with many outlets for your many talents, but I still have to ask this of you. You are such an amazing teacher, please give us more basics like the one you did on Gauge! I learn best by watching and I am always looking for the “best” how to YouTubes, and you are, no exceptions, the best.

Cheryl July 6, 2013 at 12:16 pm

Thank you Kathryn, both for your kind words and for your suggestions on doing “more basics.” The next video I want to make is one about holding your yarn in your hand. I’ll just show the way I do it (the same way in both hands) . . . then I’ll have a couple on working in yarn ends. Those are pretty basic. If you have a specific question on a specific subject I can try to answer it.

Cheryl July 6, 2013 at 12:17 pm

Just stockinette and rib, so all you need to know how to do is knit, purl, cast on and decrease. Everything else I show you step by step.

Olawale sarah October 19, 2013 at 2:48 pm

Pls can u send me some handout on by email for beginner and how to make different pattern send it to i cant get knitting book here in my country pls help me out

Cheryl November 8, 2013 at 10:26 pm

Hi Sarah,
I don’t have any handouts on how to make different patterns, only the book, Sweater 101, and the couple of patterns on this website. You should be able to order the eBook version wherever you live, and if you send me an email and and tell me which country you live in, I can tell you how much it would cost to ship the book to you.

Terry Lynn December 21, 2013 at 11:28 am

Hi Cheryl,

Very much enjoyed your video. Even though I’ve knitted for quite some time, I consider myself a “basic” knitter, nothing too fancy.

I would like to know how to avoid large (stretched) stitches at the end of some rows. Do you KNIT the first one or two stitches on EVERY row (including purl rows)? I actually have not tried that and am wondering if that works. I’ve heard of it but have not done it.

I’ve been wanting to attempt charting a (basic) sweater for myself and am going to make the child size to practice and am going to check out your Sweater 101 book. I’m also going to check out what else you may have on line.

Thank you again so much for your generous tutorial.

Terry Lynn (I live in southeast Michigan)

Beatrice Hopper January 5, 2014 at 12:25 pm

Hi Cheryl,
You are the best teacher for knitting I ever seen. Wish I was in your class.
You must be aware that there are some viewers who may be hearing impaired. Can you do captioned videos for them? I always pause your videos so I can make written notes in my book. Your workbook is great and will be using it for a craft group in my community. We do crafts for charity. Sincerely, Bea Hopper

zabia January 15, 2014 at 11:43 pm

thanks a lot for every effort you do. you’ mentioned that your approach is not the only one but it is simple and I’m going to add it is more academic and self depending!

Deb Drake January 17, 2014 at 4:05 pm

I sent a message a couple of weeks ago, but have received no reply. R U there? I was checking that with the purchase of the Sweater 101 Book, that I should be able to take most patterns I have and convert them into a picture pattern that I could then knit with the gauge and yarn I want, rather than what the pattern calls for. Is this correct? Is the book still available?

Cheryl January 20, 2014 at 9:12 pm

Yes Deb, that is correct, especially if you have patterns with schematics. It’s what I’ve done for years . . . convert every sweater pattern to a picture pattern because it’s easier to work from and you catch any errors. The book is still available from and I’m sorry it took so long to answer. I’m spread all over the web (I sort of backed into this) and am only now working to establish one, streamlined presence so I can check in at one place. I have a brilliant new daughter-in-law I can ask for help.

admin January 20, 2014 at 9:21 pm

Yes, Zabia, it is academic in the sense that you must do some arithmetic, but it is very satisfying to rely on your own gauge, yarn and math.

admin January 20, 2014 at 9:29 pm

Thank you for this lovely comment Bea. I do have some of them captioned but I am not a fast typist and to hire it done is costly. I’m trying to figure out ways to both put up free videos on YouTube but also generate enough income to support myself and things like hiring the captioning done. Dvds are one way and I’m also thinking of a subscription service where people pay me some amount each month (their choice, like $5 or $3 or $9) and after they accumulate a certain amount they get premiums . . . I need to do something because I put in a lot of hours of work for very little pay and as much as I enjoy the work, I need to be more financially sustainable. I make a small amount from the ads that YT puts on my videos but it’s not enough to even pay the rent on my studio. I’ll get it figured out.

admin January 20, 2014 at 9:37 pm

Thanks Terry and you’re most welcome. I’m from MI but have lived on an island northwest of Seattle for over 30 years now. However, sometimes when I go back to visit family I squeeze in a knitting class. I just do the end sts in pattern. If it’s stockinette I knit the knit rows and purl on the purl rows. What you’re describing (stretched stitches) probably comes from not pulling the last st of the row tightly enough and then pulling too tightly on the first st which exaggerates the looseness on the row below. I can’t tell without actually watching you but experiment a little with being mindful of those end sts. I’ve seen this before, by the way and it was just a little, unconscious quirk that the person was doing. Good luck!

aya January 29, 2014 at 11:27 am

That is really hard there is so many steps that I couldn’t figure out I don’t know if it is because this is the first time I knit a sweater but I hope I can find something much more helpful… :( thank you

admin February 8, 2014 at 5:25 pm

I hope you find something that helps you. There are, in fact, many steps to making a sweater but if you take them one step at a time you can get there. Also, you might want to work from a conventional pattern that has all the numbers figured out for you. As long as you can match the gauge that will be easier for you.

Alida February 14, 2014 at 1:53 am

Good morning and thank you for your detailed instructions. I have quite a journey ahead of me since Namibia uses cm instead of inches, soooo, you can imagine my poor calculator and me doing the math. Never mind. This time I will make sure that my sweater fits as per your instructions!

admin February 20, 2014 at 8:00 pm

You are welcome and if you can learn to use your calculator memory, it should go easily. I forget which part of the video that skill is in but near the beginning. Maybe part 2?

Duke May 27, 2014 at 2:27 pm

Hi Cheryl

Almost got the front done, but I’m hung up at the beginning of the neck shaping. Because of my calculated row gauge, the placket ends with a RS row, so that I’m starting the neck shaping on a purl row. Seeing as how the neck shaping doesn’t really have to match up with anything, can I simply purl across to get me to a RS row, and proceed with the shaping from there? Thanks again!!

Cheryl May 28, 2014 at 10:24 am

Hi Duke,
Yes . . . you can add an extra row there. In fact, in all crew neck shapings one side of the neck is one row longer than the other side whether it’s a pullover, cardigan or, in this case, open with a placket. That’s because you cannot bind-off at both ends of a row so you must bind-off in opposite directions on each side of the neck opening. That means one of the rows must be worked from right to left and the other from left to right, a knit row and a purl row if you’re working in stockinette. (I hope that made sense.)


Duke May 28, 2014 at 12:43 pm

Much obliged for setting me back onto the true path of knitting JOY!! lol


Chuck May 29, 2014 at 6:05 pm

Fantastic! Thanks so much for taking the time to walk me through all the steps of this piece. I have completed my sweater and it’s wonderful. So many new techniques.
I really appreciate your videos. It was like having my own personal tutor. Very thorough and detailed. Now on to a bigger and more elaborate project for my 10 year old daughter. She will love bragging about daddy’s knittingā€¦

Cheryl May 30, 2014 at 1:43 pm

You are so welcome Chuck! And thank you for writing.
Onward! And what a lucky daughter.

Dennis June 15, 2014 at 9:06 pm

Thank you for putting out this series of videos. I have been wanting to learn to knit a sweater for several years now. I have bought several books and have not been able to figure things out on my own. I am self taught knitter who learned how to knit from YouTube. I used your videos successfully to make the sweater and I plan to buy your book sweaters 101. As a male I would not ever likely attend a knitting class, so videos like yours are very valuable to me. Thanks again for helping me build skills in a craft I love.

admin June 16, 2014 at 5:24 pm

Thank you for commenting Dennis and I’m so happy they helped you. I’ve had men in my live knitting classes before and about 12-15% of my YouTube audience is made up of men. Knitting has been a manly craft for many years. :)

elvis July 5, 2014 at 10:35 am

consulta esto c4m/1(11) y C3m/1(6) donde se utiliza??????

admin July 7, 2014 at 5:36 am

I’m sorry but I don’t understand the question. I don’t know what your number symbols mean.

Melissa September 25, 2014 at 7:11 am

I have been wanting to make me a sweater so badly but am afraid I’ll mess it up and ruin the yarn. I think I’ll start with you and give it a go. I’m crossing my fingers! Thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge.
Happy knitting,

admin September 28, 2014 at 9:21 pm

I bet you can do this Melissa. Just take one step at a time. And you are so welcome.

Barbara Rickman October 23, 2014 at 1:35 pm

Hi Cheryl
I have left this message before but have not got an answer. I have been commissioned to make a sweater coat and it must have a hood attached. I have no idea how to do this. Can you help? The head of this person is 22 inches. Is it best to make the hood seperate and attach it to the coat or is it better to knit the hood to the coat?

Barb R.
Shelton Ct

Barbara J. Rickman October 26, 2014 at 3:52 pm

Hi Cheryl,
I saw your YouTube channel and decided to subscribe. I am trying to knit a hood onto a sweater but have no idea how to do it. What do I do? Is it better to make the hood first and attach it or knit to hood to the sweater? I have to begin this project soon. I have been asking all over the place and just can’t seem to get anyone to answer me.

Quite Sad
Barb R.

admin October 28, 2014 at 8:00 pm

Hi Barb,

I’ve been in the process of building a new studio and moving out of the rented one so I mostly just work all day and fall into bed. I haven’t been checking this web site for comments. I don’t know the answer to your question off the top of my head but here’s my first guess. I would make the sweater first, with a crew neck shaping, then I would pick up the stitches around the neck and knit the hood up. That way, if it needs adjusting, you don’t have much to rip out.

I would research free sweater patterns with hoods, at least a dozen, and look for how they are shaped and how the neckline is shaped. Take notes. It should only take a few hours. Then I would make my own pattern using Sweater 101 and design the hood into it

This would actually be a fun topic for me to research, distill, and explain, but I don’t have the time to do it right now. Good luck and let me know what you find.

Emily November 12, 2014 at 6:38 pm

Wow! I’m almost done my sweater, I have the collar to go. What an amazing video workshop, I never thought I could make a sweater and it was so easy! Thank you very much.

admin November 21, 2014 at 9:44 am

You are so welcome and congratulations!

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