The Book

Sweater 101 Book Cover

Sweater 101: How to Plan Sweaters that Fit … and Organize your Knitting Life at the Same Time is your personal sweater workshop.

  • Would you love to knit a sweater?
  • Do you want to knit that sweater with confidence that it will fit you?
  • Do you have yarn in your stash for which you have no pattern but would love a sweater made out of it?
  • Are you unable to get the gauge called for by a pattern you love, but want to be able to make it at YOUR gauge?
  • Are you afraid of having to rip out because of errors in a pattern?
  • Do you dream of designing your own sweaters to share on Ravelry?

If you answered any of those questions with a yes, you’ve come to the right place.

The newest version of Sweater 101 is the most recent incarnation of a project that’s been evolving for close to 30 years. It started the night my water broke in October 1982.

I was an “elderly prima gravida” (35-or-more-years-old and in a first pregnancy) living at the far end of a small island in the Pacific Northwest. My husband was attending a two-week class in Seattle, 46 miles away as the crow flies, but he was not a crow and it was a four-hour drive in those days. My doctor was in Hawaii. It was close to midnight.

What does one do on a dark and stormy night, awaiting the arrival of husband and child, hopefully in that order, and trusted doctor too far away to make it to the main event? One knits, of course.

Knitting while waiting for the baby to arrive
“Knit on, with confidence and hope, through all crises.” Elizabeth Zimmerman

I was working on a complex sleeve. Narrow garter stitch bands separated wider sections of different patterns. Each section was a different color. I had just started a purple-tweed blackberry stitch section.

I knit for several hours, floating on the swells of early labor, before I dozed off. It ended well. Husband arrived in the early a.m., healthy son in the early p.m., and we were all back on the island by the next morning.

Some days later I picked up the sleeve. And this is what I found:

Wonky dog-leg sleeve knit during labor

It had been designed as a straight sleeve. I couldn’t rip it out because I’m sentimental and it was a touching reminder of the dark and stormy night.

Here I was with an infant, a wonky sleeve to finish, a second sleeve to knit, and very little time. The written directions were so complicated that I barely found my place in the pattern before I had to stop to tend to Beloved Infant, so I sketched a little picture of what the sleeve looked like with its complex pattern sections. When I had a moment here or there, I could quickly orient myself to where I was and knit a bit.

I worked straight for the rest of the sleeve and, in the end, sewed it together so that no one but I knew that the dog-leg was there. I knit the second sleeve straight and I had a finished sweater by Christmas.

Sweater 101 looks like a book but it’s really a workshop…

As Beloved Son grew, knitting time became even more scarce, but I remembered what a dandy strategy the little picture of the sleeve had been for speeding up my process. By drawing pictures of the pieces of my knitting projects, I was able to grab a bag on the way out the door to the dentist’s office, glance at the “big picture,” and start knitting right away.

When I went to work one day a week at my local yarn shop a few years later, I started sketching the same kinds of pictures for our customers. I was studying sweater design by then and I found it easier to draw a picture than to write out a pattern. I could literally “see” what I was doing so I could catch errors in size or stitch numbers and quickly adjust length or width.

Our customers loved these little patterns so much that I developed a class to teach them how to do it themselves. After five years of refining that class I wrote it up, and in 1991 Patternworks published Sweater 101 as a “Workshop in a Folder.”

Leonardo DaVinci
“The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.” Leonardo DaVinci

Sweater 101 is not a book of patterns.  It’s a  reference text that you’ll consult every time you make a sweater…

When you write a book, you think about what you want to say. When you design a class, you think about “behavioral objectives.” That’s teacher-talk for the “behaviors” you want to see in your students after they’ve taken the class.

After studying Sweater 101 the student [that would be you] will be able to:

* learn make a proper gauge swatch and measure it with an accuracy worthy of NASA (pages 30-31).
* know the three sources of measurements for sizing a sweater (pp. 35-36).
* create a simple-to-follow “Picture Pattern” for each sweater you make.
* easily chart a set-in sleeve cap without a single hypotenuse squared.
* have the tools you need to organize your knitting life.
* use two simple math skills to save time on every sweater you knit (page 22+).
* adapt a pattern to your yarn, gauge and body size.
* change necklines and collars on any sweater.
* fall in love with any yarn and buy it, confident that you can make your own pattern for it.

“You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.” Albert Einstein

Sweater 101 is simple…

It consists of

* 66 pages of text in which you learn all of the above and more.
* Appendix A which is a mini-reference book with schematics that show the standard measurements for 30 sizes, Child’s Size 6 months to Men’s Size 50, in three basic styles.
* Appendix B which has six reproducible forms to help you draw your own patterns, chart a perfect set-in sleeve, and create a written record with your gauge and yarn information that will make your knitting life easier and more organized. In the eBook version, these forms are interactive and printable. In the hard bound version these forms are meant to be photocopied.

Sweater 101 is tried and true…

It has a 20+ year history. You can see what other knitters, from beginners to professionals, have to say about the book by clicking here.

“If a man empties his purse into his head, no one can take it from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the highest return.” Benjamin Franklin

Sweater 101 is published in two formats, as a Hard Bound Book and as an eBook…

The Hard Bound Book…

* cuddles up in your favorite knitting chair with you.
* is portable. Put it in your knitting bag, take it to your LYS and design a sweater right there.
* is durable. It has a stout cover, built to last for years of use.
* is convenient to use. It lies totally flat with an ingenious concealed Wire-O binding.
* is a familiar friend. We’re all used to physical books, and this one was carefully designed to give you years of service
* is $32 plus shipping.

SHIPPING COSTS: The book with packaging weighs 2 pounds 9 ounces and these prices are close to actual postage, some even less. All prices in US $. I hate inflated shipping fees:

  • Within the US: $4 USPS Media Mail
  • Canada: $25 First Class Mail International
  • Europe: $34 First Class Mail International
  • Elsewhere in the world:  $34 First Class Mail International


The eBook…

* is an electronic file that is available instantly. You’ll have it in minutes.
* saves you money. Besides being less expensive, there’s no shipping charge, even across oceans.
* is easily navigated. You can jump to the section you need with the click of a mouse, or search for any word or phrase.
* is easily read. You can make the print as large as you need.
* is flexible. You can read it on your computer screen or print out a hardcopy.
* is interactive. You can fill in the Picture Patterns and Gauge Record Sheet on the computer and then print them out.
* saves paper. Print out only what you need.
* is only $29.

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Still undecided?

1) Take a look inside. CLICK HERE NOW for a big chunk of the book that you can preview.


2) Listen to a conversation about Sweater 101 between Kelley Petkun of KnitPicks and Cheryl Brunette.

10 thoughts on “The Book

  1. Hi!
    I am trying to learn how to knit a sweater for my 2 and 4 year old boys. I want to try the one you have shown with the step by step video as that’s a big help, however I am wondering how I can get it to fit my boys, as a childs size 1 is too small. Example what extra would I have to add?
    Thanks, Megan

  2. I have 30 sizes of schematics in my book, Sweater 101, from Child’s size 6 months to Men’s size 50.You just have to print out the blank template and add the numbers from the book. I just gave 2 of them to brothers yesterday, sizes 1 and 3 at the younger one’s first birthday party. They fit them perfectly.

  3. No . . . not in the traditional sense. It has templates that you fill in with measurements stitch and row numbers that you figure out from measuring your own gauge. Click on the link in #1 above and you can download a big section of the book so that you know what it looks like.

  4. Hello Cheryl,

    Thank you SOOOO very much on your excellent tutorials on how to use your BOND. I picked up a machine as my size X5 friend needed new sweaters and couldn’t find a retailer for his sweaters — so the BOND came to the rescue.

    I am now trying to knit myself some nice raglan lace sweaters and can’t figure out how to do multiple yarn overs with the BOND. Any suggestions would be wonderful.

    Thanks again!


  5. Hi Dawn,

    Try the “articles” page on this site and the link to “Lace, the Artful Arrangement of Holes.” Sorry I didn’t answer earlier. This comment came in 2 days before I was admitted to the hospital with a crazy-high fever. Nasty viral infection and I’m still not even driving. I’m getting better a little each day but that was a scary thing for a woman who has been so healthy for years.

  6. Are u the same Cheryle that works on the knitting machine . I have a bothers machine can your classes help me. Do your have any DVD on machine knitting. I have this brother machine over twenty years. At one time I was using the machine until someone said some tasty thing about my knitting so I just stop using it. What can I say I was young and she was wasn’t very nice . I do a little hand knitting also.

  7. hi ,
    it has been always in my mind How to shape a sweater that fit my size correctly because as you say I am the one on charge.

  8. Hi Sharon, Yes, I am that same Cheryl. So far no DVDs but all my machine work is up on YouTube and some of it will help you with your Brother Machine.

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