Help me knit a jersey!
May 1, 2021 2:59 AM   Subscribe

Winter is coming and I'd like to knit myself a warm and cozy jersey. But I don't know where to start with finding a pattern that would suit me.

I'm a relatively confident knitter of beanies, I can purl and plain fairly well but I've never tried anything complicated. I'm looking for a pattern to knit a very plain, simple jersey. Almost the equivalent of a long sleeved Tshirt in shape, if that makes sense.
Also appreciate any advice about type of wool so that it's not scratchy, but still warm and not acrylic.
posted by Zumbador to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Assuming you wear straight sizes, The Knitter’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns will fit the bill. It has several types of plain sweaters written for a range of gauges and sizes, so it’ll work with whatever yarn you pick.

If you have a locally-owned yarn shop, I’d talk to them about yarn, but similar to above, a straightforward well-behaved soft wool yarn that is widely available and comes in any color is Cascade 220.
posted by tchemgrrl at 4:05 AM on May 1 [3 favorites]


The social media site Ravelry can definitely help you find a pattern. It's free to join the site, and they have SCORES of patterns on there - they have an advanced pattern search where you can filter by the type of garment or object you want to make, the skill level, whether it's knitting or crochet, whether you need to buy the pattern or it's free, the weight of yarn, the AMOUNT of yarn and the kind of fiber. I just did a search for patterns for pullover jerseys, knitting, the pattern being free, wool or merino yarn, adult sizes only, and the difficulty rating set to "piece of cake", and still got 174 options.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:08 AM on May 1 [3 favorites]


I'm knitting my first sweater using this pattern. The directions are really clear: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/flax
posted by christinetheslp at 5:28 AM on May 1 [3 favorites]


TinCanKnits is a good source. Christinetheslp links to their Flax in Ravelry above. Here is a link to their sweater patterns in general, including Flax and Flax Light.

Patty Lyons also has sweater classes that come with links to tutorials and videos. I have only done one of these (Affiknitty) so far and it was pretty complex, but I got through it and learned a ton. I am starting the current one, Gramercy Park. Roselle, Palm Canyon, or Tortola look like good, more straightforward patterns. If you click on the specific sweater you’ll see what’s taught in the class. There are discussion groups on Ravelry or (for the current class and future ones) on her own platform, where you can ask questions. These sweaters are seamed and I was quite daunted by this at first, but going step by step it was totally manageable. She does ask people to use the yarns she recommends - they are from Webs in the US and it looks like they ship internationally though presumably it’s expensive - but you don’t have to use that yarn if you can find a substitute.

I haven’t used Cascade 220 but a friend swears by it so I’ll second that as a general purpose sweater yarn. This one (used in the Affiknitty class/KAL) seems likely to be another one - I would totally use it again for another sweater that used this weight yarn. I think there are many other “staple” yarns but I don’t know what’s available in South Africa.

Gauge is important in making garments that fit. Patty Lyons has tutorials about this and I’m sure she talks about it in all the sweater classes as well. TinCanKnits also has a whole section of sweater-related blog posts that has several entries on gauge and seems worth reading in general (glad I found them in answering this question!)
posted by 2 cats in the yard at 6:44 AM on May 1 [1 favorite]


Response by poster: Thanks everyone! I see I have more to learn than I anticipated, which is a very good thing. For anyone else looking into this, the Flax pattern that Cristinetheslp shared comes with really good resources on all aspects of the process. I look forward to digging into this!
posted by Zumbador at 11:25 PM on May 1 [1 favorite]


Oooh, fun. I too am racing the weather hoping to get a new jumper by winter.

I don't have any suggestions for specific patterns, but ravelry is an amazing resource, and if you pick a pattern that's a bit popular, you will easily find a lot of support through the forums. The pattern database is astonishingly good at helping you narrow down what you want.

A top-down raglan pattern is a good starter option, as you can try it on as you go. This means that if you tension is slightly out or your proportions don't match the model's, you can alter as you go. Once you're past the neckline (which can be a bit tricky), the increases are nice and straightforward, and it's very easy once you're past the armholes.

This is a fairly good article on choosing the right size. If you're likely to have fit problems (e.g. you often find it hard to get clothes that fit off the shelf), it's worth having a read about how to adjust for them. Most alterations are fairly intuitive for a top down raglan, as it doesn't have shoulder seams or set in armholes. Just lengthen or shorten as necessary, increase or decrease if your waist/stomach/hips require it). But if you're female and wear a large cup size, getting the front of a jumper to sit nicely often requires bust darts, which are a bit fiddly.

Another issue for fit is to get the tension (gauge) right. If your wool shrinks when you wash it the first time, you really need to know that, so knit a tension square, wash it(!), let it dry, and then measure your tension. If you use a common yarn, there will probably be information about shrinkage on ravelry. But, if your jumper does shrink hideously, you can always undo the cast off, and knit a bit more.

If possible, I'd try to find a local yarn store to do some yarn petting. Enough wool for a jumper can be a lot of money, I'd be wary of buying something that you checked for itchiness first. Unless you run very cold, I'd consider wool blends too, I find them plenty warm enough in Sydney. The thicker the wool, the heavier the jumper, and the more expensive if will be (on average). However, thicker wool is faster to knit. Make sure you buy a bit extra (often stores will let you return what you don't use if you're fast), and check that they're from the same lot, so that the colours match.
posted by kjs4 at 6:55 PM on May 2 [1 favorite]


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