This is it! It’s the final instalment of our Simple Collection. If you’ve been knitting along with us this is your last project before you go forth and conquer the world of knitting.
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9 steps to knit a Harvest cardigan
- Choosing a size
- Swatching and gauge
- Separate body and sleeves
To get started on your Harvest cardigan you will need:
- Pattern: Download a copy of the Harvest pattern (it’s free!). If a multi-size pattern is new to you, check out our tutorial on pattern reading here.
- Yarn: Harvest uses worsted / aran weight yarn. Check the table to see how much yardage you need for your size and for more information on choosing yarn for a sweater, check out our tutorial here.
- Needles: For a top-down cardigan you will need a circular needle in each size for the yoke and body and either a long circular for the magic loop method or double pointed needles for the sleeves. For sizes XXL-6XL might also want a 16″ circular needle in the larger size for the start of the sleeves. More information on knitting needles can be found here.
Choosing a size
One of the things knitters find most worrisome about knitting garments is getting the sizing right. This depends on 2 things: choosing a size that’s right for you, and achieving the gauge stated in the pattern. For more information on choosing a sweater size, check out our tutorial here.
Swatching and Gauge
The first step for your sweater is a gauge swatch. I know there will be some of you who skip this step, but don’t. A garment is a lot of work and it’s disappointing to find out you’ve put hours upon hours into a sweater…and it’s not the right size at all. Check out our tutorial on gauge and swatching here.
Once you’ve got your gauge sorted and you’ve chosen your size, it’s time to cast on!
The Harvest cardigan is knit seamlessly from the top down. First you are going to knit a band of garter stitch, then you are going to pick up stitches along the edge of this band to begin the yoke. Once you have worked your increases on the yoke you will separate the body and sleeves. The body is knit next in rows to the hem. The sleeves are then picked up and knit in the round to the cuffs.
Using larger needles, 10 (10, 12, 12, 14, 14, 14, 14, 14, 16, 16, 16, 16, 18, 18, 20, 20, 20, 20) sts provisionally
Hmm, starting off with something new eh? A provisional cast on means you are going to use a bit of waste yarn to work a special cast on that you will later ‘unzip’ to reveal live stitches. If you’ve never worked a provisional cast on before check out the crochet chain method here, or the needle and hook method here.
Set-up row (WS – wrong side): p2, knit to end
Row 1 (RS – right side): knit
Row 2 (WS): p2, knit to end
Work rows 1-2 a total of 39 (46, 49, 52, 49, 49, 49, 59, 57, 62, 59, 60, 58, 58, 64, 66, 70, 70, 70) times; creating the same number of garter ridges. This is a total of 79 (93, 99, 105, 99, 99, 99, 119, 115, 125, 119, 121, 117, 117, 129, 133, 141, 141, 141) rows worked, including the set-up row. Your final row is a WS (wrong side) row.
Basically we are creating a strip of garter with a stockinette edge on one side. This will be the back neck of the sweater.
Picking up stitches and placing markers
The next portion of the yoke involves picking up stitches along the stockinette edge, placing markers to indicate the garter panels, and unzipping your provisional cast on to give you live stitches.
Next row (RS): knit to last 2 sts, PM, k1, m1, k1 (this is the end of the row), next, turn work 90 degrees, and pick up and knit 52 (62, 66, 70, 66, 73, 73, 88, 85, 93, 89, 90, 97, 96, 107, 110, 117, 117, 117) sts along the edge of the collar 2 (2, 2, 2, 2, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5) stitches in every 3 (3, 3, 3, 3, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6) rows.
This row involves a few new things: m1, PM, pick up and knit. An m1 is an increase, and there are a few methods to make 1 but we used this one. It isn’t critical if you use an m1L or m1R here. PM means place marker. If you are new to using stitch markers check out our comprehensive marker tutorial here.
When picking up and knitting stitches you will not be picking up 1 stitch in every single row, you need to pick up at the rate indicated instead. For example, for the smallest size you will be picking up 2 sts for every 3 rows. So you will pick up and knit a stitch in each of the first two rows, then skip the next one. Pick up 2 stitches in the next two rows, skip the next one. etc.
Finally, undo the provisional cast on (details here), put live stitches onto your left hand needle, and work across them as follows: k1, m1, k1, PM, knit to end.
When unzipping/undoing the provisional cast-on I sometimes find I am one stitch short. This is because the edge stitches can get lost when you undo the provisional cast-on. Not to worry. Simply increase 1 stitch on the next row (you can use a m1) to make sure you have the same number of stitches in each garter panel and the correct stitch count overall.
Now it’s time to place markers (PM), setting up for the raglan increases.
Setup row (WS): knit to marker, SM, p3, PM, p14 (17, 18, 19, 17, 18, 18, 23, 21, 23, 21, 21, 22, 20, 23, 23, 25, 23, 22) sts, PM, p24 (28, 30, 32, 32, 37, 37, 42, 43, 47, 47, 48, 53, 56, 61, 64, 67, 71, 73) sts, PM, p14 (17, 18, 19, 17, 18, 18, 23, 21, 23, 21, 21, 22, 20, 23, 23, 25, 23, 22) sts, PM, p3 (this brings you to the last marker), SM, knit to end.
Your work will now have 6 markers in your work: 4 raglan markers and 2 markers indicating the garter section. In the image below my raglan markers are blue and my garter panel markers are orange. From now on you will be working increases on either side of each of the 4 raglan markers every 2nd row, and increasing at the neckline every 4th row. Always slip your markers as you come to them.
Row 1 (RS): knit to marker, SM, [knit to 1 stitch before raglan marker, m1, k1, SM, k1, m1] 4 times, knit marker, SM, knit to end [8 sts inc]
Rows 2 and 4: knit to marker, SM, purl to last marker, SM, knit to end
Row 3: knit to marker, SM, k2, m1, [knit to 1 stitch before raglan marker, m1, k1, SM, k1, m1] 4 times, knit to 2 sts before marker, m1, k2, SM, knit to end [10 sts increased – 2 at each raglan marker and 1 at each neckline]
Work rows 1-4 a total of 3 (3, 3, 3, 4, 4, 5, 5, 6, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 9, 9, 8, 6) times.
In row 1 of the raglan increases you are increasing on either side of each of the 4 raglan markers. I like to use a paired increase here, with a m1R before the marker and an m1L after the marker. More on m1 increases here.
In row 3 you are increasing at each front AND on either side of each of the raglan markers. I like to use an m1R at the first neckline increase and an m1L at the last neckline increases.
Follow the raglan instructions for your size. Once rows 1-4 have been completed the required number of times, sizes 3XL-6XL have some faster increases, with one new stitch: the m1p or make 1 stitch purlwise.
Stitch count check
Once all of your raglan increases have been completed there is a stitch count. You can check that you have the correct number of total number of stitches and that you have the correct number of stitches in each section. Next you will work rows 7-10, increasing 1 more stitch at each front.
Separate Body and Sleeves
Now that the yoke is complete you will separate the body and sleeves. The sleeve stitches are put on waste yarn, stitches are cast on for the underarm, and the rest are left for the body. Remove raglan markers as you come to them.
k20 (20, 22, 22, 28, 28, 31, 31, 34, 36, 39, 42, 45, 50, 53, 58, 61, 64, 70) sts (left front), place the next 26 (29, 30, 31, 33, 34, 38, 43, 45, 47, 49, 53, 58, 60, 67, 71, 77, 79, 86) sts on hold on waste yarn (left sleeve), cast on 4 (4, 4, 6, 6, 6, 6, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 10, 10, 12, 12, 14, 14) sts using backward loop method (left underarm), k36 (40, 42, 44, 48, 53, 57, 62, 67, 71, 75, 80, 89, 96, 105, 112, 119, 127, 137) sts (back), place stitches on hold for right sleeve as at left, cast on sts for right underarm as at left, then knit to end (right front).
The sleeves are on hold, and there are 84 (88, 94, 100, 116, 121, 131, 140, 151, 159, 169, 180, 195, 216, 231, 252, 265, 283, 305) body sts on the needles. The first and last markers indicating the garter edges remain in place.
Work one WS row: knit to marker, purl to marker, knit to end.
It’s time for a lot of knitting! The sleeves are on hold, the body will be worked in rows down to the hem, then the sleeves are each picked up and worked last. The garter panels are kept in tact at the fronts and the rest is kept in stockinette. You will continue to work increases at the neckline as indicated for your size.
You will continue neckline shaping until full stitch count is reached, then work even to the garter hem.
Row 1 (RS): knit to marker, k2, m1, knit to 2 sts before marker, m1, knit to end [2 sts inc]
Rows 2 and 4: knit to marker, SM, purl to marker, SM, knit to end
Row 3: knit
Work rows 1-4 a total of 3 (5, 5, 6, 5, 5, 5, 7, 7, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9) times [90 (98, 104, 112, 126, 131, 141, 154, 165, 175, 185, 196, 211, 232, 249, 270, 283, 301, 323) total sts]
To work sleeves you will need to first put all the stitches from the waste yarn onto your double pointed needles, long circular for magic loop, or, for the larger sizes, onto a 16″ circular needle. I like to put my needle through all of the stitches, then remove the waste yarn. Need help knitting a smaller tube in the round? We’ve got tutorials for magic loop method, and knitting on DPNs tutorial.
Knit across these stitches. Then you will pick up stitches from the body of the sweater at the underarm, place a marker as indicated, and you will be ready to work the sleeves in the round.
Knit in stockinette (knit every round) until sleeve measures 2 (3, 3, 5, 5, 6, 6, 7, 6, 7, 6, 5.5, 4.5, 4, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3)” from underarm.
Note – if you want a longer or shorter sleeve than the pattern indicates, this is the best place to make that adjustment.
Decrease round: k1, ssk, knit to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1 [2 sts dec]
Knit 8 (8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 7, 6, 6, 5, 4, 3, 3, 2) rounds.
Decrease round: k1, ssk, knit to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1 [2 sts dec]
Child sizes will have reached the desired cuff stitch count. Adult sizes have a few more decreases to do.
Adult sizes only: repeat previous 9 (9, 9, 9, 8, 7, 7, 6, 5, 4, 4, 3) rounds 3 (3, 4, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11, 14, 17, 19, 22) more times.
[26 (29, 30, 33, 35, 36, 40, 41, 43, 43, 45, 45, 46, 48, 51, 51, 51, 51, 52) sts]
Next you’ll work your sleeve to the desired length, switch to smaller needles and work the cuff.
Tip: Making 2 the same
The important thing about knitting sleeves is making 2 the same (sounds obvious right?). So make sure to take notes on the number of rounds you work as you go.
- how many rounds to the first decrease?
- how many rounds after the last decrease but before the garter cuff?
- how many rounds in the garter cuff?
You have put a lot of work into your first sweater so don’t skip blocking, it’s an important step. Blocking will make your stitches even out and lie flat and generally ‘smooth out’ your work. It’s easy to block a sweater out of proportion if you aren’t careful, so make sure you have your measuring tape handy and that your chest measurements and length are as desired.
The Simple Collection is for Sharing ::: This tutorial is part of The Simple Collection – our 100% free learn-to-knit series. Check out the fabulous free patterns sized from baby to big, and get started making modern seamless knits for the entire family! And be sure to share this and our other Simple Collection patterns with your friends, fellow knitters, teachers, and knit groups.
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