A step by step guide to knitting your festive Christmas knit!
Ever gotten half way through a project and thought “Hang on, am I even doing this right?”
We have 🙋♀️
That’s why we’ve created these step by step overviews to help guide you through the knitting process.
At each stage we’ll tell you what to do, and at the end, how to sew it all together. Voilà! We’ve also included videos below covering the main techniques and stitches. So head on down to the bottom of the page if you just need a quick visual reference.
THE CHRISTMAS SWEATER
Find something more quintessential than a Christmas sweater, we’ll wait 🎁🎄
These uni-sex jumpers come in three different pattern options; the classic Santa, red-nosed Rudolf or the cozy Snowman. A classic sweater shape, with tapered sleeves and ribbed cuffs and waist this is a style you can pop over anything for a bit of festive spirit.
Learning to knit can feel like learning code. We've stripped away the complicated jargon and tried to keep things really simple. If your head is still spinning a little, here's a handy video to help you better understand the layout of your pattern.
TEST YOUR TENSION
Before we dive in let's check that the tension is in line with what we need. We knit a swatch to make sure the tension is juuuust right. It's a bit like goldilocks, if the tension is too tight, your jumper will be too small, and if it's too loose it may not hold it's shape and might be too big.
If done correctly, your 10x10cm swatch should knit 7 stitches and 9 rows.
Before we get started, learn all the basics with our how to video. This one covers Casting on, 1x1 Rib stitch, Knit stitch, Purl stitch and Casting off. Once you've got these mastered you'll find this pattern is a cinch!
ONTO THE JUMPER
You can knit the adults sweater in size S, M, L or XL and the kids sweater in sizes 2-3, 4-5, 6-7 and 8-9. No matter the size you're knitting, each piece of the jumper is knitted flat, at the end we'll stitch each panel together and then sew the neckline. Your pattern is read like this: S (M, L, XL) or 2-3 (4-5, 6-7, 8-9).
A NOTE ON PICTURE KNITTING
We've made our first foray into picture knitting or intarsia with these Christmas sweaters. Intarsia is where we use an alternative colour of yarn to create a motif on our knitting without increasing the thickness of our piece. Essentially you'll have a few balls of yarn being worked as you knit the picture into your piece... more on the technique for that below.
For total beginners, we recommend you knit your back panel, then the 2 sleeves before you tackle the front panel where we'll do the picture knitting. That way you'll have the basics mastered before introducing this new technique.
Okay, so we start with the back panel, it’s the simplest piece of the knit and will give you the confidence as you move onto other pieces.
We knit from the bottom up, starting at the rib and going up to the shoulders.
First, we cast the required number of stitches. We recommend using the two needle technique. Two needle knit cast on uses your two needles (surprise!), starting with a slip knot on your left needle, each stitch is knitted to form a new loop and this loop is then added to your left needle. You repeat until you’ve made the desired number of stitches.
Casting on, like many things in knitting, can be done in a number of ways - our suggestion is a simple technique but you can pick any that’s right for you.
Once you've cast on the right number of stitches you move onto the rib. We knit the rib on the 10mm circular needles following the instructions in your pattern.
1x1 Rib Stitch is a textured pattern usually used on the cuffs and necks of jumpers. It’s made by alternating knit and purl stitches in the same row, then knitting the same stitch in the next row. Eg. knitting your knits and purling your purls. When doing your rib stitch it’s important to make sure your yarn is on the correct side of your needles (at the back for knit stitches and at the front for purl stitches.)
Once we've finished the allocated amount of rows of rib, we switch to your 15mm needles and start to knit in stockinette stitch.
💡 To switch to a different size needle we just hold the new needle in our right hand and knit onto it.
Stockinette Stitch (or stocking stitch) is a basic stitch that most knitting patterns often don't explain! You create stockinette stitch by knitting one row and purling the next. This means all of your knit stitches (the little Vs) will be on the right side of your jumper.
You'll knit the allocated number of rows in stockinette until you get to the top of your piece. When you've finished the last row of the stockinette stitch allocation we're going to cast off.
To cast off, knit two stitches then slip the first stitch on your right needle back over the second stitch and off the needle. You’ll have one stitch left on your right needle. Knit another stitch so you’ve got two stitches on your right needle and then slip the first stitch off. Continue to the end of the row. When you’ve got the last stitch on your right needle, cut the yarn and thread this through the final stitch to secure.
Okay, now remember for beginners we recommend knitting the arms before the front so you get as much practice as you can before knitting the picture.
Onto the arms!
Now for these we start from the top of the arm and work down. We knit this piece flat just like the front and back.
To get a tapered sleeve we'll decrease the width of the sleeve at different points in the pattern. We do this by knitting two stitches together. It's really easy, you just pick up 2 stitches with your right needle instead of the normal one, and then knit the stitches as you normally would.
You'll start your 15mm needles and knit the allocated rows of stockinette stitch decreasing the rows that are indicated in the pattern.
Once you've knitted the allocated rows you'll swap to your 10mm needles and start your rib stitch for the cuff. The last thing we'll do is cast off the sleeve. This is done the same way we cast off the back panel but just make sure you don't cast off too tightly otherwise you’ll have a really tight wrist hole.
Now repeat for the second sleeve!
Now onto the front. Are you ready?!
So you'll cast on the allocated number of stitches and knit your rib. You'll be very good at rib stitch by now. Once the rib is done, you'll switch from your pattern to the A4 printed picture pattern included in your kit. From this point we start the row count again.
Looking at your picture chart, you'll see the numbers down the side are the row count and the numbers along the bottom are your stitch count. Each square represents a stitch and you'll count these stitches as you knit to identify when you need to change yarn colour.
You'll start at row 1 and knit your stitches, then purl row 2 and so on. When you get to the point where you need to introduce a new colour you'll loop the new colour yarn over your right needle before you knit that next stitch. The video below will demonstrate the full technique.
💡You'll have a few different balls now attached to your work so each time you turn your work over it's a good idea to reorganise the yarn balls to keep them from getting tangled. We also recommend using 2 balls of your main colour, one to work one side of the picture pattern and one to work the other side.
Okay, now you'll go back to the pattern and finish the front panel by knitting the neck hole.
Now the neck can get a little tricky because we split the shoulders from the neck and we cast off a bunch of stitches in the middle for the neckline hole.
To knit the neckline you'll knit the first shoulder (while the other stitches just hangout on your needle - you'll come back to them later). To do this, follow the instructions in the pattern turning your work at the end of each row.
Once you've completed the first shoulder you'll cast off those stitches. Then cut your yarn about 10cm from the last stitch and secure that last cast off stitch by threading your yarn tail through that stitch and pull to secure it.
To rejoin you simply tie the yarn to the bottom of the first stitch with a knot to secure, then you start knitting and complete that shoulder per the instructions. See picture below.
SEWING IT TOGETHER
I can hear Santa's sleigh in the distance, we're on the home straight!
It’s time to get to work with the darning needle to sew your masterpiece together. We lay our pieces flat and sew them together one by one.
Step 1: lay your front and back pieces on a flat surface, the right sides facing you.
Step 2 (blue): Sew the shoulder panels together using the invisible seam technique, and leaving the hole for your head.
Step 3 (yellow): Time to attach the sleeves to the body. Make sure the middle of your sleeve is lined up with the shoulder seam. This will ensure the seam of your sleeve is right under your armpit, not half way around your arm! Once you've made sure it's all lined up, sew the sleeves to the shoulders.
Step 4 (orange): Fold your jumper in half so it looks like the shape of a T. With the wrong sides facing each other, we're going to sew it together using a Mattress Stitch, from the cuff all the way up the arm to the arm pit, then down the side seam to the bottom of your jumper. And then repeat this on the other side.
We've included handy videos below for both the invisible seam and mattress stitch.
Okay guys almost done!!! The last part is the neck. We knit the neck ‘in the round’. This means we use the circular needles and instead of knitting back and forth on a row.
So first things first. We pick up stitches evenly around the neckline using our 10mm circular needles. There are a few different ways to do this but we’ve included a video of our favourite technique below. Once you’ve got all your stitches on your needles you join the loop together and start the rib stitch. It’s a good idea to loop a hair tie or spare piece of yarn over your needle when you start so you can keep track of each loop.
Knit in the round until you’ve completed the allocated loops of rib stitch then cast off.
💡 Now this part is critical! Cast of extra loosely!! You need a loose cast off in order to be able to fit your head through the hole. Rib stitch has a stretch to it, but if you cast off too tightly you'll have a hole that's too small for your head to fit through. Been there, done that and DON'T recommend 😝
The last thing we do for every piece is weave in the ends. That’s basically just tidying up the piece so all loose ends are trimmed down and tucked in.
MORE VIDEOS FOR A BIT OF EXTRA HELP
Don't worry, YouTube was our best friend when we taught ourselves how to knit.
Here are some videos that should be helpful but feel free to go searching for your own. There are a number of techniques people use for a lot of the common stitches in knitting so there's no one right way.
Find what works for you! If you get stuck, reach out to us and we'll give you a hand! 😎
Testing your gauge
1x1 Rib Stitch
Decrease a stitch