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.
If you're a total knitting newbie - WELCOME! 👋 Learning to knit can feel a bit like learning code. We've stripped away the complicated jargon and tried to keep things really simple so even the newest knitter can master the skill 🧶👩🎓
Before we get started on the pattern we suggest you spend a bit of time learning the basic stitches you’ll need to complete your masterpiece (spoiler - there are only five!). You can use the yarn that came in your kit to practice with. Once you've got these mastered you'll find this pattern is a cinch!
⚡️Let's get ready to rumble ⚡️
TEST YOUR TENSION
First thing's first. Before you start your project, make sure your tension (how tightly or loosely your knitting is) is juuuust right 🥣 We do this by knitting a “tension swatch”. It's a bit like goldilocks, if the tension is too tight, your piece will be too small, and if it's too loose it may not hold its shape and might be too big.
If done correctly, your 10x10cm knitted swatch should be 7 stitches wide and 9 rows high when knitted in stockinette on 15mm needles.
To test your gauge grab your needles and chunky merino yarn. Cast on 10 stitches, then knit in stockinette stitch (knit first row, purl second repeat) for 10-12 rows. Then measure your 10x10cm swatch and count the stitches and rows within your 10x10 square.
Onto the knit
Remember, if you need a refresher on any of the techniques, check out our Learn to Knit page.
You can knit your jumper in sizes Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large. Your pattern is read like this: S (M, L, XL). Make sure you're following the right instructions for your chosen size.
Laying flat, your finished piece will measure approximately:
- Small: 55cm wide x 55cm high
- Medium: 59cm wide x 59cm high
- Large: 63cm wide x 63cm high
- Extra Large: 67cm wide x 67cm high
USING YOUR PATTERN
One of the things we found the hardest when we were learning to knit was keeping track of our rows. Before we were able to easily identify a row of stitches we used a pen and paper to keep track. That's why we've included handy circles in our patterns - you can tick them off as you go. The dashed circles are for the larger sizes. We've also colour-coordinated the circles to help keep track of the colour you're knitting with.
LET'S KNIT UP A STORM
We knit our masterpiece in pieces, starting with the back panel, then the front, and then the sleeves. Once we have all our pieces we’ll sew the jumper together and knit the ribbed neckline.
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 confidence as you move on to 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.
Next, 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.
SEWING IT TOGETHER
I can hear Santa's sleigh in the distance, we're on the home straight!
SEWING IT TOGETHER
Now 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.
Lay your front and back pieces on a flat surface, the right sides facing you.
Sew the shoulder panels together using the invisible seam technique, and leave the hole for your head.
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 halfway around your arm! Once you've made sure it's all lined up, sew the sleeves to the shoulders.
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 armpit, then down the side seam to the bottom of your jumper. And then repeat this on the other side.
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.
Time to rock your masterpiece 💪🔥🥳
Well done on finishing your knit! Epic job. We know from experience that there's nothing quite like that first time someone asks you where you got your knit from 😎
We'd LOVE to see how you go! Share your masterpiece with us by tagging @cardigang_knits on socials or by sending us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next time! 😘🧶💕
Morgan & Cat xx