Day 1 – Step One: Design Basics

Hello and welcome to the 30 Day Sweater adventure! During this course you will be designing and knitting a custom sized raglan sweater. Each day you will be given and action item to complete. If you do one step each day you will have a completed sweater in 30 days!

Because everyone will be knitting different sizes of sweaters, each person will have a different amount of work to do each day. For instance, if I was knitting a sweater for a large man and Johnny was knitting a sweater for a tiny baby – I am going to have to spend more time knitting each day to get the same distance on my sweater. Similarly, it will take more time each day if you’re knitting at a tighter gauge or doing a complex pattern.

During this process I encourage you to take your time and do things correctly. If you need to pull something out and do it again that is totally fine! When you take the time to do things right (even if that means it will take more time) chances are you will be happier with the finished garment.

Now before you jump into knitting your custom raglan sweater you’ll need to decide what your sweater silhouette will be. That’s right, it’s time for sweater dreaming!

NOTE: Some people swear that the way raglan sweaters are constructed tends to make women with wide shoulders look even broader due to the lack of a shoulder seam. You can create a wider neckline, make the sleeves a different color or add interesting details to the lower half of the sweater to keep things balanced visually in this regard. Keep this in mind as your choose imagining your sweater.

First Things First

Print this worksheet first to sketch your ideal sweater as you make some important design decisions.

Download Sweater Silhouette Worksheet

As you’re considering what your sweater will look like, you’ll want to decide on a color or colors to knit it in. If you’d like some inspiration check out our Color Theory For Sweater Knitters series and our Color For Your Skin Tone series over on the blog.

The Ultimate Guide To Color Theory For Sweater Knitters

Color For Your Skin Tone

Choosing The Basics Of Your Sweater

First you’ll need to choose the basic shape of your neckline. Keep in mind that after the majority of the sweater has been knit you will be able to finish this basic shape in a ton of different ways including hoods, cowl collars, turtle necks, shawl collars, etc. This choice just determines the base shape upon which you can build later.

sweater design neckline

Next, consider which sort of sleeve you’d prefer. At this point just determining the length you’d like is enough but you might like to also think about shape and finishing. For instance, you could have tapered sleeves or bell sleeves; a rolled cuff, hemmed cuff or ribbed cuff. The more details you can work out now, the clearer your vision will be of your finished design.

sweater design sleeve length

Now, choose how long you’d like the sweater to be. Would you like a cropped sweater? Perhaps a standard length or tunic would be nice. Maybe you’d like to go to the extreme and extend it into a dress?

sweater design length

Finally, decide wether would you like your sweater to be a cardigan or a pullover. As you consider this final design element keep in mind what sort of sweaters you wear most often. I knit quite a few cardigans before I realized that I actually prefer wearing pullovers.

sweater design style

Choosing The Details Of Your Sweater

Now it is time to consider any possible details you might like to include like an interesting button band, a zipper, waist shaping, a hood or perhaps pockets. Maybe you would even like to include a texture, cable or color work pattern? We will cover in detail how to perform these sorts of details so don’t worry if you’re not sure how it’s done yet.

One final thing to consider is “ease”, that is how loosely or tightly your sweater will fit. For instance if I would like my sweater to fit loosely I will add a few inches of ease and if I want it to be skin tight I will factor in negative ease. Again, we will be teaching you in detail about how to work this out. But it always helps to have in mind what sort of sweater you are aiming for before you get started.

At this point you have a very general idea of your custom sweater design! The best part is when you’re finished with this sweater your can start all over and perhaps try a different combination, the possibilities really are endless!

Download Sweater Silhouette Worksheet

Lessons in this course: