I am a knitter and I want to design my own turtleneck sweater with lots of cables. Obviously I have to get the gauge of the cables I want to use first before I can see if I need to subtract a cable or not and I need to knit a swatch of basically half the sweater that is as long as my other swatches to see how the cables interact with one another(because the gauge might change when I start adding cables on each side of another cable from the original gauge of just the individual cables) and figure out how many extra stitches to add and all the rest of that.

Here are the cables I plan to use:

enter image description here

Celtic Knot 64 rows 40 stitches

enter image description here

Diamond with Moss 32 rows 18 stitches

enter image description here

Saxon Braid 16 rows 28 stitches

enter image description here

3 strand braid 8 rows 11 stitches

enter image description here

Twist cable: 4 rows 8 stitches

With the twist cable, I plan to have the right leaning and left leaning right next to each other on the sweater(which by the way, I plan to knit seamlessly and graft the sleeves to the sweater).

Since I plan to graft the sleeves to the body of the sweater and the sleeves are knit in the round with no areas of flat knitting that automatically makes it a drop shoulder sweater right? I plan to have my sweater be 1 of 3 types. Either it will be curved to my body(so thinner waist, wider hip and bust), it will be without any shaping, or it will be A line. I think A line would be best for me because I am plus size(curved to my body would just accent my plus size which obviously I don't want). I plan to knit it with worsted weight yarn because I can more easily find worsted weight for a good price than any other yarn weight. I have done gauge swatches with several yarns and from my experience, gauge does not change from 1 yarn to another as long as they are the same fiber and yarn weight(so like worsted weight acrylic for example). Different fibers at the same weight, made in different ways(so like plied yarn vs ribbon yarn), and same fibers at different yarn weights all have different gauges though.

So besides gauge, my measurements, shoulder type, stitch patterns and sweater shape, what else do I need to take into consideration when designing a sweater?


Don't forget your cuff/waistband design. Will it be a 1x1 rib? 2x2 rib? Something else? And consider the amount of ease you want, not just your measurements and ultimate shape, when sizing. Do you want it to fit tightly? Baggy? In between? And since you're using worsted-weight yarn, you'll want a little more space in the underarm than you would if you were using a lighter yarn.

Also, you could do a raglan sleeve/shoulder the way you're describing it, not just a drop shoulder, so that might be another consideration. (I think raglan turtlenecks look really nice!)

Those cables are gorgeous. I really hope you'll come back and post your finished product.


One more very important thing to take into consideration when designing / knitting a sweater: how much ease will you be building into the design? The great news is, you’re the boss of this pattern, so if you want it to fit tightly (negative ease,) just skimming the skin (neutral ease,) or loosely (positive ease,) you can build this style consideration into your design with a bit of guidance.

One simple approach to this is to choose a sweater from your personal collection of favorite sweaters, purchased or homemade, which you love the fit of, and pattern the ease of your design after that sweater. This works especially well if the weight of the example sweater’s fabric is similar to what you are designing. By laying the example sweater out on a flat surface, unstretched, and taking careful measurements at all of the important locations (neckline, shoulder length, chest, waist, armskye, arm length, hip, cuff, back length) you will have your patterns proportions all set. From there you apply your gauge to each of those measurements (rows per inch x inches of vertical measurements, and stitches per inch x inches of horizontal measurements,) and you will have the basic outlines of your pattern. Increases and decreases will then need to be distributed between measurement points.

Another approach is to work from your “gauge x measurement” numbers and then add a certain amount of inches for the various amounts of ease you desire. This is a bit more complicated, but is described nicely over at oliveknits.com. Here are her definitions of the various levels of ease:

Negative ease: A garment which measures smaller than the measurements of the body (usually in the bust, with the corresponding fit in the arms and body being proportional to the fit at the bust). For example, if you have a 36″ bust and you knit a sweater with negative ease, the resulting piece will measure less than 36″. How much less will depend on how much negative ease is written into the pattern.

Zero ease: A garment which measures the same as the measurements of the body. For example, if you have a 44″ bust and you knit a sweater with zero ease, the resulting piece will measure 44″ at the bust.

Positive ease: A garment which measures larger than the measurements of the body. For example, if you have a 32″ bust and you knit a sweater with 3″ positive ease, the resulting piece will measure 35″ at the bust.

She goes into detail about how to tell what the ease is in a pattern, but since you are creating your own design, all you need to do is add the desired ease amount to the bust and waist measurements in your design (and a smaller more appropriate amount to your sleeves widths.)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.