Free recipes for top-down sweaters

Free recipes for top-down sweaters

At your request, I’m aiming to create a directory of all of the posts I’ve ever written with assorted advice on sweater knitting, but in the meantime I’ve been wanting to pull together a list of all of the top-down sweater recipes I’ve ever posted — essentially free patterns, when used with either your existing understanding of how top-down sweaters work or in conjunction with my Improv top-down sweater tutorial. Whenever I finish an improvised top-down I always (well, nearly always) share all of my math and notes so you can recreate it if you like or use it as a jumping off point, tweaking the math or details to your size and liking. I’ll continue to add to this in the future, but following are the various top-down recipes I’ve shared in the past few years:

TOP ROW LEFT: Basic pullover
3.75 sts/inch, nothing fancy (knitted step-by-step in the Improv tutorial)

TOP ROW RIGHT: Cropped v-neck pullover
3.5 sts/inch, cropped with v-neck, elbow sleeves, compound raglans

MIDDLE ROW LEFT: Striped basic pullover
5.75 sts/inch, striped, folded neckband

MIDDLE ROW RIGHT: Rollneck pullover
5.25 sts/inch, rollneck

BOTTOM ROW LEFT: Cropped v-neck cardigan
4.5 sts/inch, cropped with inset pocket

BOTTOM ROW RIGHT: Big v-neck cardigan
4.25 sts/inch, long with patch pockets

Remember, the tutorial will show you how to adapt any of these (or whatever you have in mind) to whatever gauge and proportions you desire! And Ravelry is full of far more creative variations. But I hope these give you some ideas for the basic kit of parts and where you might start with it, if you haven’t already.


PREVIOUSLY in Patterns: Anna Vest pattern, now available

2017 FO-13 : The purple lopi pullover

Finished: Purple lopi pullover

After a year and a half, I finally knitted the second sleeve of the top-down tutorial sweater and seamed them both up, and the sweater is — more or less — finished! And I do adore it. As it’s fully documented in the tutorial, all I really need to tell you about it is the finished counts and measurements, below. But what I mean by “more or less” is A) I need to take a second pass at the neckband and seam up the basting stitches in the raglans, but B) I think it might become a cardigan! (Which would obviate redoing the neckband.) I knitted this in Lettlopi for the sake of the tutorial because it knits up so quickly at this gauge, and I absolutely love the color, but I don’t have a lot of cause to wear an Icelandic-wool pullover in Tennessee! (I only get away with the black one because it’s short-sleeved and cropped.) Plus ever since taking the elastic out of the waistband of that older J.Crew boiled-wool pullover, I don’t really need another purple pullover, either. So I think it would get more wear if it were vented — i.e., if I turn it into a deep V-neck cardigan, which would then be some semblance of that purple cardigan I saw a few years ago and have still never gotten out of my head.

It would be good fun to do, since at this point the only way to go about it would be to machine-stitch along the contours of where I want to cut it, and then add the button band. I can’t imagine trying something like that (for the first time!) with any other garment than this, as there’s less than forty bucks’ worth of yarn in this sweater. On the other hand, I do already have a purple cardigan, albeit quite different. So I’m pondering.

Pattern: Improv
Yarn: Lettlopi by Istex in Color 1413 (purchased at Tolt)
Cost: free pattern + 7 balls of lopi at $5.50 each = $38.50 (I know!)

Finished: Purple lopi pullover


3.75 sts and 5.5 rows = 1 inch (measured over 4″ = 15/22) knitted on US10; ribbing on US9


39″ chest = 148 sts
12.5″ upper arm circumference = 50 sts (10 at underarm)
9″ yoke/armhole depth (50 rounds)
13.5″ body length (2.5″ hem ribbing)
22.5″ total length
16″ sleeve length (3.5″ cuff ribbing)
7.5″ cuff circumference = 40 sts


— CO 51 sts, divided with markers as follows ( 1 | 2 | 9 | 2 | 23 | 2 | 9 | 2 | 1 )

— Increased for a basting stitch in the center of each 2-st raglan

– Planned on 10 sts cast on at each underarm, and divided the raglan stitches evenly between sections when separating sleeves from body

— Worked raglan increases as kfb on either side of the raglan stitches

— Increased at the front neck and all raglans on 1st RS row then every other row until 14 sts each front, 37 back sts. Cast on 9 sts and joined in the round (front sts at 14 each + the 9 cast on = 37 front). Neck depth approx 3.5″

— Increased the front and back until 64 sts each (counting 2 from the raglans at separation, plus 10 per underarm cast-on = 74; front + back + underarms = 148)

— Increased the sleeve-side raglans until 39 sts (counting 2 from the raglans at separation, plus 10 underarm cast-on = 49); work-even till separation at 9″ depth (adjusted to 50 sts when starting sleeves)

— Sleeves were knitted flat, decreased 5x (40 sts), every 8th row after the first couple of inches, then switched to US9 needles and worked 1×1 ribbing for 3.5″

— Worked body even for 10.5″ (with a basting stitch at each side seam, to be mattress stitched later), then switched to US9 needles and worked 1×1 ribbing for 2.5″

— Worked the neckband as 1×1 ribbing for 2.5″ and did folded neckband

— Seamed chest circumference is approx 39″, for about 4.5″ positive ease


PREVIOUSLY in FOs: Refashioned army jacket