Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Knitting Pattern: Off-the-shoulder Sweater for Pullip

Here is a very simple pattern for an off-the-shoulder sweater, based on Knitty's Tempting by Jenna Adorno (one of my favorite sweaters of all time).  I made the sleeves longer and did it in stockinette stitch rather than her ribbed style, and removed the ribbon (it's about time I started adding some conservative pieces to Lenore's wardrobe).  If you want to add a ribbon, simply weave it through the bottom of the top edge of ribbing (1/8" ribbon works best).  Eyelets are not necessary.

You will need to know how to knit in the round; knowing how to knit both on DPN's and two circulars will make this easier (sleeves on the DPN's and the body and yoke on two circulars).  Because of the small size, this probably isn't a good project to learn; but other than the tiny-size factor, it's a piece o' cake.  A couple of really good tutorials are linked in the "You will need to know" section.

The sleeves and body are each knit seamlessly in one piece, then the stitches are all transferred to the same needle and the ribbed yoke is finished.  There is subtle waist shaping, but nothing form-fitting to the degree of the Strapless Top.  Bonus: there is NO sewing other than tiny underarm seams.  That means no evil snaps to have to sew on!!!

Off-the-shoulder Sweater
You will need:
  • One ball of fingering weight yarn, preferably sock yarn; I used Knitpicks Essential (now Knitpicks Stroll) in a brown ombre that has been discontinued.  You will not need the entire (probably not even a fourth) ball.  Stroll is a great yarn because it is very evenly spun, has a fantastic hand, and isn't too fuzzy.
  • Two circular knitting needles and six double-pointed needles, all in size 1 US.  (You can get away with just having four DPN's if you have two stitch markers large enough to hold about three inches of stitches each)
  • Scissors & ruler
  • Small darning needle (with fingering weight, you could probably use a size 22 tapestry needle, available in the embroidery section of most craft stores)
You will need to know:
Sweater Instructions
CO 36 sts.  Divide evenly on two circular needles - 18 sts each.
Join, being careful not to twist.  Work 2 rounds in 1x1 ribbing.
Begin working in stockinette stitch.  You will shape the waist.
Round 1 (after ribbing) and all odd rows: knit.
Round 2: ssk, k to end of first needle, ssk, k to end of second needle.
Round 4: k to last 2 sts, k2tog, k to last 2 sts on second needle, k2tog.
Round 6: repeat round 2.

K all sts for .5".

Begin increasing for bust:
Round 1: m1, k to end of first needle, m1, k to end of second needle.
Round 2 and all even rounds: k all sts.
Round 3: k to end of first needle, m1, k to end of second needle, m1.
Round 5: repeat round 1.
You now have 30 sts again.  K until piece measures 1.5", then break yarn and put on DPN's or holder (if you choose a holder, put all the front stitches on one holder and the back stitches on another).

CO 12 stitches.
  • I find the best tension results if I work the first 3 rounds or so on two circulars, but then switch to DPN's.  If you feel like you knit best on two circulars, by all means; I just find all the sliding for six stitch gets annoying.
Distribute the stitches evenly on the needles: six on the front circular and six on the back, or four on each of a set of three DPN's.  Join, being careful not to twist.  Work 2 rows in 1x1 ribbing.
Begin stockinette stitch: knit every round.  Work for 2.5", or length desired (measured from underarm to where you want the bottom of the sleeve to be; suggested measurements: long sleeve, 2.5"; mid-forearm, 1.75"; elbow, 1"; short-sleeve, 5").

First sleeve: break yarn and put on two spare DPNs or two holders (half the stitches on one holder and half the stitches on the other).
Work a second stitch the exact same way as the first, except do NOT break yarn.

Slip the stitches from the holders onto the two circulars: one sleeve, then the body, then the last sleeve with the unbroken yarn between the two needles.  To make the underarms easier, try to work the ends so that the cut end on one sleeve touches the body, and the body cut end is touching the second sleeve (that way you can use the tails to seam the underarms).  Work the yoke as follows:
First needle: Slip 4 stitches pwise, slip 2 onto waste yarn, slip 2 of body stitches on waste yarn, slip all body stitches except last 2, slip those onto waste yarn, slip first 2 sleeve stitches onto waste yarn, slip 4.
Second needle: repeat as for first needle.

Note: avoid gaps at the underarms by taking two stitches together on either side of the gap.  This means you will k1, p1, k1, p2tog, rib across front of body 'til the gap, k2tog, p1, k1, p1.  Repeat for the back.
Work 4 rounds of 1x1 ribbing and BO off loosely (i.e. with a size 2 needle).

Join the four stitches at the underarm securely.  Try a three-needle bind off by picking up the stitches left on the waste yarn and being very careful; to get the yarn at the end of the 4 stitches, I had to knit two stitches.  Or you could wing it with a crochet hook.  If you have holes at the joins, stitch them closed with another piece of yarn (or the leftover), or more preferably, invisible thread or embroidery floss.  I only had a hole in the front of one side.

Steam-block or pin & spritz.  Here is a good tutorial for lots of different kinds of blocking.  Honestly, I usually just use pin & spritz or wet blocking (soak garment, squeeze in a towel, pin on a blocking board, put under a ceiling fan overnight).  Blocking helps even out your stitches, which is fantastic for people like me with slightly uneven tension.  It isn't necessary, and frankly I don't do it every time because of the waiting factor, but it will make your garments look better.

A few WIP pics:


  1. Thanks! I figured it was time for Lux to start adding some more conservative pieces to her wardrobe.

  2. It's knit in the round! I can't knit in the round! Do you know of any way I could make this work if I knit it flat? Please please please help me!

  3. Sorry for the late reply.
    My suggestion would be to cast on as required plus two stitches (38 stitches). Place markers after the tenth and 18th stitches. Work the increase and decrease waist shaping at the sides as indicated, but where it says "at the end/beginning of a needle," use these markers instead.
    The hardest part would be joining in the sleeves, so what you'd have to do is cast off a couple of stitches at the armpits and join in the (flat-knit) sleeves to the body. There the main thing would be making sure that all of the right sides and wrong sides are correct.
    Really, though, I'd recommend learning how to knit in the round. Since this is done on two circular needles, it's a good pattern to try out. It's much less difficult than altering a pattern, plus there is almost no seaming when you finish. Good luck!