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Ask Amy: How does a side-to-side sweater work?

Have you ever knit a sweater from sleeve to sleeve? This type of garment construction is really interesting and allows for some clever details, such as the lace panel that forms the top of the sleeves and shoulders in Diane, a free knitting pattern.

For Diane, you cast on at one sleeve edge, work the twisted ribbing, then begin to work the lace pattern while simultaneously increasing to help shape the arm opening. Then you’ll cast on stitches for the length of the body, work across the front (dividing to work the front and back separately for the neck opening, then rejoining), bind off the body stitches, then decrease down to work the opposite sleeve cuff. Knitting a sweater in this fashion allows for a beautiful, unbroken line of lace across the shoulders and neckline of your sweater.
Some things to note about this construction:

  • It does require seaming the sides and sleeve openings, so if you’re firmly anti-seaming, this may not be for you.
  • You need to pay a little more attention to row gauge when swatching, since the rows make up the width of the sweater.
  • If you think you want to add length to the body of a side-to-side sweater, you’ll need to add stitches when casting on for the body.

Want more side-to-side inspiration? Check out Cosette from Booklet #385 Berroco Pima 100, or Mei from the Booklet #392 Berroco Millefiori and Millefiori BIG—both of these patterns go from sleeve to sleeve. Rosalba, from the fall Berroco Ginkgo Fall 2017 collection, and Bay, a free knitting pattern for Berroco Ultra Alpaca, both start at each sleeve and join in the center.

3 thoughts on “Ask Amy: How does a side-to-side sweater work?

  1. I made the Cosette last year with stripes and fell in love with side to side knitting! I really want to make another one in a solid color this time around.

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