What are the Best Tips for Making Knitted Cardigans?

Tara Barnett
Tara Barnett
Yarn for knitting.
Yarn for knitting.

Making knitted cardigans is not a task that should be undertaken by any beginning knitter because the chances of ending up with a product that cannot be worn are relatively high. Intermediate knitters are likely skilled enough to handle the challenges of knitting a cardigan, although this will still be difficult. If someone has never made a cardigan before, it is a good idea to stick with patterns from books rather than designing a pattern independently. When knitting the cardigan, it is essential to pay attention to the directions precisely and look up any unknown terms. Otherwise, making knitted cardigans is truly as simple as having patience and following directions.

Knitting needles and yarn.
Knitting needles and yarn.

The best tip for making knitted cardigans is to stick to the pattern or to the altered pattern if someone has modified the pattern for a better fit. If the pattern is changed midway through knitting, chances are the knitter will lose track of what she is doing. Also, it is absolutely essential to knit evenly when working on a garment of this type. Knitting poorly can cause the cardigan to appear uneven, and although blocking may help, it cannot fix large discrepancies.

Other useful tips for making knitted cardigans include setting time aside to knit, because finishing a cardigan can take a long time. Many people get frustrated in the middle of the project and abandon it. Having reasonable expectations about how long a project will take to finish can be helpful when losing hope of finishing a cardigan. Impatience can lead to poor knitting techniques, which can negatively affect the finished project.

Most people who wish to make knitted cardigans are looking to make a one-of-a-kind cardigan as a gift or for themselves. Even so, designing a pattern is an advanced task and should be undertaken only with an understanding of how patterns work. Sometimes, it is easy to add interesting features to a basic knitted cardigan pattern. Using different colors of yarn than specified in the pattern can be an easy way to make a pattern more unique, and designs can be made by changing the yarn in rows.

Knitted cardigans come in many designs, and choosing one that is easy enough to finish but will still look flattering when worn is important. Cardigans come with sleeves of different lengths and collars of different styles, each of which will be flattering on different body types. It is also important to remember the size of the cardigan when finished. Taking measurements beforehand can help prevent later disappointment.

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Discussion Comments


I make hand-knit cardigans pretty frequently. It usually takes me about a month to complete one, so I guess that is a long or short amount of time depending on your perspective. For me it's just the right amount of time!

Anyway, I think the most important thing to do when you're choosing a knitted cardigan pattern is choose a pattern you will actually wear. If the cardigan isn't your style or isn't flattering on your body type, you might never wear it. And who wants to go through the effort of making a cardigan that will never see the light of day!


@ceilingcat - I think a top-down knit cardigan sweater pattern would be great for a beginner too. The first sweater I tried to make was a sweater knit in pieces and then seamed. I never finished it, but I've made tons of top-down sweaters since then.

Also, I must be a renegade, because I always change my patterns a little bit. Even when I was starting out! The whole point of making something yourself is that you can make it to fit your measurements. So instead of following the pattern to a tee, I try my sweater on as I go and make adjustments from there!


I've been knitting for about seven years, and sweaters are my favorite thing to make. In fact, I actually made my first knit cardigan when I was a beginning knitter. Trust me, it is not that hard.

If you have beginning knitting skills (knitting, purling, increasing and decreasing) and the ability to follow directions, you can make a simple knitted cardigan.

For a beginning cardigan knitter, I would suggest making a top-down cardigan that is made of plain stockinette stitch. You won't have to do any seaming or worry about keeping track of a stitch pattern. Also, look for a pattern that calls for worsted weight yarn.

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    • Yarn for knitting.
      Yarn for knitting.
    • Knitting needles and yarn.
      Knitting needles and yarn.