How to Knit Your First Sweater

Knitting your first sweater is easier than you may think! If you know how to knit in the round and purl - you just might be ready. Our Founder, Julie Weisenberger, developed the Cocoknits Method for knitting sweaters. This method is extremely useful to beginner sweater knitters for a few reasons, but one of the biggest: we have step-by-step instructions along with videos to help you through the techniques used.


How to Knit Your First Sweater

Before we begin, we want to talk more about our Cocoknits Method patterns, because we believe they will be most helpful to the beginner knitter... 

Each Cocoknits Method pattern breaks the sweater into sections with our color-coordinated Stitch Markers. By using these markers you can clearly see which part of the sweater you're working on. This will help you begin to understand the construction of the sweater while you work on it. The stitch markers also coordinate with the Cocoknits Sweater Worksheet, a grid that allows you to track your progress and breaks your sweater up into manageable chunks. 

We understand that it could feel like a lot of information to process when you're a beginner, and that's okay! With our method of knitting, we give you a lot of tools upfront to set you up for success later during the making process. We promise it will start to make more sense as you get started and begin knitting. For the easiest introduction to this style we recommend purchasing our Cocoknits Sweater Workshop. It clearly lays out the process in an easy-to-understand way, and includes 8 patterns exclusively available with the book. 


Picking a Pattern

For the first pattern, we recommend something simple so you can focus on construction. Think stockinette, garter, and rib stitches. A sweater can be time consuming, in order to not lose your momentum try a yarn weight worsted or thicker. Finally, one of the hardest parts of picking a sweater pattern is finding one that works for your body and preferences. In our Cocoknits Sweater Workshop we have an entire section of tips to pick the best shape for you. We also offer a few tutorials to help you adjust and customize your sweater: 

-How (& Why) to Use Bust Darts 

-How to Modify Gauge

-How to Modify for In-between Bust Sizes


Scroll down to see our top 4 sweater patterns for beginner knitters. See all of our patterns here


Getting Gauge

A sweater is all about fit, so gauge is extremely important. While making that one swatch may feel like a drag, we promise that it's always worth it with a sweater. Precision in the set-up is key. Try knitting a swatch that's a 6 inch square and make sure to block it before measuring. 


Using the Proper Tools

We believe that organization and using high quality tools are key to making your sweater process delightful. Similar to baking, having the proper tools is going to improve the final result. Also like baking, collect all the ingredients (knitting tools) needed prior to starting. All of our patterns let you know what you need in the description, so don't wait until the last moment to collect them. Once you have everything in place keep them in a beautiful bag like our French Market Bag or Four Corner Bag, and find a way to organize all the smaller items, like with our Accessory Roll.  


Watching Knit Tutorials

Finally, and most importantly, make use of our free tutorials! Julie has spent a ton of time creating videos that walk you through the sweater making process. Here are some of the key ones to watch for our Cocoknits Method patterns, in the order they'd be used during the sweater construction. 

-How to Long Tail Cast On (traditional)

-How to Increase, KLL, KRL, PLL, PRL

-How to Pick-up Stitches for the Cocoknits Method

-How to Knit Around Corners Using Modified Magic Loop

-How to Backwards Loop Cast-On

-How to Work Jeny's Stretchy Bind-off

-How to False Graft

-How to Work in Ends with Duplicate Stitch


Our Top 4 Beginner Sweater Patterns:


Emma (Version A)


Emma (Version B)


Emma (Version C)



Those sweaters look beautiful!
Thank you for sharing this!

Deborah ❤️


Lois, our patterns are PDF digital downloads which you will receive immediately. Please email us at if you need any additional assistance. Thanks!

Lois Brothers

How long does it take to receive instructions?


Natasha, if the selvedge is going to be seamed, it doesn’t matter. But what we do, is knit or purl the first st of the row, THEN tighten it up before I continue. Rock the stitch back and forth to get it snug – but again, you don’t need it super tight if you are going to be seaming OR picking up stitches along that edge.


Help please!
I cannot get even selvedges in stocking stitch. One side is always looser than the other.

Donna Anderson

I am left handed too and actually was taught by another left handed person to knit backwards. (My knit side is a right handed persons purl direction) I can do most patterns without too much grief if I just remember that the pattern’s right front for example is left front for me and vice versa. I’m just starting to learn the cocoknits method but so far that is the only adjustment i have had to make. Keep that in mind Gladys and I think you will be able to do it.


Gladys, unfortunately we do not have left-hand knitting instructions. However our worksheet and color coded stitch markers would make it easier to adapt the patterns. You would work things the same, just backwards/mirrored and work the worksheet from left to right on RS rows as you knit. The colored stitch markers that correspond to the worksheet would be placed reversed and on the purl row before the worksheet starts. Regarding our techniques used in the Cocoknits Method, since our tutorials are videos, you could face your screen to a mirror and watch the mirror-image for how to work these techniques.

Gladys Touhey

Do you have instructions for left handlers. I am left handed and had to teach myself to knit. I spend so much time reversing everything when I knit cit can be frustrating.

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