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 Four Corner Bag or Kraft Caddy, 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)



Hi Carole, If you would like to knit your first sweater with the Cocoknits Method, buying the book will be a good first step. It has the Emma patterns, which are perfect for a beginning sweater knitter, as well as Tilda and Tallulah, which can ease you into the method even more easily. Once you have purchased the book (either from your Local Yarn Store, or if not available, here on our website), you will find step-by-step instructions for knitting your first sweater. There are also many tutorials to help you through each step here on our website. Hope that helps!

carol beausoleil

I would like to knit a sweater for myself and I have a lot of wool from doing afghans so please help me to do a sweater.

Marie Claire

Since I was small, I always saw my grandmother knitting, and I was amazed whenever she showed me her finished product, like my favorite cloche-type hat. I feel special when she knits it for me, so I plan to return the favor and make a sweater out of yarn for her since it is still my school break here in West Yorkshire. Thank you for sharing in your article the steps to knit correctly and picking good knitting material for my sweater because its design is time-consuming. I have seen a thick, worsted yarn perfect for my design in mind, so I am planning to buy it as soon as possible and start working on the sweater after I buy the yarn.


Hi Pam, Julie’s events and classes are listed here on the website. Choose Local Shops and Events under Discover at the top of the screen, then scroll down to events. We’ll hope to see you at a virtual class soon!


I just read a post about doing virtual classes with you. Where are they advertised, and when will more be available?

Victoria Saracen Edmond Oklahoma

I just finished a virtual class with you and I’m so happy I did. Even though I did a sweater in the book, seeing is better as I’m a visual learner…I plan on doing more classes or a knit along if you have them, I think that would solidify my understanding.

Eva Quirk

I like them all

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