Top down, not your father’s convertible


Upon a suggestion from a fellow Plurker, I am converting a pattern that I am knitting, to a top down pattern. I am well versed in knitting in the round, bottom up sweaters. I found and fell in love with Elizabeth Zimmerman early in my knitting life. But have found limited info on top down sweaters. Bottom up in the round sweaters made me convert any pattern I could into this type of construction. When you are done, there are none to few pieces to put together, your good to block and wear.

Top down, in the round sweaters have had the same effect on me, plus, as everyone points out, you can try them on as you go. I feel like I am “in the flow”when knitting this way. I didn’t think trying them on would be a great plus, but it is. Now I am in search of more top down construction books and info.

The best resources that I have found are: Barbara Walker’s Sweaters from the Top down, great book, good explanations, great section on increases, more types than I knew there was, and examples of what they look like, (this alone is worth taking a look at the book). These are some of the few photos in the book, the finished garments are simple diagrams. I would like some finished garments shown on real people. But that is the only criticism I can make, she gives you plenty of detailed info to run with. This book will let you design any style top down sweater, with the yarn you want to knit it with. You will need a basic knowledge of knitting, or another book to help you understand knitting terms and how to cast on and off etc.

The Incredible Custom Fit Raglan Sweater, the is a online calculator. Plug in your measurements and your good to go. I had to get further info from other sources, it left a few holes in explanation. I am using this plus the Barbara Walker book to “make” my sweater.

Another online calculator I found is from the Knitting Fiend, a detailed calculator that makes a pattern for your sweater, she does ask for donations. You can customize your sweater to various styles and use your own gauge. (The calculator asks for a dizzying amount of measurements, so I would think this sweater would fit well). This eliminates the math and makes it simple for you.

She has a wealth of info on her website and all types of pattern calculators. Here is a handy one for converting a sweater pattern to your gauge. (again, she does the work for you if you are math challenged)

Does anyone have a favorite top down sweater book? If so let me know. I’m sure this is just the first sweater that I will be knitting from the top down.

May your knitting needles fly as fast as dragonflies…


  1. Knitting top down is something I definitely want to tackle in the future- especially after reading this post!

  2. Vicki, I'd never heard of such a thing. I'm sure intrigued. I am not much of a knitter, but I can make a sweater! lol...Thanks for these links! I'm featuring your site on my blog today so others get the word.

  3. Do you get the Berroco KnitBits Newsletter? The latest issue has a top down tee that is darling. And the pattern is a free download. Just saying.


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