A free knitting pattern for a men’s sweater with intarsia details
For some reason, I am living through an intarsia phase right now. After my love socks, I got it into my head to knit a sweater in a similar design. Originally I planned it for pride month, but light tendonitis (healed now, thank god) kept me from finishing it in time.
Now, I actually don’t know why I wanted to knit another intarsia project. My last one already brought me to the brink of insanity. And paradoxically, that’s probably why I continue knitting it, because how hard can it be? It’s like playing a level of Super Mario for the 30th time because you just couldn’t finish that one boss, I guess (read my intarsia knitting guide if you want to brush up your technique a bit).
For this project, I picked a fabulous yak yarn by Pascuali (read everything about yak yarn here). Right now, they are by far and wide my favorite manufacturer of fine wool and they certainly live up to their high standard (and not, I’m not getting paid to say that, lol). I already knit my cable cowl with one of their yarns and will probably add some more to my stash. They are somewhat expensive, but it’s so worth it!
Plotting the chart for this sweater was quite a nightmare. It took ages to fit in the slogan and pictures I had in mind into my pattern. I knitted a couple of test swatches to get a good feeling for the gauge…and missed it. My first attempt was 6 cm (!!) too small. So, I had to frog (let me tell you, frogging intarsia is no fun!).
Despite it being all stockinette stitch, it’s painfully slow to knit. For the “Peace” part, I was working with 17 bobbins at one time. It felt like one sneeze could cause yarn barf of epic dimensions. But I persevered and now look at that beauty.
The backside looks a bit like some macrame wall art and there were altogether 200 ends to weave in. Tidying up all these loose ends took me like 6 hours (+ another 4 hours for the seaming). So, I guess what I’m saying is…if you don’t like sewing, this is not for you.
On the plus side, you get rewarded with a magnificently drapey sweater. Because let’s face it, most of Fair Isle is quite thick and stiff. On top of that, it’s often very warm and I’m not the biggest fan of that either. It’s easier to knit, but if you read my advanced intarsia knitting tips with 10 important tricks for better results, I’m sure you’ll be fine.
Still, the design for this men’s sweater might look simple, but it’s actually nothing but that. At one point (see picture below) I had 25 active bobbins on my needle. Managing all those bobbins was no joke.
Still, in the process of designing this men’s sweater, I adjusted the chart a bit so the extremely difficult sections were a bit easier to knit while still staying true to the design.
Originally, I also planned to add a further small message on the lower back that said “no hate”. I kind of liked the idea that people on the street would get to see a little slogan from behind as well. But I really wasn’t satisfied with the outcome, so I discarded the idea.
Now, that was a lot of negativity and I hope you didn’t understand this as a way to discourage you. I see it rather as a way of grounding me readers. If you like a challenge, if you like to perfect a new skill, then this could be the perfect starting point.
Sure, there is a lot of sewing involved, but I actually enjoy that. I mean, you are still holding yarn and needle in your hands – where is the real difference? For me, it’s part of the process and I’m enjoying it just as much.
Materials you will need:
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- 14 skeins of the Pascuali Yak Mongolia in yellow and one skein each in green, red and black. The total weight of the sweater is 650 grams or around 1350 meters of that DK weight yarn were used (in case you are looking for a cheaper substitute)
- circular knitting needles size 3.00 mm and 3.50 mm (US size 3 & 4). I knit this sweater with the Knitter’s Pride Nova Platina interchangeable needle.
- 2 big stitch holders or cables (for knitting the neck/shoulders)
- A tapestry needle and scissors.
- tape for measuring/sizing
This is a pattern for advanced knitters. Not because there are so many difficult stitches involved but rather because it’s not a step-by-step tutorial with sizes from XS to XXL and there’s quite a lot you need to figure out yourself.
- K = knit
- P = Purl
- KLL = Knit left loop
- KRL = Knit right loop
- SL1 = Slip one stitch
- Mattress stitch
- …and obviously intarsia 🙂
This sweater is knit flat and then seamed together. The neck is not picked up but knitted in one piece. I rather like the way it looks, though nothing speaks against doing a more traditional bind off/pick up stitches neck.
The pattern is a mix between chart and written instructions and I tried to describe each step as closely as possible. That being said, it’s just the pattern for a men’s M with no other sizes available for now. But, as it’s just a basic sweater, it should be fairly easy to scale that up (or down).
Definitely comment below if you want me to develop more sizes (I am not sure how high the interest really is at the moment). If there are enough, I’ll definitely consider expanding this knitting pattern!
16 thoughts on “Men’s Sweater Knitting Pattern: Love”
Love the design! keep me updated. Already subscribed your newsletter and thx for the free pattern!
Wow! <3 that sweater. You are very talented, Norman. Thx for the pattern, but I'd love to see some different sizes. Maybe an L? *grins+
always a pleasure! Let me see what I can work out. But it’s a lot of work so I’ll wait for some further requests, okay?
What are your favorite fibers for working intarsia? I think I will try the yak wool for my next project! Thanks for all of the great tips!
I think there are two things to consider:
First, you will want to have a fiber that is slightly fuzzy and is forgiving. Because there are floats and there are many tails to weave in. It can be wool (like shetland), but most other natural fibers that are slightly fuzzy can look just as well.
And the second, and perhaps more important thing, is drape & density. Some fibrers tend to stretch out as you wear them (alpaca e.g. mainly due to the way it is spun) and this is probably what you really should avoid.
I am very impressed with your way of explaining and designing knitting patterns. I can feel the love and the attention to the details in general and in this pattern in particular.
I would love to see a YouTube video of yours about bind-off for traditional and maybe not traditional ways to knit the neck line.
great suggestions..i’ll see what I can do.
Just downloaded the pattern. It is incredible. I am just a little bit confused about armpit and neck shape decreases. In the chart they are not symmetrical and usually they are.
Could you please be so kind and explain to me why they are not symmetrical for the left and right side?
They should be one row removed. And that’s because you can’t (well you can, but let’s not make things more complicated, eh?) bind-off on the left side.
Hey Norman, this sweater appeals to me very much! Thx for sharing the pattern for free! I’m thirteen and I have been knitting for 2 yrs and this is gonna be my first sweater, but after reading thru the pattern, now it does’nt seem as difficult to me as it did at first sight. (I needed to alter the pattern a little bit tho, because I wanna use worsted yarn and my body is certainly smaller than yours:)) But I think I know an intarsia knitting way where I don’t have to use a lot of yarn bobbles, I’m just holding the unused yarn on the wrong side, and then picking it up when it comes to play. If you understand what am I thinking of, does this technique suitable on this project?Thank you once again for the design and the free pattern!
I wish you the best,
And sorry for forgotting it in the first comment, I have another question. Can I knit the body up until the armpits in the round on circular needles and then separate it in two parts?
The method you are talking about is called stranded knitting or fair isle. You cannot use that technique for this pattern and you cannot continue in the round at the armpits.
This is beautiful and would love to try this. I think I’m missing something though. I can not find the link to download the pattern in this article. Where is the link to download the pattern? Thank you.
there should be a form where you can insert your email. But maybe your browser is blocking that.
Thanks so much for this tutorial, but I’m wondering do you have a tutorial on knitting a sweater top-down?
not yet, sorry.