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Monday, January 23, 2012

Crocheting Sweaters from the Top Down

Doris Chan's Avalon Top here free
Click here for the FREE pattern by milobo !

I  read an article on the Crochet Me website about "Top Down Sweaters" , written by editor Toni Rexroat, and wanted to share that with you. I have made top down sweaters and personally agree with what the editor of Crochet Me wrote. It is easier than a sweater that's worked in the round or has a front and back with "set in" sleeves. Attaching your yarn to the yoke and crocheting the sleeves in the round is a breeze. The tan cardigan below seems like a good project to start with if you want to try this "Top Down" method. Especially since it's FREE! There are lots of projects from this pattern on Ravelry with photos of this sweater in many different colors and sizes.

One of my favorite designers is Doris Chan, because I absolutely love lace!
 She specializes in lace garments and top down sweaters. I've met her and hung out with her several times at the Knit and Crochet Show (Chain Link) and TNNA. She's lots of fun and one of the nicest persons I know! I have all 3 of her books. The blue sweater below is also a FREE pattern using thread. For more crochet patterns using the "Top Down" method, go to this page at Ravelry.

Fishnet Sweater in Positively Crochet
If you want to try a quick and easy top down project, my Fishnet Sweater in Positively Crochet! (right) would be a great project. It should take you only a few hours, and is definitely a week-end project.

 FlexibleFashions 's FREE pattern
The Fishnet Sweater calls for bulky yarn and a large hook. I also have instructions on how to make this for a child, using smaller yarn.
I did a Google search for "Top Down Sweaters", in case you want more patterns or info on this method. Click here to find more websites and blogs.

 I do love this method, but I also have to say that I don't agree that it's the easiest way to crochet a fitted sweater. My new Graduated Stitch Method (featured in my book, Crochet That Fits) of making fitted, flattering sweaters without having to use increases or decreases, has the Top Down method beat! My method begins with the foundation chain at the side, which makes a perfect, custom fit. Even though there are specific sts and rows for sizes xs - 3x, if that particular size you made does not fit, all you have to do is add or delete rows. It's SO easy and stress free! This method has different stitch heights (graduated sts) on the same row. In fact on some of my designs, I have sc, hdc,dc, trc, and dtrc on the same row.  Using the shorter and taller stitches is what shapes the garment without using increases and decreases. Your first reaction may be, "Oh, that could be confusing", but it's really not at all. In fact most of the designs (tops, sweaters, skirts, dresses, shrugs, scarves, hats) that I have made with this method are labeled "beginner" or "advanced beginner". People all over the world who have made only scarves, afghans or washcloths, because they were intimidated with incs or decs, are now making their own garments!

Crochet That Fits by Mary Jane Hall
I will be posting soon about my Graduated Stitch method, which is in my book, Crochet That Fits. I just know the reason this book was voted "Best Crochet Pattern Book of 2008" was because of my new method. If you want to see some of my designs with this method, and are a member of Ravelry, take a look here. I  get emails from crocheters all the time thanking me for my new method. It's been very rewarding and the time and effort I put into the book was all worth it!

  My Cap Sleeve Top below is an example of a garment made with the Graduated Stitch method (side to side) and was featured on the Knit and Crochet Now TV Show the same day I was on the show for an interview. If you go to their website, you can download a FREE pattern for this cute and trendy top! Just look for Season 3 - Episode 108. Scroll down to look for the faded lavender top pattern.
Cap Sleeve Top in Crochet That Fits - Sizes xs - 3x


  1. I loved your book Mary!

    Especially the beautiful black dress that was on the cover.

    1. Thank you so much! I really enjoyed doing the book!

  2. We would like to use your photo for a client's website slideshow; a premium yarn shop in the Wine Country in California. We would give credit with a link to your book or blog.

    My only blogger account is for my health technology website.

    Thank you-Tamara Zablocki