There are so many different ways to knit a sweater, and thinking about how you want your sweater to go is a good place to start when you’re trying to choose a pattern.
The first consideration is whether you want your garment to be knit in pieces or all in one piece (or as much as possible in one piece). Both pullovers and cardigans can be worked either way.
There are pros and cons to both. Knitting that is pieced may be more portable, makes it possible to do intarsia and, some people say, is more stable and durable because the seams support the weight of the sweater. On the other hand, advocates of seamless sweaters may tell you they are faster, better for other kinds of colorwork and more likely to get to a state where you can wear them because there’s minimal finishing once the knitting is done.
Whichever method you choose, you can also work from the top down or the bottom up. I usually see pieced garments worked from the bottom up, and while circular yoke and raglan sweaters make more sense to me worked from the top down, you really can go either way.
Another choice you may have to make is how the sleeves are knit. They, too, can be done top down or bottom up and they can be worked flat or in the round. You may work the body from the bottom up in the round and then work the sleeves from the top down in the round, or you can work the body and sleeves both from the top down.
Of course if you’re just looking at patterns rather than designing a sweater yourself you don’t have to really think about all these different options, but it’s nice to know what’s out there and to understand how different sweaters go together before you start knitting them.
Does a particular style of sweater seem more or less attractive to you as a knitter? I’d love to know. And throughout the month I’ll be sharing patterns for different construction methods, so look out for your favorites.