Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Afghans for Afghans Destash Sweater Knitting Pattern

I designed this sweater specifically for the January 2012 Afghans for Afghans youth campaign. Like most wool-loving knitters, I've accumulated quite a stash of beautiful wool oddballs, and this piece is a great way to put them to use (especially for us A4A knitters who'd love to make sweaters for kids but find it hard to spring for the cost of all that wool!). If your yarn is in all different colors, I recommend alternating colors every two rows. I bought a couple of balls of variegated Patons Classic Wool specifically for this project, alternating rows with leftover wool yarns; the "base" yarn helped keep some continuity in the colors. Whether or not you decide to buy new yarn is entirely up to you.

I adapted this pattern from the yoke sweater templates found in "The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns" by Ann Budd. It's knit from the bottom-up and joined as you go, with garter stitch borders. So raid your stash and have fun!

Size: Small adult/teenager
Finished chest circumference: 34"

Gauge: 5 sts/inch in St st. (Since the campaign is for youths ages 7-16, your gauge doesn't have to be perfect as long as your sweater will fit someone that age range.)

32" long US 6 circular, five US 6 double-pointed needles
Stitch markers
A whole lot of worsted weight wool (about 920 yds) (you can also use sport or DK weight wool held double)

With circular needle, CO 172. Place marker (pm) and join in round. Work in garter stitch for 2" (knit one round, purl one round). Work in St st (knit every round) until sweater body measures 14" from CO, ending 4 sts before marker.
(BO 8, k 78) 2 times. There will be 78 sts for the front of the sweater and 78 for the back.

Sleeves: (make 2)
With double-pointed needles, CO 40. Pm and join in round. Work in garter stitch for 2".
Working in St st, increase 1 stitch on each side of marker every 6 rounds 11 times - 62 sts.
Work in St st until sleeve measures 15.5" from CO, ending 4 sts before marker.
BO 8 and work to end of round - 54 sts.

Join body and sleeves:
K 54 from left sleeve, pm; k 78 from body front, pm; k 54 from right sleeve, pm; k 78 from back, pm to mark end of round - 264 sts total.

(K to 1 st past marker, k2tog) 4x - 260 sts.
Work even in St st until yoke measures 2".
Decrease round 1: (k3, k2tog), repeat across - 208 sts.
Work even until yoke measures 4".
Decrease round 2: (k2, k2tog), repeat across - 156 sts.
Work even until yoke measures 6".
Decrease round 3: (k1, k2tog), repeat across - 104 sts.
Work even until yoke measures 7.75".

Shape neck:
Make 2 short rows: K to left shoulder line, wrap st, turn;
P to right shoulder line, wrap st, turn;
k to 1" before previously wrapped st, wrap st, turn;
p to 1" before previously wrapped st, wrap st, turn;
K to end of round.
K one round even, knitting the wrapped stitches together to hide them.
Decrease round 4: (k1, k2tog), repeat across - 69 sts.

Work in garter st for 3/4". BO.
Sew underarm seams.
Weave in all ends.


  1. Hi Anne,
    I was one of the A4A "basement elves" last week. I really loved your sweater and like the idea of using all my left overs. Thanks for sharing the pattern. Lynne

  2. I just read an article about a couple who just buried their eighth child at a refugee camp in Afghanistan, and realized I haven't made anything for A4A lately. With sorrow and fury threatening to overtake me, I went looking for simple sweater patterns, and found not just your pattern, but hope.

    Thank you.

  3. Thanks so much for your comments. My husband mentioned that article to me, and it breaks my heart to think that so many children are suffering because they don't have something as basic as warm clothing. I'm pleased to have gotten so much good feedback for my sweater design, and I know your sweaters will make such a difference in a young person's life. Thank you!