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Yes, Virginia, There is a Perfect Sweater Pattern

Dear Kay, and All Valiant Heroes Who Have Helped to Determine the Perfect Handknit,
I know there are a lot of you who have decided that world peace will arrive before the pattern for the Perfect Sweater.
Ah, the Future Search for the Perfect Handknit, the project from last fall which turned our blog into a regular United Nations (or supercatty episode of The View).
Well, I’m here to tell you that world peace will have to come tomorrow. The pattern for the Perfect Sweater is done.
Pretty much done. More done than not. Done enough to launch on its way to everybody who has ever wanted to make the Perfect Sweater.
First, I want to apologize to those of you who have been waiting, and inquiring in superpolite ways, and generally not being awful to me about the fact that this pattern is long overdue. I can’t say I would have been so kind had I bought up a batch of Cascade 220 (The Perfect Yarn, it had been decided) only to find that the pattern was stuck somewhere in the ether. So: thank you for your patience.
Second, I’d like to thank everyone who participated in this gabfest. It has been educational and hilarious to hear everyone’s opinion about what constitutes the perfect handknit. For those who would like to see how we ended up with a “perfect sweater,” the whole tale is available in the archives beginning right here.
What It Is
Here’s where it all stands–and this is where I send a giant THANK YOU to Mandy our tech editor, who has been a regular Florence Nightingale, nursing this thing along. I encourage you all to go give her a thank you or a pile of diamonds. Or a new brain, because surely she blew her current one on the calculations she just finished.
We have a pattern for a sweater which includes the following features:

Written for nine (count-’em nine) sizes, from a 28″ bust to a 60″ bust
Long sleeves
Set-in sleeves
Slightly shaped waist
Three hem/cuff options: seed stitch, hemmed with a flat edge, hemmed with a picot edge
Three neckline options: rolled jewelneck, V neck (designed by the heroic Suzanne), seed stitch

Now, there are a number of elements missing from this pattern: some neckline variations and the entire issue of the cardigan option. Our elaborate voting called for these things. Perfection is complicated, it turns out. And I have no doubt that in time we will get them all. Everybody who volunteered to cook up a neckline is still welcome to do so–of course.
Thanks to Mandy’s blazing calculator and good sense, this Perfect Sweater pattern is a thing of beauty. It includes notes on such tidbits as the three-needle bindoff, a crochet provisional cast-on, and the best increases and decreases. I think this is a fantastic pattern for anyone wanting to make a sweater for the first time.
In all its numerically dense glory, here is the Perfect Sweater pattern. Free to all!
A Test Knitting
I’ve just finished my second Perfect Sweater, test-knitting the pattern. Let me tell you, never in my life have I had the sort of effortless success that I have had with this pattern. Rilly! It’s like it’s charmed or something. Check out these hot blocking photos:
Have you ever seen a 19″-wide sweater be so very 19 inchy?
Or a 21 1/2″ side seam be so NOT 22 inches?
In fact, the only error in the whole knitting of this thing was mine–after I finished sleeve #2 last night, I ran downstairs to block this final sweater part. I laid it out, pins a-ready, and discovered that something was seriously, wonkishly wrong. Sleeve #1 (knitted back in March, I’m chagrined to report) was, like, a full inch taller than sleeve #2. SOMEbody did not follow the directions. Incredible. So I reknit the sleeve cap of sleeve #1.
If anyone doubts the mighty redemptive power of blocking, you can see in this picture the irregular new stitches at the top, and the fluffy, steamed-like-a-clam stitches of the bottom. Really, Cascade 220 is a marvelous yarn–it loves to be knitted, and it loves to be blocked. It’s, uh, perfect.
I can’t wait to make another one.
Ze Future of the Perfect Sweater
As with all good collaborative projects, there will be no end to the Perfect Sweater. Necklines remain to be designed, cardigans to be figured out, top-downs, sideways. We hope people will dive in and and make the Perfect Sweater even perfecter. To that end, we have set up this Creative Commons license which gives readers a lot of liberty to copy the pattern and to create derivative versions as long as they give proper attribution. After all, everybody who participated in the Search for the Perfect Handknit has a hand in how this pattern turned out.
So: print out a bunch and give them to people for Christmas. Looking for a bar mitzvah present? What better than the Perfect Sweater?
Yarn? What About Yarn, You Ask?
You have a great chance to score Perfect Yarn at a great price.
Two fantastic yarn shops are offering discounts (and no, MDK makes nary a dime off yarn sales):
Fiber Gallery in Seattle returns with 25% off all Cascade 220 from now until December 31st. Regular prices are: Cascade 220 (includes Quatro) $7; Cascade 220 Tweed $9.50; Cascade 220 Superwash $10. No online ordering available; please call in orders to the shop to provide credit card information: (206) 706-4197.
Threaded Bliss Yarns, Nashville, is offering a once-in-a-lifetime 20% discount on Cascade 220. Beginning on Wednesday, October 11, go visit the Threaded Bliss web site for details. Over a hundred shades in stock, up to 10 skeins at the sale price. Sheila will even order a bag of 10 for you if she doesn’t have your shade in stock.
And Finally . . .
I leave you with a thought. After the discussing and the voting and the retiring to the lounge when it got too loud, please remember this: the perfect sweater is the one you make the way you like it.
[Group hug]

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  1. Wow! Wonderful. Congrats to all. Off to stash dive and cast on. Or maybe I’ll just head over to the lounge first…

  2. OMG – now that there IS a perfect pattern I may actually have to try a sweater again. I’ve not had much luck in the past, but I think I can do this one. Thanks for all your hard work in find us that ‘perfect’ pattern!!

  3. aww..yay!! this is so exciting..the sweaters look great

  4. I’m chuffed beyond belief. GO ANN N MANDY N SUZANNE AND NECKLINE DESIGNERS TBA!!!!!!!
    I still haven’t come up with the perfect non-wool yarn. (If I pick Denim, there’ll be groans from the public that I ALWAYS pick Denim. I note, however, that Denim is the Perfect Gauge and in my road-tested opinion, the Perfect Yarn.)
    Oh hell, I’m doing mine in Denim. What are you gonna do about it? CONGRATZ YOU PERFECT NUT-JOBS!!!! love, Kay

  5. Thanks, I’ve been needing a garmet project and I think this is “perfect” for me!! Amy

  6. What’s that sound? Angels singing? Planets aligning? I was late enough to the party here to have missed the Great Sweater Colaboration (thanks for linking the archives!), and just wanted to say thank you to the Fearless Leaders for turning all that input into a Real Sweater. Does a newish knitter dare to use the perfect pattern for her first non-baby sweater?

  7. Oh sure . . . now that I’ve used three skeins of my perfect sweater yarn for a tote bag . . . (grin)
    It looks fabulous, though. Hurray!
    (Off to bake cupcakes for the party.)

  8. Yaaaaaaayyyyyyy!
    or in more World Cup Fashion (the crew is soccer mad at my house)…

  9. Could the timing of this have BEEN any more perfect? I think not. I’ve been looking for something and this is JUST that something. Thanks you Ann, Kaye, and all the MDK readers!!!

  10. Wow, y’all are just geniuses. I can’t wait to make one of these!!

  11. yes! thanks so much! it’s so great to see your sweaters and to know that whenever i want, i too can my own personal perfect sweater, out of the perfect yarn…at the perfect price! :o)

  12. The pattern is perfect. Thanks! Who loves the blue or were they done by two different people?

  13. wooooohooo! and the timing is great actually because it’s just starting to get cold… though I have two holiday garments to finish first. πŸ™ πŸ™‚

  14. Cheers! Whiskey drinks all around!!

  15. Kay, if you do yours in denim, could you post your adjustments-for-shrinkage?
    Both sweaters look awesome! I love the detail!!

  16. What a great sweater!!! I might actually try to make this one for myself. My last attempt at a sweater for myself was pretty sad. (It’s still on the needles) In the process I put on weight and now the sweater will be to small, hence no desire to finish.

  17. Woo Hoo!! I can’t wait to try this out in all its perfectness.

  18. Thanks for all the hard work on this! The size range is spectacular. So inclusive.
    BTW, the links to the fiber sites need to be tweaked a bit. Just remove the MDK portion of the URL…

  19. Wonderful! I can’t wait to undertake one of my own. But of course, my perfect neckline is boatneck. Wayyyyy easier than v-neck too πŸ™‚

  20. You two will be the death of me!
    -first knitting book: MDK (after MONTHS of knitting-blog-reading and being near-impervious to patterns and books)
    -first overzealous Christmas gift idea: MDK warshrags for ALL!
    -first lusty dream project: MDK log cabin blanket
    -first non-square knitting project: MDK perfect sweater!?
    Seriously. You should be earning a commission on all this.

  21. I will make a scoopneck! How? I don’t know but I’ll figure it out. It’s just sooooo perfect.
    Superthanks Ann & Mandy.
    Knniters rule!

  22. I love the contrast picot edging! So pretty! A cardigan will be my undoing – I will finally venture into knitted sweaterland.

  23. Thank you so much for the “perfect sweater”. I have printed it and it goes on the list of projects to start. Unfortunately, this is a long list. However I’m not above juggling the list around to make the more desireable projects rise to the top. Thanks again for all your work and your generous gift to us. It is truly a Happy Thanksgiving for us knitters in Canada!!
    Marlyce in Windsor, Ontario

  24. Gosh, I love you. But which neckline? I was going to do the cardigan, but that hemmed edge with the seed-stitch neckline….but the rolled edge….but what about the cardigan?…
    Thanks. Will download now, waffle later.

  25. You are the perfect supporter of knitters. Thank you. Thank. You.

  26. Hooray! And now my Cascade for this project has aged nicely in my stash, so this is perfect timing.

  27. It was a lot of fun last year voting on the the perfect sweater. What a great collobrative effort, you done good! Thanks you for the pattern I look forward to making the perfect sweater.

  28. I think that the launch of the Perfect Sweater pattern is the perfect time for me to pick my needles back up.
    And possibly make myself a LARGE gin and tonic.
    Kudos ladies!

  29. This looks like the perfect pattern for My First Sweater Ever! Two months ago I bought a ton of Cascade in a really pretty pumpkin color to make a sweater but haven’t found the right pattern. So all that lovely yarn sits sadly in the bag it came home in and I stick to my little projects of gloves and socks and dishcloths and such. Well, tah-duh, I think this is it! Thanks so much, M-D gals & Co., ya’ll have the best ideas!

  30. Thank you for making the pattern available to everyone. That is very generous after all the time and effort put into it. AND… thank you for making it in larger sizes!! I am looking forward to knitting this sweater.

  31. Thank you so much! But I am not understanding where to find the pattern. I click on the Creative Commons link and don’t get the pattern..I get a license and see no way to get the pattern from that page. ? Thanks.

  32. So, if this is the perfect pattern…. it must be the perfect time to start my first sweater! (I’ve been doing socks and felted bags forever) I’m so excited, I’ve been waiting for a pattern like this to be my first sweater. Thanks so much for all of your hard work on this, and for giving it to all of us for FREE! Hugs and kisses!

  33. So, since I have not knit a sweater nor anything that has needed to be blocked (and will probably be knitting this magnificent sweater soon), where did you get the fancy thing-a-ma-jigger that you have your sweater pinned to? Very intrigued by the small bit of it that is in the picture.

  34. I think I have the sweetheart neckline ready to go.

  35. I raise a toast to you, and wish that all your sweaters are perfect!
    THANK YOU!!!

  36. Very cool. I might have to knit one… right after I finish the 12 other things I’m knitting!
    May I ask the usual “what/where/how” on the blocking surface? Is that a special blocking board? I’ve only finished one thing that needed blocking so far and I rigged up something with a towel and piece of foam core board. Nothing else that has been finished has needed blocking yet – the hats and mittens seem not to need it. However, I am working on two scarves and will be starting a different sweater and was wondering what you used to block this Perfect Sweater that showed your success at the 19″ and 21.5″ marks!

  37. Perfect! Thank you!

  38. Long time reader, first time commenter. Oh my holy lord, I cannot wait to use this patter for my very first sweater. I don’t know that I could be more excited. This is EXACTLY what I’ve been looking for. And lucky me, I live in Seattle, I can just go to Fiber Gallery – no waiting on the mailman for yarn! Hooray!

  39. Wow, that sweater IS perfect, and I had nothing to do with the decisions as to what makes one.
    SO I think that means you guys got the nail right on the head.
    I can’t wait to try it!

  40. I may actually try my first sweater with this pattern. Thank you for sharing!!!

  41. I had begun to think I had imagined the whole Perfect Jumper thing, and then, yesterday, it was mentioned!! And now it is real!! I think I will make mine into a cardigan: green of course!!!!! I can’t wait!!!

  42. Woo-hoo!!!! Looks awesome.
    Um, I guess now I need to finish my cardigan version? I swear, it’s *almost* done…just one half of the front remaining. Honest.

  43. I’ve been reading faithfully for a few weeks… and now I’m so excited! I’ve been longing for a new rollneck sweater and no one makes them. I knew I would have to make one myself. Having recently conquered socks, which brought me back to knitting from crocheting, I think I’m ready to try a sweater, at long last. Thanks tons and tons, and I will try it in wool but look forward to Kay’s Denim updates, though my LYS is very wooly, I don’t know if they will have Denim.

  44. You’re a peach!
    Really you are!
    Thank you!

  45. i heart your thoroughness….it is a lovely quality! (and the sweaters are spiffy, too!)

  46. I have never. NEVER. wanted to make a sweater. Now I do. I’ll wait for the cardigan version for the husband, but the daughter away in college needs one. Soon. Kudos to everyone.

  47. Wonderful! Well done, ladies!

  48. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this sweater! Just purchased some heathered Cascade – can’t wait to start it! Thanks SO much for sharing – it’s a sweater that I know I’ll love and will wear over and over again! Congratulations!

  49. awesome! Thank you

  50. oy! Rejoice!
    The perfect sweater pattern, just in time for Perfect Sweater Season!!
    I can’t wait to cast on πŸ˜€

  51. I have been waiting for this sweater pattern my whole life. (Or I would have been had I been a knitter from birth. As it is, I’ve waited five years for this pattern.) Thank you.

  52. Great job! I’m so thankful to everyone who worked on this. And I am very excited to make the cardigan version one bright day.

  53. Wow, it looks even better than I imagined when we voted!
    As for the blocking board, I think I saw the very same one at WEBS in Mass. this weekend, you could probably get it on line or call them. OR, if you are cheap, like me, buy a 3 foot square piece of wood, staple thick foam onto it and cover with gingham with one inch square checks, makes a great blocking board, and doubles as a cat bed when not covered with knitting and pins.
    Can’t wait to knit this up. Thanks Ann and Mandy.

  54. if i ever overcome my short attention span & stop knitting vicariously through others, the Perfect Sweater pattern will be topmost on my list. for now: bisous to all who contributed to the PS project, and those 2 sweaters in the photo look nothing less than perfect! lovely…

  55. Thank you. I’ve never posted before, but thank you. An adjustable sweater in sizes for me!!

  56. Poifickt!

  57. Bravo, thank you Ann, Kay and Mandy. I’ve been on pins and needles waiting for this pattern.

  58. I know I already said this, Thank you for the pattern! – I’m putting this one on the inside cover of your first (hint hint hint) book!

  59. GREAT pattern! You gals ROCK! I am off to Fiber Gallery today (or maybe tomorrow) to get Cascade 220. I was going to make one for myself, but someone’s comment about daughter in college makes me think … should I make one for my daughter first… hmmm… Nah!

  60. What a wonderful time for The Perfect Sweater pattern to come along! I was looking for a new project, and a stashbuster at that. Thank you for making a V-neck option, and most of all, thank you for posting it for free! Your talent, patience and generosity are much appreciated.

  61. My LYS here in Colorado is offering Cascade 220 for $5.00/skein for the month of October! They have tons of colors…I hope it’s okay for me to pass along the savings:) Here’s the website where the phone number is listed: http://colorfulyarns.com/

  62. Thank You, Thank You Designers!! I really thought I wanted the cardi til I saw the roll neck. I guess there are 2 perfect sweaters in my future (or more if my daughters get a peek at the photo!!)

  63. Wow! Thanks! And thanks for the heads up about the sale at Fiber Gallery (odd that I have to hear about a sale at a store up the street from my house from two gals all the way across the country?)

  64. Thank you, thank you! My pale pink Cascade 220 is breathing a sigh of relief that it has finally been chosen to be next out of the stash!

  65. When I showed my husband the picture of the sweater and asked him what he thought, he became very excited and said, “I LOVE IT!! I’d actually wear that sweater.” Now, since I’m not too fond of the thing myself, (sorry), I was quite surprised at his reaction. More so, because he’s fairly resistant to the idea of me knitting for him. Do you think I can tweak this to fit a 6′ 4″ man?

  66. YAYYYYYYYYYYYY!!! It makes me want to give sweaters another try!!! (I swore them off a couple years ago after I made a HUGE mistake, didn’t swatch, and made a sweater that is too large for anyone to wear. It’s even too big for my friend who is 6’7″. But it sure is pur-dy.)

  67. Thank you so much! I have thoroughly enjoyed following the perfect sweater think tank and can’t wait to get this on the needles!

  68. Yay! I’ve been waiting for this pattern so that I could knit my first-ever adult-sized sweater. I can’t wait to start on it!

  69. Awesome perfect sweater! Great job to all of you for the Math and the knitting.

  70. Thanks for the pattern. I can’t wait to try it. Thanks for sharing it with all of us. It truly does look like the perfect sweater pattern.

  71. Well I can’t tell if the pattern is perfect and suspect my attempts will make it less so but so enjoyed the discussions and ideas that flew back and forth that I can only be pleased and thankful, pleased you got there and thankful for all the hard work you all put in plus the evident possibility that sharing freely can bring perfection…maybe an idea for the way the world could approach living together:0)
    The sweater will no doubt take me the next ten years to get even near complete but a good reminder of the power of hearts that knit as I drop stitches and rescue pieces from ‘playful’ dogs.

  72. Ann and Kay
    What an achievement. Thank you thank you. It is a keeper. Fun to see what all the knitting creative thoughts brought to fruition. What a wonderful gift that you two worked on it and now we can all share it.

  73. Ooooh! *excited bounce*

  74. Kudos all round! It’s so awesome, I didn’t expect to be as compelled as I am to make it. It looks like a flattering fit for many body types. And I LOVE the two tone picot hem.
    Request please for modelled shots and close ups of the necklines? Pretty please? πŸ™‚

  75. you ladies rock! (as does *everyone* who contributed!)
    This is great. Can’t wait for the cardigan!

  76. Forgive me for coming late to the epic of the perfect sweater, but is the perfect sweater perfectly perfect for men? Seems to me that knitting by chest measurement and adjusting arm length oughta make it work. There’s waist shaping involved? Now that could get a little frightening.

  77. Late to the party but yes, I also think this is a wonderful sweater, even though I was oblivious of MDK while the consensus design process was going on.
    I do have a small suggestion, Ann. I was taught as a child to knit both sleeves at the same time, using 2 balls of yarn to cast on twice on the same needle. Knit to pattern, keeping yarn separate for each sleeve. The 2 sleeves always come out the same, as all the increases, decreases, and variations in your knitting are identical.
    Hope this helps….Laurel

  78. What an amazing sweater! I can’t wait to try it.

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