How to knit the Wilderness Sweater for Beginners



As a beginner, the first sweater is a project that is likely to have some mistakes so my advice is to buy a affordable yarn and rather spend some money on your second sweater: D Drops Eskimo or Hobby yarn from Viking yarn is a good choice for your first wilderness sweater. (Warning!i My english is not the greatest). 

Some yarn tips for your second sweater:

The yarn types I usually use for the Wilderness Sweater are Alafosslopi from Istex, Blåne and Troll from Hillesvåg Ullvarefabrikk. Alafosslopi is an Icelandic yarn that contains top and undercoat from the sheep. This makes the sweater water-resistant and perfect for tough conditions. Troll and Blåne are also great yarns for outdoor use.

If you are going to use the sweater indores you can try yarn made of alpakka = Brushed alpaca from sandnes yarn, bris from viking yarn, drops melody, Pus from DSA.


Beginners often knit either very loose or very tight. People who knit tight often prefer metal needles because the yarn glides better on the needles. If you knit loose, bamboo needles are a better choice. so my advice is to try both and see what you like more.  

Different types of needles:

There are sooo many different needles , but do not fear! Which needles you need is written in the pattern. It`s important to mention that the needle size is only a suggestion. And the reason is that everyone knits differently and one uses the needle size to adjust the size of a stitch. In the pattern for the Wilderness Sweater there are 13 stitches of 10 cm and that just means that you have to use the needle size that gives you the correct gauge. So if you knit super tight without adjusting the needle size you get a tiny sweater. It is also very common to knit much tighter on colour work, so if that`s the case you have to increase the needle size when you knit colour work.

If you think  gauge was a little scary I recommend that you knit your first sweater and worry about the gauge when you start your second sweater:D


The body 

How to find the right size for you.

To find the right size, I measure around the chest and add between 7 and 10 cm. Choose the size that`s closest to the given number.  The reason is that I personally find tight-fitting wool sweaters uncomfortable to wear. Also, I want there to be a bit of space underneath the sweater so I can have room for clothes. 

 If you need to use the sweater a lot in the rain and snow, the sweater will also contract (this applies only if you use yarn made of wool). So it is better that the sweater is a little too big, than a little too small.

The sizes in the pattern are standardized. All bodies are different and you may want to have shorter or longer sleeves and body on your sweater. It’s impossible to create a size that fits perfectly on all body shapes, so when you’ve become more experienced you can use gauge and amount and stitches to make the sweater just as you like it. But as a beginner i would advise to follow the pattern.

How to cast on.

I use the «long tale cast on» method (search on youtube if you are unsure how to do this). Cast on stitches on needle 4.5 mm. 

If you find it difficult to cast on, I can happily say that most beginners think that this is the most difficult thing with the whole sweater. 


The purpose of the rib is to make it elastic, but also to prevent the body from curling. 

The sweater is knitted in the round so make sure that nothing is twisted before you join in the round. If you start knitting with twists on the stitches you get a kind of “pretzel” that is impossible to save. 

The rib consists of one knit stitch and one purl stitch. Knit stitches are shaped like a V, while purl stitches are just a reverse knit stitch, and it`s shaped like a «pearl». Many beginners finds the rib difficult and a bit confusing. If you feel a lack of motivation while knitting the rib you can knit it a bit shorter then the pattern calls for. 

Chart A 

After you are finished with the rib you only knit knit stitches. Change to needle 6 and increase 6 stitches evenly. You increase stitches by using the method “make 1” (if you don’t know how to do this search on youtube). 

You are now ready for chart A. The chart is read from right to left. You can put a post it note over the rows you haven’t knitted yet so you don’t get confused. As you finish a round, move the post it note upwards.

There are many different methods of knitting colour work. Some people like to have the threads on the left finger, while some like to have one in each hand. (Search YouTube for «fair isle knitting» or «how to knit stranded colorwork»). Find the method that suits you best. It is quite common to knit tighter with multiple threads, so try relaxing your hands. You may also want to increase the size of the needle to get the correct gauge.

Be consistent with where you have the threads. The dominant colour should be closest to the knitwear so that it is highlighted and «pops». If you change the place on the threads the result will be uneven.

If knitting is totally new to you I recommend that you skip the colour work on the bottom and knit the body to practise the knit stitch. 

The rest of the body

Hurray! You are now done with the hardest part. Knit until you have the correct length for your size. With beginners it’s common to lose stitches, or to make new stitches by accident. Count that the number of stitches are correct. If you have lost stitches without retrieving them, take a small needle and thread with the yarn and retrieve the stitch. Then sew the stitch together with the stitch above and sew the thread inside the sweater. If, on the other hand, you have increased the number of stitches by accident, you must decrease the added stitches evenly over the next round. You decrease stitches by knitting two stitches together.




Rib on DPNs (Double pointed needles).

The first thing you do is to cast on stitches on Double pointed needles 4,5 mm. A set of DPNs consists of 5 needles where you cast on stitches spread across 4 needles and use the fifth needle to knit with. There are so few stitches at the bottom of the sleeve on this design that I usually use only 4 needles on the rib (I divide the stitches on 3 needles and use the fourth to knit with).

There are two different ways to cast on stitches on DPNs. You can either cast on the stitches on one needle and divide the stitches into 3 needles afterwards, or you can cast on evenly on the needles. I usually cast on the stitches evenly distributed right away.

The sleeves are knitted in the round. Make sure nothing is twisted before you begin to knit! The first few rounds are a little tough! here the needles often fly around a bit and it feels a bit chaotic, but it gets better after a few rounds:D When you finish knitting the stitches on one needle, you just continue to knit the stitches on the next needle (and so on). Be sure to tighten slightly when you start knitting on a new needle so you don’t get any loose stitches in the transitions between the needles.

Continue to knit the rib until the rib measures the correct length.

Increases after the rib. 

After knitting the rib, you will need to change both the size of the needles and increase stitches evenly.

You do this by knitting the stitches over on 6 mm DPN needles while increasing the number of stitches indicated in the pattern. Now you have to knit over the stitches on 4 needles (and not 3 as you did on the rib) as there are more stitches on the needle. You increase stitches by using the method “make 1”. If you are not sure how to increase stitches, you can search for «make 1» on youtube.

Colourwork on the bottom of the sleeves. 

Knit the chart. Knitting patterns with DPNs can be a bit tricky and it is easy to knit a little tight. Make sure the threads on the inside do not get too tight. If you find it a little confusing to knit colourwork, you can use a post it note and cover the rows you have not yet knitted. Move the post it note upward for each round.


After you have finished the colourwork, start increasing stitches. The stitches should be increased under the sleeve to make them less visible. Begin by placing a marker at the first stitch on the round. You should now increase a stitch on each side of this marked stitch every 8 rounds until you get the specified number of stitches. I use right- and left leaning increases. If you are unsure how to do this, you can search “make 1 left” and “make 1 right” on youtube. Youtube is a beginner’s best friend when it comes to knitting, but you have to know what to search for. As you get more stitches on the DPNs you can change to a small circular needle 6 mm(40 cm long). Knit the sleeve to the specified, or desired, length:D 


Knit the sleeves over on the same needle as the body 

Place the indicated number of stitches, from the inside of the sleeve, on a thread as shown in the picture.

Do the same on the body. Then knit over the sleeve on the same needle as the body.

Now you can knit to the other side of the body and do the same thing when you have knitted your second sleeve. The beginning of the round is behind the left shoulder. 





The yoke

How to get the pattern on the mid front of the sweater 

The beginning of the round is behind the left sleeve. So to find out where you need to start to get the pattern centered, you place a marker on the middle of the front piece.

The easiest way to get the pattern centered is to put a marker on every single stitch to be knit in color from the center until you get to the beginning of the round. The chart is comprised of  6 stitches so you place a marker mid front, count 5 and mark the sixth stitch, count 5, mark the sixth stitch etc until you get to the beginning of the round. Now you know exactly where to start in the chart. Use the same method when you knit the paws.

How to decrease evenly

After you have finished knitting the first part of the chart, you decrease evenly. (There are apps you can use to make this easier if you prefer that.)

I do it this way:

If I have 200 stitches on the needle and are going to decrease 40 stitches I divide 200 by 40. Then I get 5. That means I have to decrease every fifth stitch. I start knitting 4 stitches. I decrease 1. The stitch I now have on the right needle counts as 1. So then I count 1 (the one you have on the needle), 2, 3, 4 and decrease the fifth stitch. Repeat.

You can also mark every fifth stitch so you know exactly where to decrease and you don’t have to count during the round. 

How to catch floats behind the paws 

The thread behind the paws can get long, so twist the yarn behind the paw when you knit. Give the thread a little tug. If the thread becomes too loose, it may become visible on the outside of the sweater.

When knitting the paws you need to decrease as shown in the chart. A “V” represents 1 stitch so you just knit these two stitches together. 

Now you finish the sweater: D

Knit together under the sleeves

Now put the stitches under the sleeve onto two DPNs (6 mm). I usually pick up 2 stitches on each side to prevent holes. Then you twist the sweater and knit together  under the sleeves. If you are not sure how to do this, you can search for “Three needle bind off” on youtube. Sew inn all the loose threads.


Garments that are knitted in wool should be washed before use.

Newly knit sweaters are very stiff and uncomfortable to wear. The colourwork is also often a bit bulky. After washing, the fibers relax and the wool becomes softer and the colourwork becomes flat and even. When the wool is wet you also have the opportunity to stretch the sweater into shape. The yarn can also contain remnants of excess dye.

I usually put the sweater in a bucket or in the tub in lukewarm water. Then I squeeze all the air out of the sweater so the sweater gets completely wet. Then I squeeze the excess water out of the sweater. Finally, I put the sweater on a towel and roll the towel. I usually do this a couple of times (with a new towel) before finally drying the sweater flat. You dry woolen garments flat because wet wool extends, which is quite nice to know if you actually want it longer in some places. 

Congratulations! You have now finished your first sweater! :D