Ye Olde Letter Sweater
by Andrea L. Knepper
There is something about having a sweater with an enormous monogram on it. Even better is a giant letter in Old English script! In this pattern, I’ve paired an Old English font with a fun monogram sweater to bring you Ye Olde Letter Sweater. You will have to do a little math to create your custom pattern and a chart of your sweater before you begin stitching.
This is a very easy drop shoulder pattern that requires only basic stitch knowledge and color change skills to complete. If you want to jazz it up a bit, use front post and back post stitches to create the monogram in relief. Try varying yarn weight and hook size and placement of the monogram for a different look. Create a striped background and do your monogram in a third color. Finish the neckline and sleeves with a picot stitch or shells for a more feminine version. Or, use the method described below and design your own graphic to stitch on your sweater!
- “A” Sweater:
- 3 skeins Red Heart Super Saver in Aran Fleck 4313 (96% acrylic, 4% other fibers; 5 oz/142 g; 260 yds/237 m)
- 1 skein Red Heart Super Saver in Coffee 0365 (100% acrylic; 7 oz/198 g; 364 yds/333 m)
- “P” Sweater:
- 2 skeins Caron Simply Soft Brites! In Berry Blue 9609 (100% acrylic; 6 oz/170 g; 315 yds/288 m)
- 1 skein Caron Simply Soft Brites@ in Mango 2605 (100% acrylic; 3 oz/85 g; 157 yds/144 m)
- An appropriately sized crochet hook
- Graph paper
Make a 4″ x 4″ (10cm x 10cm) gauge swatch then divide to find your 1” (2.54 cm) gauge.
This pattern is written for custom sizing, in a worksheet format. You can print out a copy and fill in the blanks (_____) as you go.
**Be sure to read these carefully before beginning to measure and crochet!**
If you use the men’s size chart from yarnstandards.com, note that for the length, the back hip length is given. You will not need to add anything if you decide on a hip length sweater. If you decide to make a tunic-length sweater, you will need to add 4” to the back hip length given in the chart.
If the sweater recipient is larger around the middle, take a waist or hip measurement. Use whichever measurement is the larger of the waist/hip measurement or the cross back length measurement when making your chart.
The size of the armholes will be equal to the head circumference. If an adjustment needs to be made for larger arms, measure the biceps of the sweater recipient and add 7-8 inches, whichever is most comfortable.
Be sure to carefully read the fit and measurement descriptions before you begin. Double check your math and chart before you start!
Hdc2tog (half-double crochet two together [decrease]): [Yo, insert hook into next stitch, draw up a loop] twice, yo, draw through all 5 loops on hook.
Fphdc (Front-post half-double crochet): Work a half-double crochet around post of hdc of previous row from front as follows: Yo, insert hook into space before next hdc from front, wrap hook around post of the st, yo, draw loop through, yo, draw through all 3 loops on hook.
Bphdc (Back-post half-double crochet): Work a half-double crochet around post of hdc of previous row from back as follows: Yo, insert hook into space before next hdc from back, wrap hook around post of the st, yo, draw loop through, yo, draw through all 3 loops on hook.
Decisions you need to make
Fit: Do you want your sweater to be standard or loose fit? For standard fit, add 3-4” to your cross back length. For loose fit, add 5-6”. Put this number in the blank in front of the cross back length measurement space below.
Length: Do you want a hip-length or tunic-length sweater? For hip, add 2-4” to your back waist length measurement. For tunic length, add 6”. Put this number in the blank in front of the back length measurement space below. **Remember that the measurement given in the men’s size chart is for back hip length. Use this measurement for a hip length sweater or add 4” for a tunic length.
Measurements you will need
____ Cross back length (this is the length from the outside of one shoulder to the other). We will refer to the actual cross back length + the fit adjustment as cross back length throughout the pattern.
____ Sleeve length (the length of a slightly bent arm from armpit to cuff).
____ Neck opening (measure snugly around the head across the forehead and subtract 1) We will refer to the actual head circumference – 1” as neck opening throughout the pattern. Enter this number in the blank space.
____ Back length (measure from the base of the neck to the waist and add 2 – 6” for desired length). We will refer to the actual back waist length + the length adjustment as back length throughout the pattern.
____ Wrist opening (measure around the wrist and add 1 1/2″) We will refer to wrist opening as wrist circumference + 1 1/2 “ throughout the pattern.
Note: If you don’t want to or can’t measure the recipient of your sweater, please refer to the CYCA sizing chart at Yarnstandards.com for suggested measurements.
Making your chart
Use a piece of graph paper. There are many sites online that will help you create custom graph paper (befriend Google). Or you can make your own in a spreadsheet by setting the column height to 1.29 and the row height to 11.5. I used Excel to make my charts. (You can download a full set of charts by clicking the image at right [PDF ~40K].)
_____ Multiply your cross back length times the # of stitches from your 1” gauge swatch. This is how many stitches wide your sweater chart will be.
_____ Multiply your back length times the # of rows from your 1” gauge swatch. This is how many rows high your sweater chart will be.
Here’s where the math comes in.
Monogram dimensions (refer to the alphabet chart): ____ stitches x ____ rows
_____ Divide the # of rows in your sweater chart by 3. If you get a fraction, round up. This is how many rows down the monogram will be placed.
_____ Subtract the number of stitches of the monogram from the number of stitches across the sweater chart. Divide this number by 2. This is the number of stitches you will have on either side of the monogram. Make sure there are an equal number of stitches on each side.
Calculating the neck opening
_____ Divide the neck opening measurement by 2. Multiply that number by the number of stitches in your 1” gauge swatch (jot down this number). Subtract this number from the number of stitches across the sweater chart and divide by 2. This is the number of stitches you will have on either side of your neck opening. Mark this on your sweater chart.
Now we are going to work directly on the sweater chart. In the top rows of the chart between the stitches we marked for the opening, we are going to create a curved neck. We will create this curve over three rows. To begin, erase all the stitches in the top row of the sweater chart between the neck opening you marked. Divide the number you wrote down in the last calculation by 6. If you get a fraction, round down. We will call this number the curve mark. From one side of the neck opening you marked on your sweater chart in the second row, count the curve mark towards the center of the sweater chart. Mark this place. Do the same from the other side of the neck opening and mark that place. Erase the stitches between these marks on your sweater chart. Repeat this step in the next row down on the chart.
Calculating the sleeve opening
_____ Divide the neck opening measure by 2. Multiply that number by the number of rows in your 1” gauge swatch. Beginning at the top of the sweater chart, count that number of rows down and mark.
Stitching the sweater
Each square of your sweater chart represents one half-double crochet stitch. Your starting chain will need to be the number of stitches in your sweater chart plus 2 because you will be crocheting into the third chain from your hook when you begin your next row. The row of hdc that you crochet into the chain corresponds to the bottom row of the sweater chart worked from right to left.
Chain 2 (does not count as part of the chart) at the end of each row, turn, and continue following your chart.
To work color changes for the monogram
Work last hdc in the first color until you have three loops left on your hook. Yarn over with the second color and draw through to complete the stitch. “Carry” the first color by crocheting over it. Hdc with second color according to chart working over the carried yarn. This method will result in the carried color showing through in places. This doesn’t bother me. If you don’t want to see any of the carried color, you will need to drop the first color when you attach the second color. This will ensure your monogram is a solid color but you’ll have tons of ends to weave in.
To work monogram in relief (optional)
When you get to the monogram, determine which side is the right side. Personally, since I am lazy about this sort of thing, whichever side is facing when I get to the first row of the monogram is the right side. Work each stitch of the monogram in fphdc. Stitches not in the monogram will be hdc. When you work the next row, remember this is the wrong side and make the monogram stitches in bphdc. Super simple. If you get your sides mixed up, you’ll know because your monogram won’t be popping out on only one side.
Working the neck opening
When you reach the neck opening, it will become obvious that you will only be working one side of the opening at once. The end of each short row around the neck opening will end in a decrease stitch. Hdc2tog over the last two stitches in each short row. After completing the front and back side of one shoulder, tie off the yarn. You will need to reattach the yarn for the other shoulder. Be sure to attach on the same side as the row you left of. For example, if your first row on the first shoulder was a wrong side row, reattach your yarn for the second shoulder and begin working on the wrong side. When both shoulders are completed (front and back of sweater), chain the appropriate number of stitches according to your chart to complete the neck opening then work into the last row of the second shoulder.
Working the front and back in one piece
Rather than having to work multiple pieces for the sweater and seam them together, I chose to work the front and back in one piece. I worked the front of the sweater according to my chart up to the top row. Then, I kept going, working the back top-down from the sweater chart (minus the monogram, of course) until complete. The front and back of the sweater are identical, with the exception of the monogram.
Seaming the sides
You should have marked where the sleeve openings begin on your sweater chart. Seam on the wrong side of the sweater from the bottom edge up to the row marked as the beginning of the sleeve opening. Do this on both sides.
_____ Last calculation, I promise. Multiply the length of the entire sleeve opening by the # of stitches in your 1” gauge swatch to determine the number of stitches around the sleeve opening. Multiply the length of the wrist opening by the # of stitches in your 1” gauge swatch to find the number of stitches around the wrist opening. Subtract the number of stitches around the wrist opening from the number of stitches around the sleeve opening. This is how many stitches you will need to decrease over the length of the sleeve. Multiply the length of the sleeve by the # of rows in your 1” gauge swatch to find the number of rows that will be in your sleeve.
The decrease rate over the length of the sleeve will equal the number of stitches needed to decrease divided by the number of rows in your sleeve. If you get a fraction, you will need to do one more calculation. Divide 1 by the fraction of your result. For example, when I made the “A” sweater, the decrease rate for my gauge was 1.23. 1 divided by .23 equals ~4 (round to the nearest whole number). So, I needed to decrease 1 stitch every row and 2 stitches every 4 rows.
Personally, I could do without ever sewing a seam on anything I crochet, so I crocheted the sleeves of my sweaters directly onto the body. To do this, attach the sweater where the seam meets on the underside of the sleeve opening. Stitch directly around the sleeve opening, taking care not to skip any stitches. Make sure you count the stitches in the first round as you may need to make adjustments to the decrease calculations for the sleeve. Work in rounds, attach with a slip stitch to the first stitch in the round on the underside of the sleeve.
For the decrease, you will use hdc2tog over the last two stitches in the row or round. This stitch will count as 1 stitch. So, you will need to work 1 hdc2tog per 1 decrease.
Use any stitch you like to finish your letter sweaters. I prefer a few rounds of single crochet, especially as my sweaters were made for boys. For the sleeve edging, I slip stitched into each stitch around the sleeve opening for a different look.
Finally, weave in any loose ends.