Regardless of how many scarves and cowls you’ve made, knitting your first sweater may be extremely sweat-inducing — even more so if the pattern you choose features a complex (and stunning!) embroidered design. 

However, Annie Lupton, the knitting queen who teaches Boho Style: Embroidered Sweater, wants you to put your first-time nerves to rest. She presented her greatest ideas for overcoming hesitations, discussed how she began blurring the borders between crafts, and revealed her top secrets for newbie knitters looking to begin their love affair with fiber.

The sweater design included in this workshop is an excellent first-time project. Are you able to recall your first sweater? What do you wish you had known before you began?

You are correct; it is an excellent starting sweater due to its one-piece construction and lack of seaming. Additionally, you may try it on as you go to ensure proper fit!

As is the case with many knitters, my first couple of sweaters were a complete disaster. I made the error of not producing a gauge swatch, which resulted in the size being completely wrong and the shoes fitting incorrectly. 

My first bit of advice is to obtain a gauge before beginning, and then take your time and methodically read through the pattern. You should have no difficulty!

This design mixes embroidery into knitwear — what prompted you to begin blurring the distinctions between crafts?

I adore how mixing crafts results in a real one-of-a-kind completed creation. I began my design career with a shawl that mixed knitting and crochet edging since I couldn’t locate an appropriate knit lace pattern. I’ve explored the idea of integrating the two crafts countless times since.

I was motivated to embroider by artists who work with hand needlework on ready-to-wear garments. I experimented with embroidery on hand knits and fell in love with the overall appearance. Additionally, I’ve had a design with a macrame knotted edging and would like to continue experimenting with that combination in the future.

Do you have any advice for knitters interested in developing their patterns?

Knit as many designs as possible from various designers to get a sense of how garments are constructed. Then, locate a decent book or workshop that leads you through the design process, such as Craftsy’s Handknit Garment Design, and simply go for it! While the design requires work to improve, it is not as mysterious or hard as you may expect.

You were hand-spinning your yarn before becoming a designer. How has this influenced your design work and, more broadly, your knitting?

I believe that spinning yarn teaches you a greater appreciation for fiber in general. Sheep breeds differ in their characteristics, and how yarn is spun (worsted vs. woolen) affects its feel, texture, and drape. 

Drawing on that knowledge base has helped me better understand yarns and increased my confidence in selecting the appropriate kind for a particular design since different yarns may emphasize different approaches and features in a design.

What is your preferred fiber for knitting?

I’m not very fond of ultra-wash wools. I prefer to deal with natural fibers; I am particularly fond of the Rambouillet and Cormo wool breeds. I adore working with linen and silk for summer patterns.

What would we discover if we peered inside your knitting bag right now?

I’m currently working on a few sweater designs for this winter. I’m quite enthusiastic about a forthcoming holiday design that will have an embroidered yoke all over, like my Boho Style class!