How to Knit a Sweater Top Down – 2 Summer Knit Patterns 

Knitting for summer may seem like an oxymoron at first glance, but when you use the right yarn and pattern, you can create lightweight knits you can enjoy all spring & summer long! So let’s explore how to knit a sweater top down for spring & summer. 

But don’t think Zephryos or the Zephyros Cardigan are just meant for summer. Both come with long and short sleeve options so you can make them perfect for you in any season! (And don’t miss the awesome discount below!)

how to knit sweater top down

Top Down Sweaters Vs Bottom Up Sweater Patterns 

Top-down sweaters are all the rage because they are easy to try on as you go and see exactly how everything will fit in real time! This makes it easy to get the perfect length for your body and sleeves. Just remember, when using natural fibers, your knitting can grow up to 10% after blocking! 

You can also try on bottom-up sweaters as you knit of course, but it takes a little more visualization and guestimation. You’ll simply hold the body of your sweater up to where you’ll divide for the underarms to see if you’ve hit the right length for your body. 

Both are totally possible and, but when you learn how to knit a sweater top down it takes out all the guesswork so they’re bit more popular. (But don’t let this stop you from trying all the awesome bottom up sweaters out there.)

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Note: The yarn for this pattern was provided for me at no charge by the yarn company. Yarn support allows designers, like me, to continue to provide you with gorgeous patterns while we grow!

How to Knit a Sweater Top Down – Raglan Style

In the case of Zephryos and the Zephryos Cardigan, you’ll start your raglan with just the tops of the shoulders and back neck, working flat while increasing for the flattering v-neck. 

When you’re working out how to knit a sweater top down raglan style, all this means is that you’ll be increasing along 4 points. These 4 points divide the front of body, back of body, and each of the 2 sleeves. You’ll increase on both sides of the raglan lines—in this case 2/2 ribbing—for a total of 8 increases each time you increase for the raglan. 

All this sound confusing? 

No worries! That’s what the pattern is for! I walk you stitch-by-stitch when and where to increase and when so that you can get the perfect top-down sweater every time. 

Now that you have the framework for how to knit a sweater top down let’s explore the why! 

summer cardigan knit pattern

Why Knit for Summer? 

Umm… because you can? No, but seriously. Knitting is an incredibly relaxing craft that I make time for all year round. As such, I want to enjoy the fruits of my labor all year round. 

When it gets too hot to even wear a cowl for 2-8 months of the year (depending on where you live), its time to check into summer knits! Summer knits are also great for those transitional spring and autumn months, so you can get a lot of good out of a single summer knitting pattern. 

I got about 8 months of wear out of my Zephryos Tee, living in Alabama, and another 6 out of my Zephyros Cardigan. 

That’s the lovely thing about both Zephyros patterns, they each have full instructions for short sleeves and long sleeves so that you can customize them to your seasons and preferences. And when you know how to knit a sweater top down, you can decide once you get there!

If you are choosing to knit for summer, there’s one thing that will make or break your summer pattern and that is the yarn choice. 

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Choosing the Right Yarn for A Summer Cardigan Knit Pattern

The first “rule” of summer knitting is do NOT choose a 100% wool yarn. When heat hits wool the scales on the fibers open up to release the heat, and that is what causes that prickly feeling we’ve all come to dread. Plant fibers are the go-to when it comes to summer knitting. 

Fibers like cotton and linen are cool and without the prickly issue. Honestly, that was all I thought you could use for summer, but this project taught me differently. 

When The Fibre Company first asked me to create a tee using Cirro—a yarn blend with 40% alpaca—I thought they were crazy. But I could not have been more wrong. 

You see alpaca fibers are often blended in to a wool mix for luster and warmth—not something you’d think you’d want in the summer. However, Cirro does not spin the alpaca into its core. The core, made of cotton and wool, acts as an anchor for the brushed alpaca—which creates a soft and fuzzy halo. 

This halo causes the yarn to take up more space than it would if the alpaca was spun into the core. So you use bigger needles and a looser gauge, without looking loose and sloppy. They also more air to flow through keeping you cool even in the summer heat. 

I have adored wearing my Zephryos tee even in the heat of Alabama. If Cirro can pass that test, it’s a clear winner for summer knits! 

Get the Kit!

Love the pattern and the yarn? The Fibre Company has put together some amazing kits for the Zephyros Pullover and Zephyros Cardigan.

Get 10% off the kit with the code zephyros10 and zephyroscardigan10!

Get a Mind-Blowing Deal! 

Zephyros & the Zephyros Cardigan are similar but different! Zephryos is designed with 8”/20 cm of ease for a loose and flowy fit. The Zephyros Cardigan is designed with only 4”/10 cm of easy for a more form-fitting experience. 

Both have the same fabulous distorted rib texture, a gorgeous low V (notes for easy modification are included) and the options for short sleeves or stunning puffed sleeves. 

Buy them separately for $7 each on Ravelry or get both for only $9! Click below to shop the deal! 

summer cardigan knit pattern

Knitting Pattern Details for Zephyros Pullover 

Size

Finished Bust: 36 (40, 44, 48, 52) [56, 60, 64, 68]”/91.5 (101.5, 112, 122, 132) [142, 152.5, 162.5, 172.5] cm

Yarn

Short Sleeve – 415 (465, 520, 585, 660) [750, 830, 920, 980] yds/380 (425, 475, 535, 605) [685, 760, 840, 895] m – sport weight yarn

Long Sleeve – 740 (800, 865, 950, 1050) [1175, 1285, 1405, 1465] yds/ 675 (730, 790, 870, 960) [1075, 1175, 1285, 1340] m – sport weight yarn

Suggested Yarn

The Fibre Co. Cirro (40% Alpaca, 40% Cotton, 20% Wool) 246 yds/225 m, 50 g – 2 (2, 3, 3, 3) [4, 4, 4, 4] skeins (short sleeve) or 4 (4, 4, 4, 5) [5, 6, 6, 6] skeins (long sleeves) in Uranus

Needles & Notions 

US 8/5.0 mm & US 6/4.0 mm – 32-40”/80-100 cm and DPNs or Magic Loop – preferred method of small circumference knitting (or needles needed to obtain gauge!)

Stitch markers, tapestry needle, stitch holders or waste yarn

Concentration Level

Medium-Low–The simple texture will keep your low-level attention while helping you mark you progress! And I’ve included notes on how to mark your raglan and v-neck increases so you don’t have to be constantly checking your pattern. 

Techniques to Indulge In 

1/1 ribbing

Knit or purl 1 below

Make 1 Increase

Simple 2- & 3-stitch decreases

how to knit sweater top down
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Knitting Pattern Details for Zephyros Cardigan 

Size

Finished Bust: 32 (36, 40, 44, 48) [52, 56, 60, 64]”/81.5 (91.5, 101.5, 112, 122) [132, 142, 152.5, 162.5] cm

Designed with 4”/10 cm of positive ease.

Yarn

Short Sleeve – 440 (500, 560, 630, 715) [810, 900, 995, 1060] yds/400 (455, 510, 575, 655) [740, 825, 910, 970] m – sport weight

Long Sleeve – 765 (845, 920, 1020, 1135) [1280, 1400, 1545, 1615] yds/ 700 (775, 840, 935, 1040) [1170, 1280, 1415, 1475] m – sport weight

Suggested Yarn

The Fibre Co. Cirro (40% Alpaca, 40% Cotton, 20% Wool) 246 yds/225 m, 50 g – 2 (3, 3, 3, 3) [4, 4, 5, 5] skeins (short sleeve) or 4 (4, 4, 5, 5) [6, 6, 7, 7] skeins (long sleeves) in Enchanting

Needles & Notions 

US 8/5.0 mm & US 6/4.0 mm – 32-40”/80-100 cm and DPNs or Magic Loop – preferred method of small circumference knitting (or needles needed to obtain gauge!)

Stitch markers, tapestry needle, stitch holders or waste yarn, 4 – 21 mm buttons, thread and needle

Concentration Level

Medium-Low–The simple texture will keep your low-level attention while helping you mark you progress! And I’ve included notes on how to mark your raglan and v-neck increases so you don’t have to be constantly checking your pattern. 

Techniques to Indulge In 

1/1 ribbing

Knit or purl 1 below

Make 1 Increase

Simple 2- & 3-stitch decreases 

Picking up stitches

how to knit sweater top down
summer cardigan knit pattern

Why Zephyros? 

In Greek mythology, Zephyros is the god of spring breezes. It’s the soft and gentle wind that cools warm skin and brings a breath of fresh air. That’s what knitting and wearing Zephyros and the Zephyros cardigan feels like—a breath of fresh air.

So click the link and get the patterns today! 

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