Three years ago—on November 11, the anniversary of World War I’s end—I started this blog. Every year since, on what is known as Veteran’s Day in the U.S. and Remembrance Day in the Commonwealth, I have shared free knitting and crochet patterns from my thrifted 1918 copy of Fleisher’s Knitting and Crocheting Manual (16th edition), which dates to the era of the Great War. (Check out the 2012 post and the 2013 post for more patterns.)
I’m continuing the tradition this year with a special post of all cardigan sweater patterns. There’s a little something for everyone—knitting and crochet, children’s and adult’s sizes. I decided to share all sweater patterns partly because it’s National Knit a Sweater Month, and partly because I have finally seen what one of these 100-year-old sweaters looks like in color! Way back in February, Cassandra of Knit the Hell Out knit the Pensacola Sweater from this knitting manual (You can read about why she made it and how she interpreted the pattern here). You should really check it out!
Sweaters are inspiring me this year. So without further ado: this year’s free knitting patterns!
Bobby Sweater and Rosemary Sweater (knit)
Have some little ones? Then check out these adorable mini cardigans for children. Like most of these patterns, there are no sizes listed. The “Germantown Zephyr” yarn was a probably a DK or worsted weight yarn and a ladies vest took about 6 balls to make, if that helps. As the Bobby Sweater requires only 4 balls, I would guess it’s probably more of a toddler size, and the Rosemary Sweater at 8 balls was probably intended for preschool to early elementary school age children, but again, it’s hard to say.
I love the simplicity of Bobby—only 3 big buttons! But I also love the details on the Rosemary, with its fun collar, interesting stitch pattern, and off center row of buttons.
Athol Sweater (knit)
Who can say no to Angora cuffs? Ok, that’s not really the biggest appeal of this women’s cardigan to me. What I like about Athol is the stitch pattern, which looks easy enough but is eye-catching with its ribs and ridges. I also really appreciate that sweater model is making use of those pockets.
Athol also comes with a handy schematic of for sweater construction. It looks pretty straightforward—back, set in sleeves, two front pieces. (Guess you’re on your own for attaching the collar.)
Northwoods Sweater (crochet)
One of the interesting things about this Fleisher’s Manual is how many crochet patterns it had. Northwoods is a boy’s cardigan done in crochet with a worsted weight wool yarn. I think every detail of this sweater is nicely done—the pockets, the cuffs, the shawl collar.
While I’m not sure what size it is, this patterns also comes with a schematic for how to piece it together. Once you have swatched to get gauge, you could figure out approximately what size you will end up with.
P.S. There is also a man’s version of this sweater, but it’s missing pockets! Why?? I don’t know, but it just didn’t look as nice as the boys version.
So instead of sharing the adult Northwoods, I thought I’d share the creatively named “Man’s Sweater.” Man’s is also crochet— not exactly a common phenomenon for men’s cardigans! (I looked on ravlery for crochet men’s cardigans and there are like, six total.) I think the upper pockets are a bit ridiculous (and I swear they are not lined up properly in the photo) but I like the button collar and the overall construction looks very pleasing.
Hope you enjoyed this year’s 1918 patterns! I promise to have some of my own knitting posted soon.