Free Easy Sweater Knitting Patterns for Straight Needles

Are you struggling to find simple sweater knitting patterns you can make with straight needles? With top down seamless sweaters all the rage now, it can be hard to find modern sweater patterns you can knit straight.

If you don’t want to use circular needles, or just prefer knitting sweaters flat in pieces, here’s a roundup of free easy sweater patterns for straight needles.

Note: some patterns use circular needles at the very end for the neck, but I’ve explained how to easily modify each pattern to knit the neckline with straight needles instead.

Easiest Sweater Knitting Patterns for Straight Needles

These sweater knitting patterns only use straight needles. They’re also ideal first sweater projects because they are very simple knits. There’s no front or back shaping, no neckband & only minimal increases or decreases for the sleeves.

My First Knit Sweater

Yarn weight:Worsted (or aran)
Needle size:5.5mm (US 9) straight needles
Sweater Sizes:39-69 inch finished bust (6 sizes)
Main stitch:Stockinette stitch
Gauge:16 stitches X 22 rows to 4 inches

This simple stockinette sweater has plenty of positive ease so you don’t have to get the size just right. You knit 2 large rectangles to make the front and back – no shaping needed. The basic boat neck means there’s no neck shaping either.

Knit the sleeves from the cuff up with a few basic increases to shape them. Finally stitch your 4 knitted pieces together to turn them into a sweater.

The pattern uses Red Heart Hygge Charm, but any worsted weight yarn should work.

This Red Heart Marly Bird collaboration was a knit along in 2019 & you can still access the weekly videos to help you along. Here’s week 1:

Brynnlee Stockinette Sweater

Yarn weight:Aran (heavy worsted – chunky)
Needle size:6mm (US 10) straight needles
Sweater Sizes:37-60 inch finished bust (7 sizes)
Main stitch:Stockinette
Gauge:15 stitches and 18 rows to 4 inches

This modern minimal sweater is all just stockinette stitch & perfect for new knitters.

The front and back are basic rectangles. The simple boat neck means there’s no neckband or shaping needed at the top. You pick up stitches at the armholes & then knit the sleeves down to the cuffs with basic decreases to shape them.

The pattern uses Berroco Mercado yarn which is described as aran weight, but it’s thicker than a standard aran gauge. So heavy worsted to chunky yarns could be used either. Here’s a list of close Mercado subsitutes on YarnSub.

Let’s Go Beginner Stripes Sweater

Yarn weight:Bulky (chunky)
Needle size:US 10 / 6mm straight needles
Sweater Sizes:42-65 inch finished bust (6 sizes)
Main stitch:Seed stitch
Gauge:12 stitches X 21 rows to 4 inches

This easy striped sweater knitting pattern uses Caron’s Colorama O’Go self striping yarn. The colors automatically work well together and you don’t have to worry about changing yarn. Just keep knitting and the stripes magically appear. But you could use multiple shades or just one color of other bulky yarn instead.

This oversized pattern with flexible sizing is very beginner friendly. The front and back are 2 simple rectangles. There’s no neck shaping or neckband either. You pick up stitches from the armholes and knit the sleeves down to the cuffs with a few basic decreases to shape them. New knitters may find this easier than trying to neatly attach the sleeves at the end.

Most of the sweater is knit with seed stitch (aka moss stitch), which means alternating between k1, p1 and p1, k1 rib rows. This creates a lovely textured fabric, but it’s a bit slower to knit than garter stitch or stockinette.

Easy Knit Sweater

Yarn weight:Bulky (chunky)
Needle size:5mm (US 8) & 6mm (US 10) straight needles
Sweater Sizes:44-69 inch finished bust (6 sizes)
Main stitch:Stockinette
Gauge:15 stitches and 20 rows to 4 inches (6mm needles)

If wide boat necks are not your style, here’s an easy knitting pattern for a classic crew neck sweater fully made with straight needles.

This is unusual for modern patterns, as they often use a circular for the neck even if the rest is knit flat on straights (see examples below).

The front and back have minimal shoulder shaping at the top. Then the sleeves are knit from the cuffs up with simple increases. Finally, you join one shoulder & knit the crew neck before stitching the rest of the sweater together.

Designed for Patons Alpaca Blend, this stockinette sweater is knit to a fairly standard gauge, so any bulky or chunky yarn should work well.

Simple Sweater Patterns Knit Flat (modified to knit neck on straights)

For sweater knitting patterns with a neckband or shaped neckline (anything other than a basic boat neck), it’s common to use a circular needle to knit this at the very end, even if the rest of the sweater has been knit flat using straight needles.

The idea is that you knit your 4 pieces (front, back & 2 sleeves), stitch them together to make a sweater. Then you knit a neckband directly on to the sweater to finish it off. You can’t use a straight knitting needle to do this because you’re working on a circular (or v shaped etc) knitted piece instead of just a straight line.

One option is to use double pointed needles (DPNs) instead, but these can be tricky to find in larger sizes & it’s a waste buying them just to knit the odd neck.

But there’s an easy way to knit neckbands with straight knitting needles instead. You just need to add it a bit earlier on. The trick is to just join one shoulder seam instead of both and then add your neckband.

This works because your neckline is still a (fairly) straight line until you join the 2nd shoulder and turn it into a neck opening.

How to knit a neckband with straight needles instead of a circular needle

  1. Follow your pattern until the part where you join the front and back together.
  2. Just join one shoulder instead of both. So you now have one long top edge, with shoulder stitches at each end and your just seamed shoulder stitches at the midpoint.
  3. Go to the neckband instructions at the end of your pattern.
  4. Skipping the shoulder stitches at the start and end of the long edge, work along the neckline edge picking up the required number of neckband stitches on to your straight knitting needle.
  5. Then simply knit the required number of neck rows in rib (or the given stitch) back and forth instead of working rounds.
  6. Bind off as per instructions leaving a long tail. Seam down your neck edges with this to complete your neckband.
  7. Resume your pattern, joining the 2nd shoulder and following the rest of the assembly instructions.

Circular knitting needles are actually a relatively modern invention, so this was the standard way of knitting neckbands when straight needles were the only option.

Kenwood Sweater

Yarn weight:Worsted held double (or 1 strand bulky to super bulky)
Needle size:8mm (US 11) and 10mm (US 15) needles
Sweater Sizes:37-66 inch finished bust (8 sizes)
Main stitch:Stockinette
Gauge:11 stitches X 14 rows to 4 inches (10mm needles)

Just published in May 2022, this relaxed crew neck sweater knitting pattern is beginner friendly and knits up quickly on big needles.

You knit this stockinette sweater using 2 strands of worsted yarn held together. If you’ve never done this, it’s easy: you just use 2 yarn balls at once. Take a strand from each ball & knit with them together. Tip: keep your balls separate to avoid a big tangled mess!

By combining 2 different colors you get a cool marled effect. The pattern & color theory yarn are a collab between Two of Wands & Lion Brand. You can mix and match 18 shades to create your own color combo sweater.

Alternatively, use 2 strands of any worsted yarn in the same color for a plain sweater. Or knit it using just 1 strand of thicker bulky to super bulky yarn instead.

The front and back have some slight arm and neck shaping. The sleeves are knit separately from the cuffs up.

To knit the neckband with straights instead of a circular needle, just join one shoulder side when you reach the construction part of the pattern. Then skip to the neckband instructions, pick up the neck stitches, knit the rib rows, bind off, seam down the neck & then continue with the rest of the construction instructions.

Neon Stripes Pullover

Yarn weight:DK
Needle size:3.75mm (US 5) and 4mm (US 6) straight needles
Sweater Sizes:37-56 inch finished bust (6 sizes)
Main stitch:Stockinette
Gauge:22 stitches X 28 rows to 4 inches (4mm needles)

This simple sweater knitting pattern looks fresh & modern with its narrow neon stripes across the chest.

It uses lighter double knit yarn and smaller needles than most of the beginner sweater patterns featured here, but it’s still an easy knit. It will take a bit longer, but you can also wear it for more of the year.

The back is a rectangle, but there’s some simple shaping for the front neckline. The sleeves are knit from the cuffs up with basic increases & then stitched to the armholes at the end.

To knit the neck with straights rather than the suggested circular needle or DPNS, just join one shoulder at the start of the Finishing section. Then skip to the Neckline section, pick up the neck stitches & knit rib rows back and forth instead of in the round. Bind off in rib & seam down your neck. Then resume the rest of the finishing instructions.

It uses Premier Yarns Everyday DK, an affordable acrylic yarn that comes in a whole rainbow of shades. But since the pattern knits to standard gauge, you can use any double knit yarn you like.

Simple Knit Sweater

Yarn weight:Super bulky (super chunky)
Needle size:US 17 / 12mm needles
Sweater Sizes:30-54 inch finished bust (7 sizes)
Main stitch:Garter stitch
Gauge:8 stitches X 16 rows to 4 inches

This easy knit sweater works up quickly using big yarn on big needles, mostly in garter or knit stitch. It’s a completely free pattern – you just need to scroll a lot through the blog post to get it!

The back is a rectangle, while the front has slight shoulder shaping at the top. The sleeves are just rectangles with one decrease row midway down.

This pattern uses Lion Brand Thick & Quick yarn, a mix of acrylic & wool, but any super bulky yarn should work.

While the pattern doesn’t mention circular needles, you would need one to add the neckband at the very end as instructed. To knit the neckband with straight needles instead, just join one shoulder at the start of the Seaming section. Then skip to the neckline part, pick up stitches all along the neck, do 2 rows of rib, bind off, seam down the edges to complete the neckband. Then follow the rest of the instructions in the seaming section.

Easy Raglan Sweater Knitting Patterns for Straight Needles

Raglan sweaters have a diagonal join from the neck to the armhole. It’s a classic design which is comfy to wear with a great fit.

There’s more shaping needed when knitting a raglan sweater with straight needles, because the top section of all 4 pieces need to slant inwards. Seaming raglan sweaters together takes more time & care too, because you need to neatly align & stitch your sleeves for a good finish.

So if you’re a very new knitter, I’d suggest making a basic drop sleeve sweater first (like all the patterns above). But here are some free beginner raglan sweater knitting patterns which are easy to follow.

My First Raglan knitting pattern

Yarn weight:Aran or heavy worsted
Needle size:4mm (US 6) & 5mm (US 8) straight needles
Sweater Sizes:35-58 inch finished bust (7 sizes)
Main stitch:Stockinette
Gauge:18 stitches and 24 rows to 4 inches (5mm needles)

You’ll get an intro to lace work as well as raglan sweater construction with this clear free pattern suitable for adventurous beginners.

The raglan decreases at the top sides of each piece use yarn overs to create a pretty lace pattern. They’re quite easy to do but look really fancy – such a clever idea.

After knitting your 4 pieces & stitching most of the raglan seams, you pick up & knit stitches around the neck with straight needles. You just bind these off without doing any neck rows to finish the neckline.

Designed for Lion Brand’s popular affordable wool-ease yarn, this pattern knits to standard aran gauge, so you can use any aran or heavy worsted weight yarn.

Aran Raglan Sweater pattern (His & Hers)

Yarn weight:Aran or worsted
Needle size:4.5mm (US 7) & 5mm (US 8) straight needles
Sweater Sizes:37-63 inch finished bust (6 sizes)
Main stitch:Stockinette
Gauge:18 stitches and 24 rows to 4 inches (5mm needles)

There’s a fair bit of shaping and slight differences between the his and hers versions of this classic crew neck raglan sweater.

But this free pattern is clearly laid out with color coded size instructions. There’s no mention of circular needles either, even for the neckline. So just take your time & you’ll be fine.

Caron’s popular Simply Soft worsted yarn is used here, but any yarn with the standard 18×24 5mm gauge on the ball band will work.

Bulky Raglan Sweater pattern

Yarn weight:Bullky
Needle size:6mm (US 10) & 8mm (US 11)
Sweater Sizes:41-61 inch finished bust (6 sizes)
Main stitch:Stockinette
Gauge:11 stitches and 16 rows to 4 inches (8mm needles)

Here’s a similar timeless raglan pullover pattern, but this unisex sweater is a bit quicker to knit in bulky weight yarn.

This free Lion brand pattern is quite concise & there’s no color coding for sizes etc. So I’d suggest also downloading the previous Caron aran sweater pattern which is better laid out. Both sweater patterns use the same standard raglan construction approach.

This Lion brand pattern uses a circular needle for the neck, but you can knit it with straight needles as explained in the Caron aran raglan pattern. Instead of adding the neck at the very end, you leave the left back shoulder undone at the seaming stage & pick up your neck stitches and knit the neck with straight needles next, before seaming the rest of your sweater.

The original pattern yarn has been discontinued. Lion Brand now suggest their bulky Hue & Me yarn, an acrylic with wool mix that comes in 24 shades. But other chunky or bulky weight yarns should also work well. Look for ball bands with a gauge of 14×18 on 6.5mm needles for best results.

Sweetpea

Sweetpea garter stitch sweater knitting pattern
Image credit: Berroco Sweetpea sweater pattern
Yarn weight:Aran or heavy worsted
Needle size:4mm (US 6) & 5.5mm (US 9) needles
Sweater Sizes:32-56 inch finished bust (7 sizes)
Main stitch:Garter stitch
Gauge:17 stitches and 40 rows to 4 inches (5.5mm needles)

By acclaimed designer Amy Christoffers, this modern garter stitch raglan sweater features 3/4 length sleeves and a split hem.

The front and back are identical which is handy. This is all garter stitch after the rib ends, so plenty of easy mindless knitting apart from the raglan shaping.

The pattern uses a circular needle to knit the ribbed neck. To knit it using straight needles instead, leave the left back shoulder raglan seam undone at the start of the finishing section. Then pick up the neck stitches as instructed, but using your straight needles. Knit the rib rows back and forth instead of in the round. Bind off in rib, seam down your neck edges to complete the neckband & resume the pattern seaming steps. See how to knit a neckband with straight needles above for more info on this workaround.

This free pattern uses a wool cotton mix yarn which is no longer available, but it knit to standard aran gauge, so any aran or worsted weight yarn with 18×24 gauge with 5mm needles should work well here.

I hope you find this list of easy knit sweater patterns for straight needles helpful. Beginner knitting patterns like these make a great first large knitting project once you have the hang of the basics. Just pick your fave, cast on & you’ll soon be snug wearing your very own handknit sweater. Got any questions? Leave a comment below & I’ll try my best to help.

If you’re a more experienced knitter, check out my fave flat knit sweater pattern designers.

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