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I’m an incorrigible modifier of patterns. I can’t help it, nor can I explain. I turned my Savage Heart Cardigan into a pullover, my Bottom Line Pullover into a cardigan, and here I am to describe the very simple mods I made to Jen Geigley’s Main Squeeze Cardigan to make it the cropped pullover I wanted for wearing over dresses and tunics this winter.
Consider this post a concise “How I Did It” for my sweater.
How you work out the finer points is—of course and always—up to you. That’s my way of saying every knitter can be a modifier of patterns. As Elizabeth Zimmermann famously put it, “You are the boss of your knitting.” Or as Dr. Fronkensteen shrieked, “IT COULD WORK!”
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By Rowan

Pick your size.

Lucky for us, Jen’s excellent pattern does all the heavy lifting. Figure out which cardigan size you’d knit for the best fit and that’s the size you’ll follow. (Yardage note: For my cropped, 3/4 sleeve pullover, I used half the number of skeins of Big Wool I would have needed for a cardigan. If you’d like full-length sleeves, you’ll need one more than half. If you want the hem to fall to your waist or past it, you’ll need one ball more per 4 inches of body length.)

Determine length.

Next determine your preferred measurement from waistband to underarm. I took a sweater in my wardrobe that I consider a “standard” fit with no ease in the arm opening and I measured it from where the sleeve meets the body to where I wanted the hem of my sweater to fall. I also measured myself from the middle of my bust to where I wanted the hem of the sweater to fall.  I compared the two numbers to determine the target number of inches to knit before I would join the body to the sleeves.


I wanted the sleeves to be shorter in length than the sleeves that corresponded to the body size I chose, so I cast on two more stitches than specified for my size and omitted the rounds of plain knitting that follow the wristband ribbing. I worked the increase rounds as written. By the time I was through, the sleeve was the stitch count I needed for my size and the length I liked.


I cast on exactly the number of stitches for my size. I joined to knit them in the round and knit the 1 x 1 rib as directed.
To work Sand Stitch in the round (rather than flat as indicated in the pattern), every other round is all purl stitches (whereas working flat, every WS row is all knit stitches). I knit the predetermined inches of body. Then, continuing to work in the round, I joined the sleeves to the body, placing markers as directed.

Yoke and Neckband

I followed the pattern’s directions for shaping the yoke, but I disregarded directions for shaping the front neck. Instead I kept on decreasing at the raglan markers at the rate established for my size until I had 68 stitches left. I worked five rounds of 1 x 1 ribbing to start the neckband, then to draw in the neckband so it would lie flat, I worked the raglan decreases on the sixth and eighth round of the neckband (52 stitches remained). I worked one more round, then I bound off in rib.


I followed Jen’s instructions for sewing up the underarm, gave my new pullover a quick steam blocking, and I was done. Though Jen makes sewing the cardigan’s pockets on look like fun, I didn’t have to . . . though, come to think of it, there is yarn leftover for a sweet pocket. Hmmmm.
(Did you just make A yummy sound?)

About The Author

An artist in multiple media by nature and by education, Cristina Shiffman is a knitter, sewist, potter, and photographer who also draws, paints, and dyes with natural materials. Cristina has been collaborating with MDK since 2017.


  • I love this idea!!!! I’m doing it!!

  • Yes! I did just make a yummy sound! I want to knit both the cardigan and the pullover!

  • Loved this! I’m a beginner and really enjoyed all of the insight that goes into tweaking a piece to make it your own! Thank you!

  • I love this post and the sweater. As I was reading it, I substitued the word pattern with recipe and knitting with cooking. We are the bosses of our creative pursuits and it feels great when it works!

  • I love this so much! Riveting armchair knitting. This definitely going to be my Main Squeeze version. It’s so helpful to see exactly how you did your measurements.

  • Thank you for the Sand stitch in the round tip!! I saw a project that the sleeves were also knit in Sand stitch and thought I might do that, but didn’t have a clue how to;-)

    • Oh yes! What a great idea!!!

  • Yes! And Yes!

  • Thank you!

  • Oh thank you, thank you, thank you! I am so ready to start this project, and now with your very detailed instructions, I’m even more ready!!

  • Thank you – my yarn arrived today for this version!

  • The Big Squeeze is in my queue BUT… I am spinning the yarn for it. It may be knit in three days, but the spinning will probably take me three months!

    • That’s fabulous! Share spinning pics in the Lounge, pleeeezze! And if you’re on Instagram, definitely tag them #bangoutasweater2020 or #bangoutamainsqueeze.

  • I bought Big Joy mainly because of the Main Squeeze cardigan. I have never made a sweater for an adult, only a baby one. I just love the look of this sweater. BUT….I am chickening out of Main Squeeze. I found Jutka on the Lion Brand site, and have decided to do that one in February. I see it as a practice run for my Main Squeeze. I am so inspired by Danas oodles of sweaters in a year, I guess!

    • Jutka looks gorgeous, and you just might find you have time to whip it up and join the Main Squeezers–the magic of BIG YARN.

  • Love this! Did you make it shorter? Plus, yes to a pocket, always!

    • Lots shorter! The cardigan is mid-thigh length–but now your question is making me thing what a cuddler a looong pullover would be.

  • very impressive

  • HI, Will there be a written pattern developed that will layout the modification and material needed to fit the desired sizes?

    • There are no plans to develop a separate pattern. All the stitch counts you need are in the cardigan pattern. You only need to figure out how long you want the pullover to be from sleeve opening to where the hem falls. And figure on getting half the number of skeins of yarn you would need for the cardigan plus one more. If you don’t feel confident following the mods as they’re outlined here, but you’d like to bang out a great Jen Geigley pattern in Big Wool, we recommend her Simple Sweater: Hope you’ll join us!

  • I just tried to tag you and show you my results on instagram. I wasn’t able to do it. Please help! I am very excited about this project!

  • Thank you so much for these mods! One question—you decreased the yoke until you had 68 st left. Since I don’t know what size you made, I can’t quite tell how this would work for other sizes. I am making the smallest size, so I am only starting the decreases with 58 stitches… the finished neckband on the small size cardigan is 34 stitches… please let me know where your 68 st fall in relation to the amount of stitches for your size. Thank you!

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