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How to Knit a Siwash Sweater

Patterns for siwash sweaters call for stockinet stitching.
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The siwash sweater design originated near Vancouver, British Columbia, and was popularized in the knitting publication, Mary Maxim. Siwash sweaters are often cardigan style, and are knit with multiple skeins of yarn to create homespun designs such as reindeer, fish and cowboy boots on the front panels of the sweater. Patterns for siwash sweaters include sizing instructions for men, women and children; and are knit in chunky wool yarn using two needles in various sizes. The siwash sweater instructions below are based upon sizing for a person with a 30”-34” bust, or size women’s small.

Things You'll Need:

  • Pattern
  • Knitting Needles
  • Yarn
Siwash sweaters are knit with chunky wool yarn.
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Cast on stitches and begin knitting the back of the sweater. Work in knit 1, purl 1 ribbing for the first row, then reverse for the second row, beginning with purl 1. Repeat these two rows six times, then change to larger needles and work in stockinet stitch (knit on row, purl one row) for six rows, ending with right side of work facing for the next row. Using charts for your homespun design of choice, being chart work until row 36 is complete. End with right side of work facing, then cast off per pattern directions.

Different colors of yarn are used to make homespun siwash designs.
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Knit left and right sides of cardigan. Cast on 33 stitches for each side, and work in rib stitching as with back of sweater. Switch to stockinet stitch and via pattern instructions, continue this stitch until the last row is even with work completed for the back of the sweater. Begin chart work per pattern instructions until row 36 is complete. End with right side facing row.

Siwash sweaters originated in Vancouver, British Columbia.
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Knit sleeves and collar then sew pieces together. Cast on 37 stitches for each sleeve., and work in ribbing for 14 rows with smaller needles. Begin chart work per pattern instructions, switching to larger needles as with back and sides of the sweater. Cast off according to pattern. To knit the collar, cast on 7 stitches and follow pattern for increasing and decreasing stitches and work in garter stitch until sleeves measure 51 centimeters from the beginning. Cast off per pattern instructions. Following pattern instructions, sew all pieces together including the collar around the neck edge. Complete front edging, and finish by sewing zipper in place. The siwash sweater should be dry cleaned only, as attempts to wash may shrink this distinctive sweater.

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