Instructions for How to Knit a Raglan Roll Neck Sweater

Updated April 17, 2017

Raglan sweaters feature increase rows that extend from the neckline to the underarms. They are one of the most popular sweater styles because of their flattering design. Knitters particularly like raglan sweaters, especially top-down versions, since they can be custom fit while knitting. A roll neck design is a nice addition to a raglan sweater, and can be created quite simply at the beginning of the knitting process.

Choose a top-down raglan sweater pattern from a knitting book or pamphlet. You can also find a variety of patterns to download from the Internet.

Measure yourself carefully. Be sure to wear the clothing you plan to wear under the sweater as you measure. For a raglan sweater, you will need to measure your bust and the length from the desired neckline to under your arm. Because top-down sweaters can be tried on during the knitting process, you can determine later how long you want the body and sleeves of the sweater to be.

Knit a gauge swatch and measure it against the gauge in the pattern instructions. For a sweater, you will need to have correct gauge to ensure a good fit. If your swatch is smaller than the pattern instructions state, use a larger set of needles. If your swatch is too big, you will need to use smaller needles. Be sure to knit another gauge swatch with the new needles and measure again before proceeding.

Use your bust measurement to decide on the sweater size you want to knit.

Cast on the required number of neckline stitches loosely. Join and knit in the round, until the piece measures one inch high or until the fabric curls in on itself.

Purl one round.

Begin knitting the body of sweater, including raglan increases. Knit until raglan increases meet comfortably under the arms. Put sleeve stitches onto waste yarn.

Join the front and back body stitches together by knitting to the arm stitches (now on waste yarn). Skip the arm stitches and join with the body stitches on the other side of the arm stitches. Do this on both sides, continuing to knit only on the body stitches.

Bind off the body stitches loosely.

Pick up the stitches for one sleeve and knit the sleeve until it is the desired length, trying on the sweater as necessary.

Complete the other arm in the same manner.

Weave in all ends and trim excess yarn.


If you are using a crewneck sweater and adding the roll neck, use the stitch count at the point where the collar ends and the body begins as your starting stitch count. Otherwise, the roll neck may be too tight. Transfer all stitches to waste yarn when trying on your sweater, instead of trying it on with the needle still in it. The needle will distort the fit of the sweater. Using place markers before and after the raglan increases can help you keep up easily with your increases.


Be sure to try on the sweater from time to time, particularly to determine the depth of the raglan increases and the length of the body and sleeves. The time spent in trying it on will pay off in a good-fitting sweater.

Things You'll Need

  • Top-down knit raglan sweater pattern
  • Measuring tape
  • Yarn, size as stated in the pattern
  • Knitting needles, size as stated in the pattern
  • Scissors
  • Yarn needle
  • Waste yarn
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Kelli Nottingham has been a freelance writer for more than five years, with published works on topics ranging from international travel to home decor DIY projects. A graduate of Duke University and the University of Colorado, Nottingham holds degrees in anthropology of religion, with a focus on religious ritual. She is also a recognized professional speaker with national experience.