The Who, What, When, Where & Why of the Infamous 4 Day Sweater Knitalong

It all began with a long weekend and a sweater that needed to be knit.

I’d never actually knit a sweater in four days (was that even possible?), but I had four days at my disposal before another bundle of deadlines hit and I wondered if maybe – just maybe – I could pull it off. What could it hurt?

To make things a bit more interesting, I made my wager public; I told my knitting community what I was up to and invited them to follow along as spectators (knowing that others were watching made me all the more motivated to see if I could do it). It was a nail biter. But at the end of the fourth day, I had a sweater. A whole sweater! I’d done it!

Stillwater: The first 4 day KAL sweater

What followed were a slew of requests from knitters asking if I’d consider making it a knitalong. Really? Yes, really. The knitters had spoken and the first 4 Day Knitalong (for a sweater called Stillwater) was born.

The first year we had a host of participants who were energized and excited to be part of a super-charged knitting experience with hundreds of other knitters. Friendships were made, fun was had, and quick sweaters were knit in the process.

I hadn’t planned on doing it again, but when the next summer rolled around I was knee-deep in deadlines for my first book and thought maybe I’d throw together another quick little knitalong for the knitters in my Facebook group. I shared my idea for a second 4 day knitalong (this time it was the Beekeeper Cardigan), and was not remotely prepared for the response. It was a knitting tsunami! Thousands of knitters all over the world joined along for our second year. We laughed, we cheered, we celebrated, and we knit thousands of Beekeeper Cardigans together as one giant, cozy knitting community.

Beekeeper Cardigan: The second 4 day KAL

By this point, I realized that my crazy sweater challenge wasn’t a fluke. It was a full-blown knitting adventure, and it was getting bigger and more exciting every year.

Q: Can these sweaters really be knit in 4 days?

A: Yes, for the smaller sizes. Each year we have at least a couple of testers who challenge themselves to knit the sweater in the 4-day timeline, but really – the goal is just to stay focused on the project and get to the finish line, regardless of how many days it takes.

Q: Do we all have to knit a sweater in 4 days?

A: Nope. First, you can take as long as you need to. But if you like the idea of a personal challenge, we suggest adding 2 knitting days for each size. The pattern is designed for sizes 32-64 inch bust size with positive ease built-in), and we recommend starting with 4 days for the smallest size and then adding 2 days for each size thereafter. (But again, this is only if you want to give yourself the challenge – there are no knitting police around here.)

Q: What if we don’t knit it in 4 days?

A: Keep on knitting! Like I said above, the goal is to knit a sweater more quickly than you thought you could, but not to knit until your arms fall off. Do what works best for you.

Q: How do we participate?

A: If you’re a knitter, sign up to my newsletter here, and join the Knitalong with Olive Knits pop-up Facebook group OR join us in Knit Camp.

Q: My yarn shop wants to participate. What do they need to do?

A: We send out a 4 Day KAL retailer preview email each year in mid-April. If you’re not already on the list for updates, please send us an email to admin@oliveknits.com so we can add you for next year.

Q: My knitting group wants to participate. What do we need to do?

A: Just sign up for my newsletter (and join the Facebook group, if you’d like) so you know all the important dates and particulars. Then get your needles ready and join us when we cast on. That’s it!

Q: Do I have to use the recommended yarn?

A: Nope. Use whatever works for you and allows you to get great results.

Stay tuned for more details and check your inbox for updates.

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Knit Camp is a supportive, cheerful community led by Marie Greene of Olive Knits. It’s filled with monthly perks and resources to inspire your knitting journey.