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. Absolutely. Each year I’ve knit the sweater sample (twice each, actually) in size 38 in 4 days. Really!

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

A: Nope. There’s a sliding timeline that adjusts for sizes (32-52 inch bust size with positive ease built-in), so knitters have between 4-8 days for the official “challenge” portion. We leave the knitalong group open for 2 weeks so everyone has plenty of wiggle room to work on their project and spread their days out (the days don’t have to be consecutive). Whether you knit it in 4 days or 4 weeks, the goal is to simply to knit a sweater more quickly than you thought you could. That’s it. There is NO pressure to make it in 4 days (knit at a pace that works for you); the crazy timeline is just for fun, and only if you feel like giving it a shot.

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 Olive Knits Knitters’ Lounge Facebook group (if you like). These two sources are the best way to get all the juicy tidbits, find out about the launch date and more. If you don’t use Facebook, that’s okay – just be sure you’re on my newsletter.

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

A: Easy breezy. Have your yarn shop send an email to hello @ oliveknits.com and let us know they’d like to join us and we’ll send along all the details. (We post the official list of participating shops and yarn dyers on the annual page each 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: How much does it cost to participate?

A: All you have to do is buy the pattern (And have the yarn to knit it) The retail pattern price is $10 USD. During the preorder launch period (which changes each year so check out the current 4 Day KAL page for details), the pattern will be discounted to $9 USD. During the preorder period, you will be able to see photos of the pattern and download the knitalong itinerary, yarn details and swatching guide with your pattern purchase. The pattern itself will land to your Ravelry library and here on oliveknits.com at the end of June. The official cast-on day is July 4th.

Q: Tell me about the yarn?

A: Each year we work with a different yarn company.

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 every Thursday for updates.

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