How to: Knit a Norwegian Skappel Sweater

The perfect beginner’s project

Three months from the time I had first picked up knitting needles, I had knit some coasters, a scarf, and a cowl. I wanted more than anything to be able to knit my own sweater, but all of the beginner patterns I found were knit in super chunky yarn (which I’d absolutely melt in at work) or had an unflattering fit with very tight ribbing around the hips and a body that almost “bubbled” in the middle.

Then one day I was scrolling through Instagram and found the perfect relaxed, Scandinavian-effortless sweater design – the Skappelgenser.

The Skappelgenser (or Skappel sweater) is designed by and named after Dorthe Skappel – a Norwegian TV celebrity. In 2012, when Dorthe’s daughter Maria published the pattern in Norwegian on her blog, it ignited a knitting frenzy that led to all the alpaca yarn selling out in Norway. Everybody wanted to knit this sweater.

Not only is the Skappelgenser comfortable, versatile and timeless, but it is also a quick, easy knit for those of you hesitating to make the leap from scarves to garments. It was my first sweater, and it’s still one of my favorites today!

The Skappelgenser can be layered on top of a button-down shirt and tights or skinny jeans for a semi-casual look for work or a quick brunch run, or tossed over a summer dress for an added layer of warmth.

Two separate threads of alpaca yarn are used to knit the Skappelgenser, which gives it a large amount of drape and airiness despite being a very warm garment.

Here’s how to make it:

You will need: 7.0 mm circular needles (80 cm cord)
7-8 skeins of a 50g thin alpaca yarn (e.g. Drops Alpaca)
6-7 skeins of a 50g fluffy alpaca yarn (e.g. Drops Brushed Alpaca Silk)

Sizing: This sweater is written to be really large. I reduced the stitch count on the front and back to 70 stitches each, I have a 73 cm bust, and it is an extremely oversized and comfortable sweater. If you want to size down like me, you should keep a stitch count of 60 or 70, but if you want a larger sweater, stick with the recommended 80.

To get color ideas and see what the sweater looks like on different bodies, check out the hashtag #skappelgenser on Instagram. There’s so much inspiration out there!

How to knit the Skappelgenser:

Cast on 80 stitches with 7.0 mm needles
Knit 4 cm of 2x2 ribbing (knit 2, purl 2)
Now knit in garter stitch (knit every row) until you’ve reached your desired length
Bind off loosely.

Cast on 80 stitches with 7.0 mm needles
Knit 4 cm of 2x2 ribbing (knit 2, purl 2)
Continue in garter stitch until you are 7 cm away from your desired length.
Bind off the center 16 stitches for your neckline.
You now have two shoulders – 32 stitches on either side. You will knit one shoulder at a time.
Knit back and forth on one of the shoulders while decreasing one stitch on the side of the neckline every other row 4 times. You should now have 28 stitches left on your needles Continue until you have reached approximately 7 cm from where you split the shoulders and then bind off.
Repeat this for the other shoulder.

Cast on 40 stitches with 7.0 mm needles.
Knit 4 cm of 2x2 ribbing (knit 2, purl 2)
Continue with garter stitch for 15 rows.
Now you will repeat this series of rows until you have 52 stitches on your needles:
1. Row 1 (add 2 stitches): knit 1, knit front back (add a new stitch), knit until you have 2 stitches remaining, knit front back (add a new stitch), knit 1
2. Knit 4 rows in garter stitch.

Continue knitting until the desired sleeve length and bind off loosely.

Now you just need to sew your new sweater together! Use only the thin alpaca wool and not fluffy alpaca to do this. You can leave slits at the bottom of your sweater between the front and back pieces if you want it to look like the original Skappelgenser.

You now have a super soft, comfy sweater that you have made yourself!