Adele's Sweaters

Adele’s Legacy gives out a lot of sweaters.  Elementary school children vary in sizes from very small to adult sizes, so providing enough sweaters that we will have one to fit every child is a challenge.  It is a challenge for our knitters as well, as a sweater is a pretty serious time commitment.  But let’s face it, there is almost NOTHING as sure to keep a kid cozy as a hand knit sweater!  We would love to have more sweater makers, but we do have a few standards!   Here are some general things to keep in mind about our sweaters.

Sweater Standards

  1. All sweaters we donate are made by hand.  No store-bought sweaters are considered for donation.
  2. All the sweaters must be made of man-made fibers (acrylic, polyester, nylon).  This means no wool, no cotton, no cashmere!  This is because the sweaters will be LOVED and therefore will need to be washed frequently.  If the sweaters were made of wool or cotton, they might accidentally be felted or shrunk to the point where they were un-wearable.  In order to prevent this we ONLY donate sweaters made from easily washable and dryable synthetic materials.
  3. The sweaters we donate are well constructed, hearty sweaters.  They should all last a long time. To ensure that your sweater is created with the same strong construction please read our Tips and Tricks.  We provide advice on all aspects of sweater construction and strongly advise you to take advantage of the education we provide.  Sadly, sweaters that aren’t made well don’t get donated, and we don’t want that to happen to any of your sweaters, so please take a look at our tips!
  4. We recommend to make sweaters from worsted weight yarn.  If you are new to hand work and want to create a sweater for us you need to ask for “worsted weight acrylic yarn” when you go to your local yarn shop.  If you are in Franklin or Bedford County, contact us we might be able to provide you with enough yarn for a lovely sweater!
  5. Decoration of the sweater is not necessary, but if you want to decorate it, GO FOR IT!  Many of our volunteers love to use stripes or variegated yarn (yarn with many colors).  Some of our sweaters have cables, or other stitch patterns that make the sweater more interesting for the knitter and more attractive to the child who chooses it. Some child will love the sweater, even if it’s the first one you have ever made!


Tips and Tricks


  • It doesn’t matter if you make a neck with ribbing, or garter stitch, or a curled edge – what does matter is that it will go over the head of a child. I know we all think that kid’s heads are smaller than ours but if the neck of the sweater won’t go over your head, then it won’t go over a child’s head. It’s just that simple. The cast on (if you go top down) or the cast off (if you go bottom up) MUST be large enough to go over your head if you want it to fit a child. THIS IS THE NUMBER ONE PROBLEM WE GET FROM DONATED SWEATERS. Please, ensure that the neck is large enough so that your sweater will be donated.


  • Make sure that the cuffs of the sleeves are wide enough for your hands to fit through them.
  • If you lay the sweater down flat the sleeves should be at least 2 inches LONGER than the body of the sweater.


  • A good trick to make sure that the length of the sweater will work with the width lay the sweater down flat and fold up the bottom so lays along the side of the body. If the length is shorter than the width then you haven’t gone far enough.  The body of the sweater should be basically AT LEAST a square.  The length should be AT LEAST as long as the width.  Remember, we are trying to Keep Kids Cozy, not make them fashionable.

Ribbing Kits

Now that some of our volunteers use knitting machines we are always looking for people to knit the cuffs of the sweaters.  We provide Ribbing Kits to volunteers who take the kit home and knit two sleeve ribbings, and two body ribbings and then return them with live stitches on needles. These ribbings are put onto the knitting machines and quickly knit up into sleeves and body pieces.  These piece are then sewn together, but other volunteers.  If you are interested in working on a ribbing kit stop by Yarn Seasons and see what we have in stock – they are free and a lot of fun! Even beginner knitters won’t have any trouble following the directions provided.

Sweater Knitter?

If you live in our area you can always stop by Yarn Seasons and let us know you would be interested in knitting for us.  If you live far away contact the shop through our contact page.  We would love to have you. And, if you would like to knit a sweater (or two!) for Adele's Legacy here is a pattern you can use.  

Adele's Legacy Top Down Sweater

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