Knit cable pullover with skull pattern / free diagram

Since cable pullovers with a skull pattern became very popular lately, my son asked me to knit something cool for him :).  Though he never wanted me to create pullovers before (he prefers wearing T-shirts even in winter), now I think he loves the look. And not to forget those 20 girls on Facebook who immediately liked his new avatar :). - since cable pullovers with a skull pattern became very popular lately, my son asked me to knit something cool for him

More photos (all are clickable): - since cable pullovers with a skull pattern became very popular lately, my son asked me to knit something cool for him - since cable pullovers with a skull pattern became very popular lately, my son asked me to knit something cool for him - since cable pullovers with a skull pattern became very popular lately, my son asked me to knit something cool for him

For size XXL (the young man is almost 2 m = 6.5” tall) I’ve used 730 gr (25.8 oz) of 100 % wool. Yarn weight: DK / 8 ply / 178 m in 100 gr / 195 yards in 3.5 oz

I noted the differences I’ve made in my pullover (comparing to the original by Alexander McQueen) and left some comments about yarn and knitting process in this Ravelry topic:

Detailed DIAGRAM (for the skull in front) that I have used is below. Click on the file to download it in better resolution.

I’ve knitted the pullover bottom up but with this chart it’s easy to see how to work it top down.

I kindly ask you not to copy this diagram into your blog or sell it – just give the following link for the diagram:

Thank you for understanding!

Knit chart for the front -

Knitting symbols used (clickable):

Knitting symbols for the diagram

The pattern on both sides from the skull is the same as in his eyes (right side facing: 1 knit, 1 purl; wrong side facing: purl only). Let’s call it “pattern in the eyes”.

For the mentioned size I started FRONT with 14 purl sts, 1 knit between the patterns, 10 sts “cable chains” (1 purl, 8 knit, 1 purl), 1 knit between the patterns, 13 sts of “pattern in the eyes”, then worked skull as shown in the chart and finished the row symmetrically.

1st row in the BACK: 14 purl sts, 1 knit between the patterns, 10 sts “cable chains” (1 purl, 8 knit, 1 purl), 1 knit between the patterns, 12 sts of “pattern in the eyes”, 1 knit between the patterns, then cable pattern in the centre of the back (4 purl, 4 knit, 6 purl, 4 knit, 6 purl, 4 knit, 6 purl, 4 knit, 4 purl = 42 sts totally); finish the row symmetrically.

Note that later in all rows on the right side ”1 knit between the patterns” will be slipped without knitting it. Purl it on the wrong side.

Pattern in the eyes” is worked on the right side as charted; purl all stitches of the pattern on the wrong side.

I’ve not charted the centre of the back and “cable chains” because these patterns seam to be easy – in the main picture you’ll see in what direction you need to cross knit sts.

Add this pattern to your Ravelry queue and favorites or share photos of your completed project here

27 thoughts on “Knit cable pullover with skull pattern / free diagram

  1. I really liked your skull pattern though I haven’t worked mumuch and I’ve only done (and just finished) a scarf. I really wish I could learn there’s patterns and do this sweater for myself or a friend of mine. Do you make tutorial videos or know someone who does for this pattern?


    1. Dear Giulia,

      Since you have not much experience with cable pullovers I would recommend knitting some before starting such a project. In this ravelry topic I gave a number of suitable FREE cable patterns by Drops so you could choose some and get more experience:

      I’m not going to make a tutorial for this cable item and sell it later (as this is a lot of work and understandably can’t be offered for free) – I prefer crocheting and selling crochet patterns.

      Kind regards,


      1. Dear CC,
        Starting from the fact that I was noticing that your son is very gorgeous (how old is he?) I really appreciate the fact that you gave me so many links from where I could start and practice. Sadly I will not start right away because I help an association who helps premature children and we knit for these newborn babies because they are too small to fit in the normal dresses.
        As soon as hospital won’t need us for a while I’ll start practicing! BTW thanks for giving me a ravelry link because I just signed up and I find it fantastic to search new patterns!
        Thank you from Italy!


      2. Thank you, Giulia, he’s almost 18 (and loved your comment very much :))).

        Your help in the hospital is very important and I’m sure very appreciated.
        Children need clothes made with love.

        Wish you good luck with all efforts!


    1. Hello CC! I really appreciate your support on the matter. I’m the youngest among the people who “work” (it’s not really a job, it’s more a hobby which turned out really helpful) in this non profit organisation, I just turned 19 and it sometimes feels weird to knit, I don’t have a lot of time as I study law at university so I usually knit on the bus and when I do people look at me really weird as if I were hold a dangerous weapon. Your son is very lucky to have a mother who knits. In my family roles are inverted: I’m doing wool socks for my grandma. 🙂
      Thanks for the replies, say hi to your son!


  2. Sorry if this is a duplicate message from your fb page….Thought I’d try contacting you this way!

    Hi Inna, My daughter is dying for your son’s Skull Sweater! She’s a freshman in college and thinks this is the absolute greatest thing ever…she’s actually begging me to make it 🙂 My question is, I know your son is 6’5″ and you modified the chart to accommodate his height. Do you know if the original chart would work for a very slender young lady that’s about 5’6″? Also, I absolutely love the overall pattern for the entire sweater with the cables and waffles. Is there a pattern for the sweater as well or just the skull chart? The skull is even beginning to grow on me…Thanks for any help you can send my way! Shelley in Denver, Colorado USA


    1. Hi Shelley, indeed I rarely visit FB page :).

      I think you can take thinner needles and yarn for your daughter’s pullover. I’ve noted the amount of sts in the first row for the mentioned size (front and back). After completing gauge you will see how many purl stitches to work at the edges in your version (maybe you’ll need to decrease them as well). Count the height of the gauge rows to see whether the diagram of the skull ends where necessary (under her neck) and where you will start raglan decreases.
      I admit that my first completed 2/3 of the skull was small and raglan sleeves had to be started earlier than I wanted, so I’ve redone front completely. In sleeves I had to undo a couple of rows too. Everybody has to improvise :)).
      I have knitted back by looking at the original, without charting patterns. But since many people in ravelry wanted to have suggestions for the back I’ve found free waffles pattern in Drops – please read my reply .
      As for the cables along the skull – they are made over 10 sts: 1 purl, 8 knit, 1 purl in the first row, then you gradually cross stitches over next 8 rows to form round chain (my chains are done over 10 rows otherwise I’d had too many of them).

      Good luck!


  3. Hi! I am so excited to see that somebody already made the chart! I started over the summer and never finished mine! I swatched my yarn last night, and will get busy today (just in time for Halloween!). The chart has rows of “purl” stitches on the WS, but these stitches should be worked as they present themselves – Other than that, it’s going smooth (I haven’t swatched the whole skull!) I read the thread on raverly, too… I think I’m set! thank you so much for this hard work and piece of beauty! I will link it on my blog once finished (at least a month!!!) – Donatella


    1. Hi Donatella,
      Yes, stitches on the wrong side should be mostly worked as you see them, except for the pattern in the eyes – they are purl sts on the WS. In some rows (beard, forehead) I have crossed stitches on the WS too. If you cross them on the right side only the beard and forehead would form triangles.
      Well, my chart does not copy the original skull completely because I had to adjust front for the bigger size and chosen yarn, but I’ve noted all changes in ravelry so it is possible to knit the original pullover.
      Good luck!


  4. thank you, Inna! I only mentioned this because I was following the chart at the beginning, so the empty squares looks all like ‘purls’ – I swatched it last night so today I’ll be casting on (I’m a size S/m , so I will most likely have to change some more) thank you again, this is a massive amount of work!


  5. Than you think you thank you! Stumbled upon your post while looking for a pic of the original sweater so I could chart it out myself. You have saved me so much time (I suck st charting cables from photos)

    This is amazing!


  6. HI! thank you so much for the pattern!
    Since it’s a raglan sweater, did you begin from the neck down?
    and what stitch is the next to the skull?
    Is the sweater knited in a round or front side and back side?


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