Cover up that Ugly Mug

Spring is flirting with us.

Leading us on with a taste of higher temperatures. Teasing us with warm breezes and sunshine, then taking them away again.

Mug Sweater

It’s still my favorite season.

I’m ready to put away my coats and scarves  – mentally, I already have.

But I won’t be putting away the tea-drinking habit I’ve settled into!

I’m afraid that means I will probably have a burnt tongue year-round now.

But I do have a way to drink my tea without melting the flesh off my fingers!

(And one that doesn’t involve a straw)

Mug Sweater

If you’ve got an ugly mug, this mug sweater is the cure. And if you’ve got a lovely mug, this pattern will take it up a notch!

I designed it to fit a standard-size mug, or one that’s slightly taller. The lacy design was inspired by this pattern.

Mug Sweater

Spring Wind Mug Sweater

Download printable PDF

Size: Fits a mug 3 ¼” (8.5 cm) in diameter, 3 ¾-4 ½” (10-12 cm) tall

Materials: Worsted-weight yarn, size 5 (3.75 mm) double-pointed needles, button

Gauge: This project isn’t large enough to make it worth your while to make a swatch. Just measure it against your mug as you go. (If you switch it to a circular needle, you can try it on.)

CO 1 st, using a slip knot.

RS: K1, p1, k1 in same st. (3 sts)

Pass stitches to the other end of the needle and knit on the RS again (as for an i-cord): Kfb each stitch. (6 sts)

Repeat last row. (12 sts)

Divide the 12 sts onto 3 dp needles.

Round 1: *Kfb, k1, repeat from*

Round 2 (and all even rounds): Knit.

Round 3: Repeat round 1

Round 5: *Kfb, k2, repeat from* (36 sts)

Round 7: *Kfb, k3, repeat from* (45 sts)

Round 9: *Kfb, k4, repeat from* (54 sts)

Round 10: Knit.

You should now have a flat circle the same size as the base of your mug. If you need to make it a bit larger, knit additional increase rounds according to the same pattern.

Purl one round.

Round 1: *K3, k2tog, yo, k1, repeat from *

Round 2: *K2, k2tog, yo, k2, repeat from*

Round 3: *K1, K2tog, yo, k3, repeat from *

Round 4: K1, and pass that stitch to the needle on the right so it becomes the end of the round. BO 4 sts, sl1, *K2tog, yo, k4, repeat from *, k1.

Now turn the work inside out and knit on the WS. From now on, work the piece back and forth rather than in the round.

Row 1 (WS):  Sl 1 purlwise, *p3, p2tog tbl, yo, p1, repeat from *, p1.

Row 2: Sl 1 knitwise, *k2, yo, k2tog tbl, k2, repeat from *, k1.

Row 3: Sl 1 purlwise, *p1, p2tog tbl, yo, p3, repeat from *, p1.

Row 4: Sl 1 knitwise, *k4, yo, ssk, repeat from *, k1.

Row 5: Sl 1 purlwise, *p1, yo, p2tog, p3, repeat from *, p1.

Row 6: Sl 1 knitwise, *k2, k2tog, yo, k2, repeat from *, k1.

Row 7: Sl 1 purlwise, *p3, yo, p2tog, p1, repeat from *, p1.

Row 8: Sl 1 knitwise, *k2tog, yo, k4, repeat from *, k1.

Repeat rows 1-8.

Repeat rows 1-4 once more.

Now the piece should measure about three inches high, or about half an inch shorter than your desired height. (If you want your mug sweater taller, work through the pattern again, ending with row 4.)

Next row (WS): Sl 1 purlwise, *p1, k1, repeat from * (in the middle of the row, work one knit and purl in the same stitch so you’ll have an odd number), p2.

RS row: Sl 1 knitwise, *k1, p1, repeat from *, k2.

Work WS row once more.

BO in pattern. (Here’s an easy way to bind off this piece neatly: Work RS row again. Then, with the RS facing you, go back to the beginning of the row. Sl 2 sts purlwise onto your left-hand needle. Pass the first over the second. Continue in the manner until all sts are bound off.)

Weave in ends.

Put the sweater on your mug and decide where the button ought to go (somewhere  between the ends of the handle). Sew it on.

For the loop: CO 3 sts and knit an i-cord of about 3” (8 cm).

Bind off and sew the ends to the opposite side from the button.

Mug Sweater

I made these mug sweaters before Christmas. I adapted the first one from this pattern

Mug Sweater

…and I made the second in a honeycomb cable design.

Mug Sweater

Besides protecting your fingers from hot ceramic, mug sweaters are a fabulous way to experiment with different patterns.

I’ll be back soon with another design – watch for the new pattern!

41 thoughts on “Cover up that Ugly Mug

  1. Does that YO in the first few rows of the mug round increase the row by a loop each time you YO? Sorry, I’m a new knitter, and the YO video on Youtube shows the yarn pulled to the front and then a knit stitch. Is the K1 you show after the YO that stitch, or an extra one? (hope that makes sense)

    • Sara, the yarn over does create a new stitch, but it is always paired with a knit or purl 2 together, so the total number of stitches stays constant.
      When you read a pattern, YO only tells you to bring the yarn to the front. (If it’s already in front from a purl stitch, you have to loop it around again.)
      For the first YO in this pattern, the next stitch is a knit stitch, so it’s like you described. The K1 is the first stitch after you pull the yarn in front.
      Does that answer your question, Sara? Let me know if I can explain anything else for you!

  2. Pingback: By Popular Demand | Spicy Life

  3. Thank you for this pattern! I’ve been admiring all four of your mug sweaters and decided to try and make them. This is the first thing I’m attempting that’s not a scarf, and I’m confused by the directions at one spot. In Rd 4, it says “K1 and pass that stitch to the needle on the left so it becomes the end of the round.” Does that mean the needle on the left it just came from? Or the last needle worked in the previous rounds? Also after I BO 4 and sl1, I will have 2 stitches on my right needle, right? Thanks for any help!

    • Hi Kristen! You’re confused because I was confused when I wrote the pattern! That stitch should be passed to the needle on the RIGHT.
      I’m sorry for holding up your knitting adventure with my mistake! Thanks for bringing it to my attention so I can correct it. Let me know if there’s anything still unclear – and happy knitting!

  4. Hi, Would it possible for me to pay you to make them for me? I just lost my home during the hurricane, and this would be a very afordable gift for me to give. Thank you.

  5. I made this pattern once with a worsted weight yarn and 3.75mm needles as directed and it came out HUGE! Way too big for the mug size that it says. The bottome diameter is coming out 4″ or more. So now I am knitting it again using 3.25mm needles and the same worsted weight yarn as before and it seems like it will still come out too big for the “normal” size mug… I’m just wondering if anyone else has this problem or if anyone can think what I am doing wrong or can tell me how to fix it. I really love this pattern and would like to make it and the 3 others for gifts. But if I can’t get this one right I know all the rest will be too big as well since they prettying start out the same. HELP!!! Thank you!

    • Abby, it sounds like you’re starting with the best option to adjust your gauge. If this doesn’t help, you could also work up to a different multiple of 6 (48 or 42 st. instead of 54) to reach the right size. Does that help?

      • Is there a reason why it would be so much bigger when I do it according to the pattern? And once I find the right adjustment I assume I should do the same on your other mug sweaters?

      • If you’re not using larger needles or heavier yarn, I can only assume that you are knitting with much different tension. And yes – once you make an adjustment that works for you (be it needles, yarn or the number of stitches), you can apply it to the other patterns as well, since they all use the same size base. Just pay attention to the multiple of stitches needed if that’s where you choose to adjust. When finishing the base, you should have a multiple of 2 for the Linen Ridge pattern, 6 for Tangled Cables, and 8 +2 for Basketweave.

  6. Hey! I love your patterns- especially the other two variations shown at the bottom of this page! But the link isn’t working to get to the patterns. Could you post them as well?

    • Hey! I love your patterns- especially the other two variations shown at the bottom of this page! But the link isn’t working to get to the patterns. Could you post them as well?

  7. I am having problems with understanding what happens to all of the slip stitches once I start the section where I start knitting back and forth, please help as I really like this pattern

  8. Kind of. Do you mean that the sl1 purlwise is the k1 at the end of the next row and the sl1 knitwise is the p1 at the end of the row after that? Thank you for getting back to me so quickly I really appreciate it.

  9. When I knit row 5 till 8 the pattern looks different then the picture. According to the description you need to tog the front loop, but the picture shows through the back loop? Is that correct?

    • Hi Annie, sorry to hear it’s not working for you! Are you thinking using the back loop on wrong side rows would fix the design? You could be right. Or are you thinking it’s a problem in each row?

    • It’s certainly possible to knit on straight needles and add a seam for the base. You’d just have to work back and forth instead of rounds. Double-pointed needles are pretty fun, though… I hope you enjoy trying it sometime!

  10. These are gorgeous! I didn’t know “sweater mugs” were a thing lol. I do daily jigsaw puzzles online, and one of the images to pick from was a picture of this coffee mug with a sweater on it. I googled it and stumbled across your pic of the grey one and I love it! I have no idea how to knit, (nor do I have the desire to learn haha), but i just wanted to compliment you on your craftiness :) And just out of curiousity, do you make and sell these? I don’t know how to go about ordering online, and what I have found I don’t like. Your’s caught my eye though.

    • Hi Katherine, how fun! Thanks for your funny and thoughtful comment. The internet is an interesting place… ha! I don’t often make mug sweaters to sell, but if you’re interested, I’m happy to set up a custom Etsy listing for you. I could have a mug sweater in your preferred design in color in a day or two.

  11. That would be great! I really appreciate it. Sorry, I forgot I messaged you on this! If you want to email me or send me a pm on facebook that is fine too. I don’t know how etsy works, but I’ll do it. I just need to know how much you’re thinking of charging, and if maybe i can get 2? I really like the grey one, same print. that’s the one that prompted me to this site, I love it!
    facebook messenger is easy for me to communicate because its on my phone, and I get my messages right away like a text

  12. I am not able “to work the piece back and forth rather than in the round” where did I go wrong.
    Mine is still in round.

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