Now that the call has gone out, again, for sweaters, with time enough to finish one up, here are a few free patterns I'd filed away for the next opportunity.
This one has a shawl collar, a feature that virtually eliminates the possibility of a neck that's too tight. And it uses bulky yarn, so it's fast. Remember -- you can stretch your yarn using stripes and color blocking. I would make the larger size; the smaller size will only fit the very youngest kids. (knitted)
This one is crocheted, and looks quite nice. You do have to join the site to access it, but there's no fee and they do not send you mail. Again, I'd make at least the medium size of this one. Edited to add a comment from a crocheter who couldn't convince her computer to post to the blog: "The crochet sweater pattern that you gave a link to is a very nice one. May I suggest that you advise people to buy some extra yarn and make it longer than the pattern calls for? It is one I have made in the past, and the sweater barely has tummy coverage. It needs at least another two inches to be warm and modest enough."
Here is a worsted weight turtleneck, easily converted to a crew neck, which is probably more useful. (knitted)
The men's sweater on this page uses heavy worsted and has an easy stitch pattern (knitted)
Hope these help you come up with some good ideas. . .