Substitute in Twin Stitches

The pattern you have chosen to knit is a Top Down with a shaped neckline which you really like … Can you hear the “but” coming? But … it uses short rows that you don’t like. There are at least 5 ways to work short rows and they had to choose that one?! How could they do that knowing that you don’t like working them that way?

Or maybe you have a pattern you like a lot and would like to make a new one, the same but different. I really like the Take It From The Top sweater. I have two already that I wear a lot. Now I would like to change things up for a brand new sweater. This basic pattern is a great starting point. I’m planning on having some fun with this. Would like to join me and Knit A-Long?

Take It From The Top photo

Sometimes techniques that are awkward or unrewarding can stop you in your tracks. The pattern had so much potential and now that you’ve started you are less than impressed. You gaze over at the time-out corner and wonder if it will be headed that way.

But wait. You have more know-how than you realize. Since there are usually several ways to do every technique in knitting, you could find another method to substitute, one that you are more familiar with or learn a new way which is it’s own reward.

I’m going to change the short rows and add a stitch pattern down the front, add bust, waist and hip shaping and maybe do something weird along the imaginary side seam. I’ll be expanding on more modifications and answering questions on the Knit A-Long.

After working the neckband, consider the short rows. Short rows are used to lower the front of the neck which makes the sweater more comfortable to wear. We actually work more rows across the back of the neck, raising the back of the neck, to lower the front. No one every says that but that’s what is really going on.IMG_5759

NACY short row neckline
Neckline to show raised neck, from Need A Circular Yoke book

The Take It From The Top uses the most basic of short rows to shape the neck. *Knit around the short row as written, Turn to wrong side, slip the first stitch, purl around as specified and Turn to right side, and slip first stitch; repeat. This totally works and if you have never done short rows before this is as straight forward as it gets. These short rows  work best when the yarn has some distracting elements: texture or colour variation. They are not the most sophisticated of short row methods.IMG_5754


I am changing to Twin Stitch Short Rows (video) which we used in the Need A Circular Yoke book. They are one of my favourites. They are done by knitting into the row below, pulling the loop up and slipping it back onto the left needle. You then have 2 stitches coming out of the row below, twin stitches.

TWK insert needle 2 - Copy (640x632) (525x381)

TWK completed (640x585)

When you next come to them you knit the twin stitches together. Yes, it’s that simple. I love when techniques are simple and look great. Why complicate things?


Substitute in a Twin Stitch for the stitch before the Turn (K1, twin stitch, Turn). That’s my first change up.

Next add in a panel on the front with a stitch pattern. I’m looking forward to this. Thanks for reading. Join me on the KAL if you want to knit along with me.


ANY GAUGE and GAUGE-FREE patterns by Deb

Cabin Fever No-Sew patterns

Deb onInstagram

Author: debgemmellmods

I'm a Knitter. The capital K means every day, everywhere. I'm co-owner of Cabin Fever with my sister Lyn. We have published over 100 patterns and 11 books. I'm also working on a new set of patterns for Any Gauge knitting. Dive into your stash and cast on for a Top Down sweater that fits, or an accessory to use up those odd balls of yarn.

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