Bust Darts, Top Down

Why are the fronts of women’s sweaters the same width as the back? Aren’t there two very good reasons why there should be a little more room on the front? You could work two different sizes to fix this but it needs quite a bit of fiddling to get it right. There is an easier way.

You need the extra room exactly where you need it, right? You know where. Not in the upper chest and neckline which could happen if you work two different sizes. Not below the bust either.

Here’s one of my solutions. I used on my latest Any Gauge Raglan Pullover. When working Top Down you can add an extra set of stitches to the Front of the Body starting just under the arm, after the Great Divide.

Can you see a faint line coming out of my underarm at an angle? Here, let me highlight it.

It’s not very visible. The increases are worked on every round. Each increase is worked beside the last one, working from the underarm toward the centre of the front. I added 6 extra bust stitches on each side of the Front, worked the rounds straight down past the largest part of my bust and then began working decreases at the sides of the Front every 4 rounds to get rid of some of these stitches (not all of them because, with Covid, the belly is a little larger than before!!).

I used Twin Stitches. They are the stitches used in the Shadow Short Row system which, if you don’t get rid of the double stitches (the twin stitches) as you would when working short rows, these twin stitches can become increases. It’s magic.

Here’s my video to show you how: Bust Dart for Top Down Pullover using TWK

This is how you work a Twin Stitch. If you’ve been following me for any amount of time, you’ve seen this before. I discovered this while working on the Need A Circular Yoke book. Have you tried this?

Stay safe and keep on keeping on, Deb

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

Deb on instagram, because you know there’s more knitting going on.

Ease for a Top Down Raglan

Ease is really personal. Ease is the amount the finished sweater is bigger or smaller than the measurement at your bust line. How tight or loose you wear your clothes across the bust, is entirely up to you. Two people with the same bust measurement may knit two different sizes, depending on how they want their sweater to fit.

Positive ease means the sweater is bigger than your Actual Bust Measurement. A sweater that measures 44″ around on a body with a bust measurement of 40″ has 4″ of positive ease.

You can have negative ease too. If the sweater measures 38″ around the chest on a body with a bust measurement of 40″ then the sweater is said to have 2″ of negative ease. The T-shirts you wear usually have negative ease. It does not mean it’s 2″ smaller everywhere. If the sweater is knit straight it may have positive ease on the torso even if it has negative ease at the bust line. Apparently, in the knitting industry, we are only concerned with the fit at the bust line. Go figure (pun intended).

For the Any Gauge Raglan Pullover I was attempting to fit a pullover with some positive ease. At the Bottom of the Yoke this sweater would fit like a second skin. It fits your Actual Bust Measurement + both your Actual Arm Measurements. It fits your body exactly as measured. But we don’t leave it there.

In this pattern I have you add the Ease as a cast on at each underarm.

How much ease? That’s up to you. The easiest way to determine how much is to measure the sweaters you wear. How much bigger/smaller is your favourite sweater than your Actual Bust Measurement? That’s the amount of ease you like. Half the ease is added as cast on stitches at one underarm and the other half, cast on at the other underarm. Now your sweater body has the amount of ease you wanted.

You can see that half the Body Ease will eventually also be added to the sleeve. Let’s say you want 3″ of ease for your body, then 1.5″ is cast on at each underarm. When you work your sleeve, you pick up one stitch for each underarm cast on stitch, so adding 1.5″ of ease to the sleeve.

But … you knew this was coming, there are modifications you can make here.

  1. Different ease for your sleeve: If half the Body Ease is not the right amount of ease for your sleeve, as you set up your sleeve you can pick up additional stitches in the corners beside the cast on stitches for slightly more sleeve room or for less ease, pick up fewer stitches from the cast on stitches. It won’t involve very many stitches + or – so is fairly easy to do.
  2. You miscalculated your gauge: Your pullover at this point is a little smaller than anticipated. You can cast on additional stitches to add body width plus the amount of ease you wanted, as you cast on at each underarm. If your sweater is too big at this point, sorry you’re going to have to rip back several rounds before you cast on for the underarms.
  3. Yoke is getting too long: Your pullover yoke is already level with your underarm so you don’t want to work any more increase rounds to get to your total number of stitches at the bottom of the yoke. You can cast on the extra Body stitches needed to get to the correct number of stitches at the Bottom of the Yoke at the underarms (divided between the two underarms) along with the amount of ease you want.
  4. You want Negative Ease: Work until at the Bottom of the Yoke your sweater is the number of inches of negative ease you want plus extra 1″ smaller. Then cast on 1/2″ worth of stitches at each underarm. For example, if you want 2″ of negative ease then knit until your Yoke is 3″ smaller than your Actual Bust Measurement (2″ negative ease + 1″ smaller). Cast On 1/2″ worth of stitches at each underarm. This will make your sweater come out to the amount of negative ease you wish plus add a little ease to your sleeves.
  5. Extra Bust Width: You want to add some extra width to the Front only. Take your Total Sweater Ease at the Bust – Ease added on the Front only = cast on the underarms, divided between the two underarms. For example: Total Sweater Ease at bust is 5″ – 2″ added to the Front only = 3″ ease to Body at the underarm (1.5″ cast on at each underarm).

You might guess what I did. Give up? Yes, I added extra ease across the Front only. We’ll get into that next.

Cheers and stay safe and well, Deb

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

Deb on instagram for all my other knitting

A better fitting sleeve

I have talked to a lot of knitters, especially plus-sized knitters, to ask if they knit sweaters for themselves. If they don’t, why not? The answer quite often is they can’t get a good fit between their bust size and their sleeves. We are all sized so differently that with standard sizing, it is still up to you, the knitter, to figure some of this out.

That is why I have written the Any Gauge Raglan Pullover pattern. It’s going to give you the correct sleeve size you need, irregardless of your bust measurement. Big bust, small bust, thin arms, heavier arms, it doesn’t matter. It’s all based on your own measurements, whatever they are.

The bottom of the yoke is where it all happens. What I call the Great Divide.

Here’s where this pattern differs. The sleeve stitches you put on spare yarn do not rely on the Raglan Markers to delineate the size of your sleeves. The Raglan Markers are a guide. They do not mark the definitive edge of your sleeves.

I don’t know what size you are, so I set up the raglan markers at the neck so that they might suit a lot of people. You figure out the exact number of stitches you need to go around your Upper Arm. My Upper Arm measures 13″ around (about 1″ bigger than the standard size charts indicate for my bust size). So I put 13″ worth of stitches on spare yarn. For my gauge that was 68 sts.

Can you see that my sleeve stitches are inside the Raglan Markers?

My sleeve is around 1″ smaller than the Raglan Markers would indicate.

How can this work? For the Any Gauge Raglan Pullover pattern, at the Bottom of the Yoke you have the exact number of stitches to go around the Actual Measurement of your Bust + 2 Actual Measurements of your Arms. If the Yoke was left here it would fit as a second skin. Nice, eh? OK, maybe not. So we don’t leave it there. Ease will be added for the sleeve and the Body at the underarm when you join up the Front and Back.

Because I have the exact number of stitches needed for the yoke to fit me like a second skin, once I’ve divided off the sleeves, the rest of the stitches, including those inside the raglan lines, will be Body stitches. Where the raglan lines are doesn’t matter. They are there to increase the size of the Yoke only. Your sleeves might be outside the raglan markers. That is still great.

Ease will be added at the underarm to make your sleeves and Body the final size. But there is much more to the Ease question than this. It’s coming up next week.

Is this clear as mud? The Great Divide is a very exciting moment. There are many modifications you can make here to get a good fit.

Cheers and stay safe. We’re in lockdown so lots of knitting time around here.

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

Deb on instagram

Cabled Cuffs

Sometimes it’s best to let your knitting do what it’s best at. That’s what I did with my cuffs.

Cables pull in the fabric. More than you might think. When you add cables into a sweater you need to compensate for this. At the top of my Any Gauge Raglan Pullover sweater I increased 2 stitches for every cable column: 5 columns, 10 stitches increased. I was told a rule at one time which said to increase 1 stitch for every 3 stitches of the cable. These are 8 stitch cables so a 2 (or 3) stitch increase seemed about right.

For the tight cuffs, why not just let the cables do their thing? I worked 5 cables around the cuff with the same needle I used for the sleeve. So, here it is with the same needle, same number of stitches as at the end of the sleeve. The cables pulled my cuff in quite a lot. Sometimes what the knitting wants to do is the way to go.

Apparently it’s time to reboot. My phone earphones wouldn’t work today. Reboot. My computer wouldn’t show any of my typing. Reboot. Now I just need to finish rebooting myself. I’m not quite there yet.

I think the week between Christmas and New Years is that time. I read 5 books. Knit a little less. I baked bread and cookies, my two essential life-giving foods. Have you rebooted yet? Are you ready for 2021?

Cheers, Deb

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

Deb on instagram