Today is not a good day. A good day is when my knitting is working out. Today it’s not. My BlueV, an attempt at a summer weight cardigan with eyelets is going to sit in the time-out corner. I tried once, twice, even three times.
The first time it was a knit forward, rip back project as you can see. But was I deterred? NO.
I checked it again and found math errors so I tried it with different wool and a brighter colour to encourage me.
This one seems to work so I turned back to the BlueV but it’s still no good.
Are there any tear stains visible? I’m done with this one for now. We are through!
The red one has a chance of a revival though. I do love red and it’s behaving and trying to please me. We haven’t come to the Great Divide where the truth lies so I’m not getting too excited yet. My optimism is a little dented.
I’m going to take some time-out myself and knit some hats. Hats are reliable. Hats want to fit. Hats and I get along great. These are my Any Gauge Two Triangle Hats. Dive into your stash and cast on. NO SWATCHING!!
Hats, love them. How are your knitting projects going?
How do you pick a sweater size when you are going to do some Bust Shaping? Most knitting patterns are set up with the Front and Back the same width. That works great if you are not curvy. If you are curvy, you want to add extra width to the front only where you need it. You do not need it in your shoulders or neckline. But which size do you knit?
The knitting industry uses the measurement across your bust for choosing the finished size. Add some ease and choose the nearest size to knit.
If you are going to add inches for bust shaping you need to begin with a different size. The simple answer here is to make a smaller size and add the needed width across the bust so that your sweater fits just like you want it too.
If you are knitting Top Down, you can use one, or combine two, of the Bust Shaping Methods here:
A more accurate way to measure for your size, might be to use your upper chest measurement. Add some ease to that measurement and choose your size.
My manikin, as you can see, does not have a big difference between her Upper Chest and Bust measurement. It must be a manikin thing.
Here is what I would do. I have a 3-4″/7.5-10cm difference between my Upper Chest measurement and my Bust. Usually sweater pattern sizes are set up in 3″/7.5cm increments. Ideally I would like an inch and a bit of ease added to this Upper Chest measurement. I would begin my Top Down sweater using the stitch counts for one size smaller than I really need according to my Bust measurement. I would work the neck down to just above the bottom of the yoke. The neckline and chest should fit nicely. Then I would decide which method I want to use for adding Bust width and continue to work, adding around 2″/5cm (and a little bit more usually) at the bust.
I then have the proper size according to my Bust measurement but more of the width is across the Front where I need it, for two obvious reasons.
Thanks for reading,
P.S. We do have two books where the Bust Shaping is included (built in to the finished sizes). In the Need A Plus Cardigan book the fronts are 3″/7.5cm wider than the back. In the Need A Circular Yoke the front is 2″/5cm wider.
There are so many ways to work every possible technique in knitting that you could, if you are adventurous, view a knitting pattern as a guide rather than written in stone. The ability to substitute different techniques to get a slightly different look means that many more patterns are available for you to use to get the exact garment you had in mind. This also, by the way, could save you quite a bit of time when choosing patterns.
If you are knitting a raglan pullover or cardigan here are 5 ways to work the increases that make the distinctive raglan lines. Do you want decorative holes, small holes or no holes at all? Keep in mind that an increase that is easy for you to work also makes the sweater a happier knit.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Do you have enough knitting books yet? I have a huge stack even after I went through them and discarded quite a few. Heartbreaking but necessary. Some books served their purpose at one time but now I will not be going back to them so they got donated to my public library. Hopefully a knitter new to them will pick them up.
Check out the Knitting Around patterns in the book. If you are looking for books where you will learn about the basics of knitting, you can’t go wrong with any of Elizabeth Zimmermann’s books. I counted today and I have knit 11 different garments out of this one book alone (the Mystery Mittens are the best!). I would highly recommend the Moccasin Socks for something different and we all seem to be trying out new ways to knit socks.
It’s still mitten weather. I have knit all of the mittens in this book. The Norwegian Mittens are beautiful.
This is not a book I own but I have read it a couple of times and can recommend it. I have also never knit anything out of it but lots of knitters have posted projects on Ravelry. I think she appeals to a younger crowd than I. The most important part of this book for me was the section on picking the correct style for your figure. Sweater success starts with picking the neckline and shape of sweater which will flatter your figure. She also points out that how you look in the mirror, head on, may not entirely tally with your measurements. I am much less hippy when looking in the mirror than is indicated by my measurements. Choose a style according to the mirror and then work with your measurements to make it fit. Great advice.
This book is based on a workshop for knitting triangular shawls. I have knit from this book several times. It’s wonderful. What I love about it is the freedom of choosing different stitch patterns and the wonderful way she has set up transitioning from one stitch pattern to the next. Amazing. Mix and match the patterns, every shawl is different. Work them in stockinette stitch and then in garter stitch and see the difference the wrong side row makes.
Do you have some recommendations? I love to hear about books I haven’t seen yet.
I am working on the Easy A by Kat Riddell, a garter stitch sweater with a KAL (knit along) on ravelry. I love garter stitch and this looked like it would be a perfect spring sweater.
I had some Heritage by Briggs and Little and one ball of hand dyed by Essence of Autumn in my stash. Well, not exactly in my stash. It was masquerading as a partially knit sweater in the time-out corner. The sweater had severe gauge problems and sitting in the corner did not seem to be solving them so I undid the sweater, steamed the wool and decided to rework it here. I knew I didn’t have enough green so I thought I would add stripes on the body since I had a ball of these two other colours.
Then as I was thinking about stripes, I just happened to see a women wearing a top where the stripes on each side of the front were different widths. Perfect.
To my mind the stripes started as Maroon and Green, Maroon and Green. Then I started on the pink stripes. My first attempt did not work. Even I could see that the last green stripe did not appear as a stripe.
Second time lucky. I am quite happy with the results.
I am seriously running out of the green. Oh, no, was my first reaction but I still had lots of the other two colours. Working the sleeves in one colour of pink did not look good. I ripped them back and now I’m on a roll with striped sleeves. At least the first one.
The best part of writing a book for me, is discovery. There is always something that I learn that makes the book special. It may be a small detail that you, the knitter, might never notice. It might be one pattern that was especially interesting to develop that is the highlight. It won’t necessarily be the most popular pattern in the book but it will be special to me.
In the Need A Circular Yoke book I had an “aha” moment. We, Elizabeth Fallone and I, discovered that the short row system using Twin Stitches which is usually used to turn the heel of a sock, could be used to raise the back of the neck. That’s not the moment though. I also discovered that it could be used in a different way to shape the bust. Short Rows can be used for bust shaping to make the Front longer to compensate for a larger bust, that’s not new. We didn’t do that. We didn’t use the short rows themselves. We used the Twin Stitches from the short row system to widen the Front so there would be less pull-up on the sweater.
Imagine if you could accurately position the bust shaping. You want to work increases to widen the Front of your sweater so that the fabric is at its widest just above the widest line across your bust. I work from the Top Down so I am always trying to position the beginning point of the bust dart the correct distance from the underarm of my sweater. Not too high above my bust line and I definitely do not want to start the dart too low and run out of room.
The twin stitches allow you to work an increase every round. In knitting, we don’t have very many increases that work well when worked every round so this was a find. When you can work an increase every round you can know accurately how much vertical room these increases will need.
Working with worsted weight yarn (because the math is easy) let’s say you want to add 3″/7.5cm to the front of your sweater. That would be about 8 stitches on each side of the Front for a total of 16 sts added to the front. Your row count for worsted weight yarn is 7 rows = 1″/2.5cm so working 8 increases over 8 rounds would take just a smidge over 1″/2.5cm (1.14″/3cm to be exact). Ta, da. Start your twin stitch increases just an inch and a bit above the widest part of your bust.
What is a Twin Stitch? It’s a “Knit in the Row Below” stitch where you hold onto the loop you made in the row below and use it as an increase. You do not pull off the original stitch on your left needle (the stitch you knit into the row below of). Wow, that’s really confusing. It’s much clearer on my video. Check it out.