Stretchy Cast On

The construction for working the Family Crew Neck raglan begins with the neckband. This makes it different from a lot of other Top Down patterns. Once the neckband is knit, short rows are worked to create a neckline where the front is lower than the back.

Because the neckband is worked first it’s important that your cast on is especially stretchy. Quite often the neck opening of a crewneck is smaller than your head circumference. It’s not a great feeling to rip your ears off as you pull your sweater over your head. Especially if you’re working a sweater for a child.

I’ve looked for some videos for stretchy cast ons. Here are the ones I use regularly.

Many stretchy cast ons are based on the long-tail cast on and I found the third one mentioned in this video to be the best (found at 5:10 into the video). Three Wasy to Make A Stretchy Cast On I used it here and since I use the long-tail cast on all the time, I found the third method really easy to work. I think it looks great with K1,P1 ribbing and it is indeed, very stretchy.

Another great cast on is the Crocodile Cast On by Cat Bordhi which is also based on the long-tail cast on. This is my usual cast on. It is stretchy too.

The beauty of starting with the neckband is there is no picking up afterwards. I count this as a big advantage.

Would you rather pick up the neckband? Are you good with starting with a stretchy cast on and going on from there?

Cheers,

Deb

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

The Family Crew Neck

The Family Crew Neck pullover is ready to leave home. I’ve hit the publish button so if you’re interested in knitting top down pullovers for every person you know in different weights of yarn, it’s ready to go.

I’m knitting #5 right now. I’ve knit a striped one for my son-in-law, a matching mini-me one for my grandson, a salt & pepper pullover for my son’s girlfriend, a twisted stitch patterned version for my daughter and now, of course, one just one more for my grandson (it’s a grandma thing).

This pattern is a framework for you to play with. There is MATH. Yes, sorry but no getting away from it since it’s for ANY GAUGE of yarn and I don’t know what you’re knitting with. All the body measurements are in inches, which you then multiply by your stitch gauge and voila, stitch numbers, just like that. It’s not hard, really it’s not.

I thought I’d take you on a tour. There may be some weird and wonderful things that are a bit different from top down sweaters you’ve done before. This is a system I’ve devised and used for years.

Here’s the Family Crew Neck . I don’t like picking up stitches, so this pullover begins with the ribbed neckband. It’s all one piece from the beginning. You’ll need a nice stretchy cast on because most neckbands on crew necks are slightly smaller than your head. Do you see me using the magic loop method here? I can learn! It allows for better photos so I’m figuring it out.

Now, work short rows and raglan increases, two things at once. I’m hoping you’re enthusiastic to get going. I always am.

The short rows produce a drop at the front of the neck. The raglan increases are … well, raglan increases. I always think of them in pairs, one before the raglan line marker and one after.

Every Increase Row starts one stitch before the Beginning of Round Marker (yellow) so you can do the pair of increases, one before and one after the marker.

The short rows get longer and longer as they creep down the Front on both sides. The Beginning of Round Marker is at the left front shoulder. A weird place but the short rows work this way.

Still creeping further down the front. Note that the centre front stitches do not get worked until the very end.

And done. Look at that front drop. I love this moment. Do you have moments when you sit back and say ‘just look at that, I did it’?

The tour continues next week with The Great Divide. Another exciting moment, ha, ha, can you stand it?!

Hope you’re having as much fun as I am,

Cheers, Deb

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

Deb on instagram: deb.gemmell

Working a Panel of Stitches

My Family Crew Neck, a pattern-in-progress, is a Top Down pullover which lends itself to working a stitch pattern down the front. The panel can be as wide as that short flat section at the bottom of the crewneck shaping. I’ve been playing with a twisted stitch pattern that makes a diamond. Because I usually use a chart, and the chart is square, I’m thinking of it as a diamond in a box. Only the diamond actually shows but … well my mind won’t make the adjustment.

The little stitch pattern I’ve included in the pattern is 6 stitches wide and 15 rounds high for one diamond.

The easy way to work this as a panel across the 18 stitches I had available on my adult pullover would be to work 3 boxes across and repeat them down the front. Like this:

This is two diamonds high.

Logical and it would look good. But … did I do that?

Three guesses. If the first guess was NO, then you know me pretty well. I decided to do this:

Sometimes I complicate things (are you laughing?!) and live to regret it. Not this time. I had a great time doing this weird zigzag. It was not without the occasional rip back but having to concentrate was not a bad thing.

Now I am contemplating doing a little kid size in a thicker wool. I won’t have many stitches in the centre of the crewneck to work with so I’m contemplating doing this:

What do you think?

Hope you are also having fun with your knitting,

Deb

Family Crew Neck pullover

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free knitting patterns by Deb

Deb on instagram: deb.gemmell

Dividing yarn for body and sleeve stripes

Working a sweater with big stripes is a great look. If you have tons of yarn available it’s not a problem to get equal sized stripes on the body and the sleeves. I made sure I bought enough. Knitting this prototype for the Any Gauge Family Crew Neck Raglan sweater for my SNL was really fun.

Then I decided to knit a mini-me sweater for my grandson with all the odd balls I had left over. Now I have a limited amount of yarn to work the body and sleeve stripes.

How do you divide your yarn so you’re sure to have enough for the sleeve stripes while you’re working the body? I didn’t want to knit the body sweating about the sleeve stripes. I wanted a nice relaxing knit.

If you have a scale to weigh your yarn and you have decided on the finished size of the sweater, you can follow along. Here is how I did it for my sweater sized for a 1 year old:

Formula: weight of yarn available = body circumference + sleeve circumference + second sleeve circumference.

Now the calculator comes out: Divide the grams of yarn by the total circumference of body and sleeves. This will give you the number of grams of yarn needed to knit once around the body and two sleeves.

Here are the numbers I used with my left-over balls of yarn:

35g of rust colour = 22″ body + 9″ sleeve + 9″ sleeve (1 year size)

35g = 40″ circumference

Divide as follows: 35 divided by 40 = number of grams to knit one round of the body and two sleeves

0.875g of yarn needed for every round of stripes knit

Separate Yarn to use for body and sleeve stripes : OK, now that I have this weird number from the formula I can divide my yarn into enough for the body stripe and 2 equal sized balls for each sleeve stripe:

22″ body x 0.875g = 19.25g of yarn for a body stripe

9″ sleeve x 0.875g = 7.87g of yarn for each sleeve stripe

Weigh out your yarn. Give yourself a safety margin. I wound a ball weighing 18g for the Body stripe. Now I’m sure to have more than enough left for the sleeve stripes.

Once I knew I would have enough for the sleeves I could make a decision on the actual size of the rust stripe, knowing I could mimic it in the sleeves. I didn’t need all 18g for the body stripe I wanted so I ended up with a little left over. Then I knit the sleeve stripes, counting rows so they were the same as the body stripe. This worked out perfectly. At least I think it did.

I am so pleased with the results.

I hope this is helpful, Cheers, Deb

Family Crew Neck

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free knitting patterns by Deb

Crewneck Pullover Beginnings

I’m working on one more pullover pattern (Family Crew Neck) before shawl knitting takes over. Summer seems to be more suited to shawls and I understand, snow withstanding, that summer is really on its way.

I have devised several construction systems over my years designing Cabin Fever patterns. These were based on formulas which were then decorated with stitch patterns.

Now I want to present them to you as basic patterns so that you can do the decorating part. I know you can do this. You’ve been knitting for some time so you know a couple stitch patterns that you love. These basic patterns are an ideal place to let them loose on the front, back or sleeves.

The Family Crew Neck Raglan is my next project. I’ve done two prototypes so far. The recipients are very happy with them.

I’ve started on one more so that I can add in all the little bits of advice on keeping track. I have two more on the go so lots to show you coming up.

It’s still cool here so perfect for sweater knitting outside. I hope you are enjoying spring.

Cheers, Deb

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

Cable pullover done

It’s done. Phew. My newest Any Gauge Raglan Pullover was made by taking apart a sweater I wasn’t wearing and turning it into this one. I put it on the day I finished, and the next day, and the one after that. I think I like it. Here’s the requisite bathroom photo.

I don’t know if you can see but I ran out of wool. Yup. I knit this pullover with a much smaller needle than the original sweater. Ouch, just one ball short. So into the stash I went.

I found one ball of orange (on the left) and yes, it doesn’t quite match but … what can you do?!

I got the bottom of the sleeves and the neckband out of it. It’s not perfect but I’m really happy with it. I keep wearing it. That’s the real test. It passed.

Now a pause. I find there is always a very uncomfortable pause after finishing a big project. Do you find that?

I started doodling, otherwise known as charting. And then it got out of hand.

Time to do a clean up I guess.

That’s better but I still have a lot on my mind.

How about you?

Deb

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

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

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

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

Playing with a chart

I’m not going to apologize. I love charts!! I think most knitters need to learn how to read them and use them. Once you can do that, a whole world of modification is open to you. Charts can be played with. Charts can be changed to suit you and your project.

I’m knitting the Any Gauge Raglan Pullover. One of the great things about this top down pattern is that it has a wide Front and Back neck opening. This gives you lots of room to place a pattern. In this one I put a large cable down the front and back (the cable is included as a variation in the pattern).

This time I wanted to work a wider panel of cables down the front and back. This is the pattern I started with. Cable #15 out of the Knitted Cable Sourcebook by Norah Gaughan. An excellent book.

To figure out how I might work multiple strands of cabling, I photocopied the chart to see what I could do with it.

I could do several strands of the same cable.

But then I thought it would be more effective if I off-set them somehow. First I had to find the centre of the round circle of the cable and the centre of the little straight section. Row 10 is the centre row of the 7 rows in the round circle and Row 2 is the centre of the 3 rows between the small crosses.

Now to line the centres up.

Oh my, this is perfect. Look at that. The big cable crosses of the circles on both strands line up. On the right cable Row 6 opening the circle and on the left cable Row 14 closing the circle. This is totally going to work.

Here’s my pattern. I’ll repeat these two cables twice and work the Right cable once more for 5 cable strands. Odd numbers rule in this case. Throw in a couple of purl stitches at the beginning, between each cable and at the end and I have a terrific cable panel.

Charts, are they the coolest or what?!

Stay safe. We’re in the covid Red zone as of today so lots of time to sit at home and knit.

Cheers, Deb

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

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