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

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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

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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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Raglan, No Pooling

Here we go. I’ve taken apart a sweater I don’t wear, reconditioned the wool and now I’m going to get started on a new pullover. I hope to avoid colour pooling this time.

I’m working my Any Gauge Raglan Pullover pattern with a gauge of 5 sts = 1″. This wool has a lot of colour variation in every ball so … I’m going to knit it with 5 balls at the same time!!!

Yes, 5 balls, count ’em.

OK, OK, I didn’t start with 5. I started with one. I cast on all the stitches for the raglan neck opening with ball#1, placing markers as I went.

Then I got 3 more balls out and, working the raglan increases according to the pattern, I knit the Back with ball#1, knit the first shoulder with ball#2, knit the Front with ball#3, knit the second shoulder with ball#4. That takes me back to the beginning of the round. Each section of my raglan is knit with a different ball of wool and my first set of increases have been worked.

Here is where the Helix knitting (in this case, changing the yarn in the same place each time) comes into play. With one more ball, ball#5, I knit the Back to the marker, dropped that wool and slipped the marker. With the next ball, the wool that is sitting right there, I knit across the shoulder to the next marker. Dropped that wool and slipped the marker. Knit across the Front using the wool from the next ball that is sitting there. Slipped the marker and again with the wool that is sitting there, knit the second shoulder to the end of the round.

I know this sounds complicated but the wool you need to use is right there at each marker. You drop the wool you are knitting with, slip the marker and pick up the new wool and knit.

There is, of course, a TRICK. Do Not Twist the wool at each marker. When you approach a marker, take the wool strand you were just using and hold it to the right, slip the marker and pick up the new strand of wool from underneath. It’s not twisted.

Why bother with all this?

Two reasons. Because you don’t twist the wool when changing balls, there is no pull at the raglan lines where the markers are. It’s a smooth transition. Reason Two: THE BALLS DO NOT TANGLE.

How is this possible?

When you knit you are moving the yarn from the left needle to the right needle so the circle of knitting is moving clockwise. That twists the wool like this.

Every couple of rounds, grab your circle of knitting like a steering wheel and turn it counter-clockwise, like you’re making a left turn.

This really works!! I’m a little further along now. This is how the colour is coming out on my knit shoulder. An even distribution of uneven colour.

I’m pretty happy.

Cheers, Deb

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

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Re-working Knits Works

All that knitting and there it sits, a sweater I never wear. After looking at it and putting it on it seemed obvious that with some changes it just might become a sweater I would enjoy wearing. Why not try it? I’m not wearing it anyway so …

This is the one of my Gauge-Free Raglan Pullover samples. I wanted to show it in a heavy wool with a big cable down the centre front and back. It also has a smaller cable down the centre sleeves. So all in all it’s a good design which I never wore.

I made a plan: shorten this pullover and add some more height to the neckband.

gauge-free raglan (3) Mods

Getting started required a bit of cursing. This is mandatory before going into the kitchen to get the scissors. I sewed the tail end in at the bottom of this sweater too well!! Ha, that will teach me. One little snip and a big rip back, around 4 1/2″, with my fingers crossed. It worked. It feels much lighter. I hope it looks cute and jaunty now instead of a big heavy pullover.

gauge-free raglan (4)

Next the neckband. Because it was picked up around the neck opening and worked up, I think this will be a fairly easy fix. I undid the cast off, put the stitches on a smaller needle and worked 3 sets of short rows to raise the back of neck. Because I was only doing a few short rows with big chunky wool, I worked the short row Turns on the Front itself starting just past the Front raglan line. Usually I might start the short row turns at the centre sleeve and work them towards the Front and down into it a little way. But, hey, I’m taking risks anyway so why not up the ante. (That big cable you can see on the right is the centre front.) Thick wool really makes the short rows do their work quickly.

short row gauge-free raglan

Ta, da, here it is. I’m so happy with it now. I had it on yesterday and it feels light and fun.

gauge-free raglan (6)

Now I’m rummaging around my pile of knits to see what other magic I can work. How about you?

Cheers, Deb

Gauge-Free and Any Gauge Patterns by Deb

Cabin Fever No-Sew patterns by Deb & Lyn