Gauge-Free Back of Neck

The Back of Neck is an important measurement. I’m sure you know what your favourite Back of Neck width is, No? Go and measure some sweaters. I’ll wait here ….. well, what did you find?

I bet you found that you wear not one but several different neck styles with different widths for the Back of Neck. Me too. Wider for the summer and narrower and cozier for the winter. I’m sure you like to wear some better than others. Maybe the neck width has something to do with that.

To knit this Gauge-Free sweater you get to choose. You are the boss of this knitting.20200120_164454 - Copy

The Beginning Triangle sets up your Back of Neck measurement to whatever you feel like making it for yourself. Then you knit a long strip the length of the cardigan.

Build a V child blank schematic - shaded back panel

But I can’t seem to leave it alone. So for the adult versions I added a 2 stitch I-cord to each side edge. That gives you 2 stitches of stockinette stitch at the edges of the garter stitch. I  think the I-Cord edging looks so neat and tidy. It also holds the garter stitch from stretching when you have a narrow strip of knitting that is at least 20″/51cm long. 

The other change I made from the child version,Build a V, to the adult version is to give the bottom of the Back Panel strip a rounded bottom. The child version has a nice pointy bottom edge, fine for kids, not so wonderful for adults. I didn’t want an arrow pointing to my butt.   

I made it rounded by working the centre increases further and further apart as the strip is knit. It makes the knitting go quickly when there is something to concentrate on. That seemed like a good idea at the time too. 20200128_092409 - Copy

So now the Back Panels are done for all three of my cardigans. Now onto the Front Panels. My testknitters are also hard at work. But that’s another story.

Thanks for reading. I have to get back to my knitting so see you next time,

Deb

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Start Small and Gauge-Free

This Gauge-Free Build a V sweater business is a new and exciting idea for me. Being able to dive into my stash and not worry about matching a specific gauge is wonderfully freeing.

I am going to begin with something small. It’s always easier to figure things out on a little sweater, no large time or yarn investment. I’m way ahead of this blog with my knitting and it’s looking great.

I am knitting a baby-sized Build a V sweater for a 12 month old. I have worked my Triangle Beginning to establish the width at the Back of Neck. That’s where it all starts, at the top of the Back. That’s an important measurement as you know but instead of working with a certain gauge we are going to use a ruler. Yes, a ruler with inches or centimeters on it. How simple and familiar is that?!

Dive into your stash, find some yarn and a pair of needles and knit along if you like. It’s a mystery baby knit. (There will be a published pattern soon.) Oh yeah, did I mention NO GAUGE SWATCH IS NEEDED!!!!

This Triangle Beginning took no time at all and measures 4″/10cm across the top finished edge. Yay. Step one completed. That was really quick.20200125_221643

Now to work a Back Panel. This piece of knitting is the anchor of the cardigan. It determines the total length of the garment.

Build a V back panel CHILD

We’ve established the Back of Neck measurement so now, keeping the stitch numbers the same and maintaining the V shaping that started with the triangle, knit a strip as follows:

Work a decrease at the beginning of the row, work the 2 increases at the centre marker as you did for the beginning triangle and then work a final decrease at the end of the row. Two decreases and two increases keeps the stitch count the same. Knit the wrong side row. Repeat the two rows. Work to the desired length for your cardigan. My 12 month size Back Panel measures 12″/30cm. It’s a l-o-n-g, narrow piece of knitting. Easy to knit once you get going.DSC_0105 (2) - Copy

Then, of course, since you know I get a trifle obsessed, I started 2 adult-sized sweaters because if it works for little people it could work for me too. The triangles are finished but there is more to come. I don’t want my sweaters to have a pointy Back Panel pointing towards my derriere, thank you very much. A change must be made to avoid that.20200205_090228 - Copy

DSC_0072 (2)

I may regret trying to knit three sweaters at the same time but here goes nothing…

Thanks for reading,

Deb

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Gauge-Free Build A ‘V’ Triangle Beginning

We’re not going to make a swatch, YAY. I’m all for that. This is freedom from the tyranny of getting gauge. We are going to be the boss of our knitting!

You can dive into your stash and pick any yarn you like. But … this does change where and how we begin since there are no specific number of stitches in an inch to guide us.

This cardigan is knit in blocks. The first block of the Build a V is a Back Panel the width of the Back of Neck. The Back of Neck is an important measurement in a sweater.

The Specific Gauge pattern Baby J begins in the same way, with the neckband.baby-j-420-640x429-1

That would be my preferred place to begin most of the time too. Because this pattern is worked for DK weight yarn there can be a specific number of stitches to cast on for each size.neckband schematic

Then the Back of Neck number of stitches is determined.Back of Neck on neckband

And a Back Panel is knit with that number of stitches.

All that works a treat.

But when you want to knit it Gauge-Free there are no specific stitch counts. We can’t begin with the neckband because we don’t know how many stitches to cast on. We have to think of another way of determining the Back of Neck width.

We can begin with a triangle. It works just like a triangle shawl. Cast on a few stitches and work 4 increases by working one increase at the beginning of the row, one increase before and one after the centre marker and another increase at the end of the row, followed by a knit row. Work until the finished edge is the width you want for the Back of Neck.

back of neck triangle

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The marker is there to indicate the Right Side of my fabric. This is a 12 month size with a Back of Neck measurement of 4″/10cm.
That’s not hard, right? And so it begins.

Thanks for reading,

Deb

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A New Knit for Little People

Want to try something new, maybe experiment a little (otherwise known as designing)? Why not try it on a little person sweater first. They’re quick and little people are generally not too fussy as long as you choose the right colour.

Karen asked me about adding a stitch pattern to the raglan lines since she wanted to try it herself. I dug around in my UFO pile of experiments and found something I had started. I don’t even know when. Not finished, imagine that!

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And now it is. It’s in two colours because I didn’t have any more of the original colour dye lot (shh, don’t tell).

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Railroad Top Down on ravelry

The garter stitch raglan lines go down the sides of the Body on the Front …

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and the Back.

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With all this extra patterning, the body knit up in a flash. I’ve added it to the Cabin Fever ravelry store.

Enjoy and Happy Canada Day,

Deb

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Where to Widen Raglan Lines

So I took a chance and decided to Add A Pattern to the Raglan Lines. It looks amazing. The pattern on the raglan lines are perfect. I’m at the bottom of the yoke. After this row it’s really going to look like a sweater and I’m excited. Then it happens, as I put my sleeve stitches on spare yarn I realize my lovely raglan line pattern is half on the sleeve and half on the body and not what I intended. My raglan line pattern is ruined!

Yes, it’s happened to me too. The first time it’s hard to envision the entire process. A little time thinking ahead would have saved me some grief.

Don’t get surprised when you do the Great Divide (separating the Sleeves and Body). Look ahead to the bottom of the Yoke. Where do you want the pattern you’ve added to the raglan lines to end up? Maybe you do want half of it on the Body and half of it on the sleeve. Or do you want the pattern to continue down the sides of the Body?

That’s what I decided to do this time. I wanted to widen the raglan lines so that when I reached the bottom of the yoke and put my sleeve stitches on spare yarn, I would have the raglan patterned stitches on the Fronts and Back.

To do this, at the top of the yoke arrange the raglan lines placing a new raglan marker the number of stitches for the pattern away from the stitches for the sleeve, towards the Front and Back of the yoke.

move raglan lines

The dark lines are where the original Raglan Markers are. Then place a second marker at each raglan line towards the Front and Back, in this case moved over by 5 stitches.

When I place my sleeve stitches on spare yarn at the bottom of the yoke my raglan patterned stitches will remain with the Body.

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Now I can continue down the Body with a nice little pattern down the sides. This is a child-sized sweater so there are no underarm cast on stitches to consider.

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If this was an adult size there would be underarm stitches separating the two sets of  garter stitch patterns. More thinking might be required. I’ll leave that to you. Now I need to get going to finish the Body.

Cheers,

Deb

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Adding a Pattern to Raglan Lines

K. asked if it was possible to add a pattern in the raglan lines just as I did with the underarm stitches in What to Do with All That Stockinette. She had knit a sweater with patterned raglan lines but didn’t feel she could do it on her own.

Of course you could. Start with something simple and not too wide. I dug around my UFO projects and found one I had started.DSC_0543

Here’s how. Cast On at the top according to the pattern. Stop at the Marker Round (in the round where you are going to place the raglan markers). Do Not knit this round yet. Count across the stitches on your needle and with removable markers, place the markers as the pattern specifies. In the original pattern the marker for the raglan line would have been set up to be worked like this:raglan line

The set up would be to have one knit stitch before the marker and one knit stitch after the marker. The increases would be worked on either side of these 2 knit stitches. The Increase Row would read: Knit to 1 stitch before Raglan Marker, YO, K1, slip Raglan Marker, K1, YO.

Now get 4 more markers and move the markers so there will be more stitches at the raglan lines. I like to keep these knit stitches, YO, K1, marker, … extra sts…, marker, K1, YO in place since it makes reading the pattern easier to follow.

Decide how wide you want the new raglan lines to be. My Raglan Markers are 5 sts apart.DSC_0539

Now the Increase Row at each raglan line will read as:  Knit to 1 stitch before first Raglan Marker, YO, K1, slip marker, Knit 5 stitches, slip Second Raglan Marker, K1, YO. The increase set up is still the same. The only change is now there are several stitches between the 2 increase stitches at each raglan line.

You can put any number of stitches here depending on how many stitches you have in the Front, sleeve, Back sleeve and Front.DSC_0543

This is a really simple example and I’m sure you can improve on it.

Here is an excellent example of another simple idea where just making the raglan lines wider and staying with stockinette stitch still makes the Sunshine Coast pullover by Heidi Kirrmaier look fantastic.

Top Down Sunshine Coast Heidi Kirrmaier

Are you going to give this a try?

Deb

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Place Sleeves for Any Gauge Raglans

When you knit a Top Down sweater, you choose the size using your bust measurement. Do the sleeves always fit? They quite often don’t for me.

I think I have solved this problem in the Any Gauge Raglan sweater series. I’m very excited to present the first one. This is a recipe style pattern where you do some math and work according to your own gauge. Tight knitter, loose knitter, it doesn’t matter. Your particular gauge matters.

I’ve started the Any Gauge Raglan series with a baby sizes, Newborn to 4 year old size:  Any Gauge Raglan Baby

What prompted this idea? As a designer, I would usually choose a set of sizes for the Body and Sleeves for each pattern. I would look at the set of sizes and work out the number of stitches needed for the Front, Back and Sleeves at the Bottom of the Yoke. Then I would work backwards up to the neckline to decide on the number of stitches for the neckline for all the sizes. The finished sleeve size dictates how wide the top of the shoulder is at the neckline.

But what if I want a particular shape of neckline? In this case I wanted a rectangular neck opening with a wide shoulder.

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The size of the shoulders on these neck openings is wide so that there is a drop down the front and back of the neck. After working all the yoke increases the sleeve may not be the proper size for the sleeve you need.  Oh, no, what to do?

What if … we used the Raglan lines as a guide only? What if … your actual sleeve needed could be wider or narrower than the Raglan Markers indicate? I mean, really, are the Raglan Markers set in stone?

I made a video to explain:  Place Sleeves on Any Gauge Raglans

This takes a particular set up which I am working on in the Any Gauge Raglan sweater series. I’m very excited to present the Any Gauge Raglan Baby/Toddler Pullover.

Use ANY YARN you want. Go ahead, dive into your stash and pick the perfect colour in any weight of yarn you have. Cast On and knit any size up to 4 years old.

What do you think of this idea? All comments, questions and photos are welcome. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

Thanks for reading,

Deb

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