Finishing up. Do you love it or hate it? The sewing in of the ends, the picking up of the neckband, washing and blocking, all of it.
I procrastinate. The time between finishing the actually knitting and finishing it up is usually a long time. I started this sweater in September, blush. But look at me now, I am finishing it up.
This was one of the early prototypes for the Any Gauge Raglan Adult and the drop at the shoulders was not as deep as I might like it. I lengthened it on the next sweater but right now I certainly don’t want the shoulder drop to be any shorter than it is.
The pattern calls for me to use a smaller sized needle, pick up for the neckband and then, since the neck opening is quite wide, to work an even decrease around the entire neckband, taking the whole thing in.
Who is in charge of this neckband? ME. That’s right, I’m the boss here. So, smaller needle, check. Pick up and knit stitches, check. Decrease Round, hmmm.
The neckband does need to be smaller so I decided that I need to decrease across the Front and Back only and leave the shoulder stitches as they are. Across the Front and Back I decreased 20% of the stitches and knit across the shoulders.
Yes, that brought my neckband in for a smaller neck opening and left my shoulder drop as long as I could. Finish knitting the ribbing and I’m done.
The boss was right. I’m counting this as a success!!
The Any Gauge Raglans begin with the cast on of a large neck opening. It will seem really big. For the Baby sizes it’s 18″ around. For the Kid’s sizes it’s 24″ and for the Adult sizes the neck opening is 30″ around. The Neckband is knit last. There are a couple of good reasons for this. At least I think they’re good reasons.
You can use ANY YARN for these Any Gauge Raglans. You can cast on with your best guess at gauge. Use the gauge indicated on the ball band if you know you’re usually close to gauge, close is good enough to get started. This large neck opening gives you lots of space to be a little tight or a little loose. No swatch, No problem. The adjustment for the final neck size is done later.
The Neckband is worked with a much smaller needle. The smaller needle will make the neck opening about 2″ smaller right away. Then, depending on how much smaller you need the opening to be, you can work a decrease round to pull the Neckband in an extra 5%, 10% or 20%. You can make the Neckband the size you desire.
BONUS – You can delay having to decide which stitch pattern you’re going to use to finish your sweater Neckband, Bottom Border and Cuffs. You may have a solid idea of what you want your final sweater to look like when you begin but when you see the Body finished you may have a new idea. Delaying the decision also gives you something to look forward to which I especially like. No need to decide everything all at once at the beginning.
I had a bag of chunky yarn, only 2 balls of each colour. No problem. I can work out something as I go so let’s cast on right now. As I progressed down the yoke I made decisions for when to start the second colour. This is a 6 year old size using 300g of yarn.
The Any Gauge Raglan Kid’s pattern is now available on ravelry. Do you have someone between the ages of 4 and 12 who could use a pullover? Dive into your stash now.
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.
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?
Lace knitting involves lots of awkwardness and sometimes you have to work to make it as pleasant as you can. There is a chart to read and if you screw up there you’re in deep trouble, yarn overs which can be easy to miss and decreases where the slant is important and needs to be kept track of. Lace knitting is beautiful, the more complex, the more beautiful. It’s hard to resist.
Can we remove some of the pitfalls? Knitting Techy Talk begins here.
First of all you need Markers. In the body of this lace sweater I was working 20 repeats of the pattern. Without markers I could make a mistake in the second repeat and not realize until I didn’t have the correct number of stitches at the end of the round. That would be the end of lace knitting for me, right there, that round. The knitting would be winging it’s way across the room as the air turned blue. I did that with my first lace project. I have learned a few things since then: Use Markers.
With markers after every 10 stitch repeat, how far wrong could I go? Believe me I corrected quite a few errors within those 10 stitch repeats as I was knitting this top but I didn’t have to rip rounds back. (OK, I admit there was that one section I had to rip back but I was already so far down that I didn’t mind doing it.)
Unfortunately, for this stitch pattern the markers created a problem. Sometimes you just can’t win.
The Double Decreases (the inverted V) at the end of the repeats are the problem. Once the markers are placed the Double Decreases used in this pattern are awkward to work. The 3 stitches involved in this decrease are numbered on the chart and you can see that the Marker is between stitch #2 & stitch#3. There lies the problem.
This pattern uses this Double Decrease: Slip 1 stitch knitwise, knit 2 stitches together, pass slipped stitch over. Easy enough until … you add in markers for each repeat.
This is really how it works: slip stitch#1 knitwise, slip stitch#2 purlwise, Remove the Marker, Replace slipped stitch#2 back onto the Left needle, knit 2 sts together (sts #2 & #3), pass first slipped stitch over and Replace the Marker. AWKWARD.
I decided there needed to be a change. You’re allowed, I’m allowed, we’re all allowed to mess with patterns. I changed that Double Decrease to a Center Post Double Decrease.
Center Post Double Decrease: Slip 2 stitches together knitwise (sts #1 & #2), knit 1 stitch (st#3), pass 2 slipped stitches over.
With the markers in place this really works as: Slip 2 stitches together knitwise, Remove Marker, knit 1 stitch, pass 2 slipped stitches over, Replace Marker. DONE.
Yes, it looks different but the ease of knitting made it totally worth the change.
Do you have a favourite shawl stitch pattern that you love? Have you ever wondered if it could be used to jazz up a raglan pullover? Could you work with a plain sweater pattern and make it your very own design? That is just what I’m trying now.
I have a reliable Top Down straight-necked Raglan pattern which I will be publishing in the new year. I’m knitting a lace version to wear to the upcoming wedding.
I’m using a couple of triangle shawl stitch patterns from the Knitting Lace Triangles book by Evelyn A. Clark. I have knit the pattern for the Leaf Shawl by Evelyn A. Clark several times already and I know it is perfect for this.
A triangle shawl knit from the top down is actually two triangles with a centre stitch between them.
Each triangle has two increases worked every other row. One increase at the beginning edge and another increase at the far side of the triangle.
Does this sound familiar? Yes, a raglan Front for instance, has an increase worked at the beginning and outside edge, every other round. The sleeve works the same way. Could this work?
Start your shawl pattern part way down the chart so that the stitch count fits into the stitch numbers for the section of the raglan pullover where you wish to place it. You may have to adjust your stitch numbers to accommodate the stitch pattern.
Here is my sleeve at the divide. I’m working the Leaf pattern from the Knitting Lace Triangles book by Evelyn A. Clark.
I also worked it on the Front and Back with two more repeats of the pattern.
OK, call me a knitting overachiever, I then transitioned into the Medallion pattern which will continue to the bottom of the sweater. It’s an exciting knit.
Do you have a favourite shawl stitch pattern? Would you like to be using it in a sweater?
On your next raglan which you don’t want to be a raglan, you could try this:
Yes, you could.
I’ve written a new pattern based on this idea called Kid’s Diamond Pullover where I moved the markers from the standard raglan set up to new positions. I still worked the same number of increases every other round. Moving the markers changes the shape of the neckline and this set up will give you a slight V in the front and back of the neckline with no trouble at all.
Here is the standard raglan set up with 4 markers for the raglan lines and increases worked on either side of these markers. The 4 markers are set between the sections of this sweater: Front, marker, sleeve, marker, Back, marker, sleeve, marker, second Front.
So what would happen if we just placed the 4 markers equidistant from each other in a pullover? There are still the same 4 markers where you will work a pair of increases every other round. The stitch numbers will work out the same. It’s actually not too much of a leap is it?
Sometimes an idea comes into your head fully formed and all that is needed is execution. It could be a variation on a recipe, a knitting pattern, a paint colour scheme, a new way to wear an outfit, an idea for your garden or something totally other. And sometimes upon execution, as hiccups develop, comes the realization that the idea was not as fully formed as you thought. Do you give up? Do you persevere?
This is happening with my Skew design and I am persevering because I am still excited about the original idea.
I started with the idea of moving one of the raglan increases over and working a stitch pattern into the space.
My first little sweater had some problems. The ribbed stitch pattern was causing the front to pull against the buttonband. It would have to be buttoned up all the time to keep the front edges lined up.
So I changed the ribbing to a broken rib (garter stitches between the twisted cables). Then I realized that the cable pattern had to be more prominent to stand up against the garter stitches. So that got changed too. A couple of hitches fixed up to my satisfaction.
I’m happy with the original idea of the skew which is showing nicely at the bottom of the front.
Almost there. This sweater needs a lighter colour to show the pattern well for photography so the next sweater will be light blue, pink, cream, oatmeal?? That’s my project this week.
I hope all your hiccups are minor and easily solved. Happy knitting this week,