Under the Bust Shaping

Is it too early to think about knitting garments? Too late, I’ve already started but I don’t want to repeat this …

The cardigan is finished. I’m so excited as a stand in front of the wall of buttons at the Fabricland store trying to choose the perfect buttons. These ones, no maybe these ones. I’ve decided on the blue ones (ha, almost always). I’m rushing home to sew them on. Oh, it looks gorgeous. I’m patting myself on the back as I put it on and stand in front of the mirror.

I tug it a little, tug a little more and get that horrible feeling as my heart drops down to my toes.

I have that horrible buttonband gaping. Can I wear it without buttoning it up? Maybe, I guess I could but I really like 3 or 4 buttons done up.

That was several years ago before I realized that I had to have some extra width right here.

Body schematic bust shaping Top DownNow as a confirmed cardigan buttoner I add extra Front stitches for Bust Shaping to every cardigan. Then I have extra width just where you need it.Bust shaping Yoke increases Body schematic direction of knittingBut now what? What do you do with those extra stitches below the bust?

This is my current cardigan. I decided to knit this Top Down to my regular Finished size, including the ease, and then add even more additional width above my bust. I don’t want that unsightly buttonband gap that seems to show up in so many magazine photos. Negative ease on a cardigan across the bust is a mistake.

 

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Now I’m cruising down the body with the extra width across the bust. Decision time, do I want these extra stitches to remain on the front for the entire body? Sometimes the answer is yes and sometimes no.

This time it’s no. I’m going to decrease those extra bust stitches away so that my two Fronts and the Back are in their original proportion: 2 Front sts added together = Back sts.

Techy Talk:

I worked straight until I had knit just past the largest part of my bust. For me that’s 4″ measured down from the underarm cast on.

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This time I decided to decrease the extra bust stitches or most of them anyway, worked along with some waist shaping. So here goes.

On a Right Side row I’m going to decrease on the front side of the imaginary side seam on both Fronts (that will decrease an extra bust stitch on each Front). Then work a couple of rows and decrease on both the Front and Back sides of the side seams (waist shaping). Knit a couple of rows and repeat.

Underbust decreases bust and waist

underbust decreases with 3x3 sweater

I worked this repeat quite quickly with only a couple rows in between the sets of decreases. I’m very short and I needed to start the A-line shaping for my hips pretty sharpish to get the width I needed there. If you are tall, first of all I’m envious, and second you can space these sets of decreases further apart so that you work them down to your waist. It will look terrific.

Cruising to the bottom edge now. Yay. Sleeves here I come.

Thanks for reading,

Deb

Any Gauge patterns by Deb

Cabin Fever pattterns and Books

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

Deb Gemmell Any Gauge patterns

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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

Any Gauge Patterns by Deb Gemmell

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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What to do with All That Stockinette Stitch

“All that stockinette stitch!” Yes I’m afraid so. Knitting Top Down can involve a lot of stockinette stitch once the excitement of the Yoke is done. What do you do to amuse yourself while you get all that knitting done?

Here is what I’m doing right now. I’m working a stitch pattern down the sides of the body across the underarm cast on stitches.

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These are Right Twist stitches which are 2 stitch cables worked without a cable needle.  Every 4th round I’m working: P1, work [P1, Twist Right] repeating to last 2 sts, P2. (Twist Right: K2tog and then without taking the stitches off the needle, knit into the first stitch, remove stitches.) This is keeping me engaged as I work down the body.

You could add anything here. Whatever it takes to give you something to keep track of and look forward to knitting. Knit, knit, knit, oh boy it’s the pattern, knit, knit, knit. Yeah, OK, it’s a little hokey but it does make all that body knitting move along quickly.

I realized, as I looked through my Cabin Fever designs, that I have been doing this for some time. The Side Pattern Vest (top down) was the first. There is a lovely lace panel down each side. That will keep you on your toes.

Side Panel Vest V-neck (2) - Copy

You could add a 2×2 rib down the sides. That works for this Child’s Ribbed Sleeve pullover.

Child's Ribbed Sleeve

I put one of my favourite stitch patterns in the Squiggle Lace Top . The Squiggle Lace pattern is based on a 2×2 rib where every other round you alternate between [P2tog, YO] and [YO, P2tog] worked in the P2 section of the rib. I’ve used variations of this pattern several times. Here I worked it over the underarm cast on stitches and even worked all the A-line shaping increases into the stitch pattern. Now that definitely gives you something to concentrate on.

Squiggle Lace Top

squiggle lace side

You are the boss of your knitting. Make it fun.

Thanks for reading,

Deb

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Retreat with knitters

The Yarn Over Sleep Over knitting retreat is over for another year. I am still so jazzed I can hardly sit still. Spending time with so many enthusiastic knitters is energizing and so inspiring.

After this weekend there will be several more Any Gauge sweaters in the world. My students were the first to go through the instructions for an Any Gauge Cardigan worked from the Top Down.  They worked on a 1/5 scale model using their personal measurements. I will be teaching this again next week for Knit Night group. Now I have to get a couple sweaters knit myself so that I can put it out there so you can knit one too.

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In Sunday’s class we tackled a big topic. We took the Nimbus pattern by Berroco Design Team, a bottom-up pattern worked in 6 pieces to be sewn together, and worked out how to knit it without any seams.

Nimbus

We went through the process of knitting it from the Top Down with a Simultaneous Set-In Sleeve, based on Barbara G. Walker’s book Knitting from the Top Down.

Barbara Walker Knitting from the Top Down

The Set-In Sleeve is worked as part of the Yoke. No seams. Here’s the Top Down version of the Nimbus that I knit as a sample.

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I still have some fine tuning to do on this idea but the Set-In Sleeve worked really, really  well. I am very excited about this whole idea. I will never, ever, sew in a set-in sleeve again. It was a terrific class and my students hung in there with me to the end. This was a very new and challenging concept to take in over a 2 1/2 hour class.

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Now I have a couple more ideas for my classes next year. I can hardly wait.

But first, I get to teach at a couple more retreats. If you are a Northern knitter I am running a retreat in Algoma Mills, half way between Sudbury and  Sault Ste. Marie, ON on May 3-5, 2019. At “Knitting at Lake Lauzon” we are going to knit a sweater for ourselves using our very own measurements. After two full days of knitting we will all have a sweater starting at the Top and worked down past the underarms and will be on our way to a great fitting sweater.

On the last weekend in October, 2019 at the Cabin Fever Retreat we will be working on shawls. We will be presenting the basic concepts for 3 different shapes: the triangle shawl, the crescent-shaped shawl and the asymmetric shawl. Each student will pick one shape and get started. We will be tackling that mysterious sentence “incorporate the increases into your stitch pattern”. The students will go home with a firm understanding and some practice adding stitch patterns to their shawls. We’re going DEEP.

Lots of exciting classes coming up.

Thanks for reading,

Deb

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Ease, get the fit you want

I did a talk at a knitting guild last month based on the Any Gauge Raglan. I took them through the entire process from diving into their stash and casting on to figuring out how to get the Bottom of the Yoke to fit their unique body.

In the knitting industry we use the actual measurement of your bust (using a tape measure) + Ease to determine the final size of your sweater. One measurement. I know, it seems crazy. Obviously this one measurement cannot tell the whole story of your figure.

So I had everyone measure their Bust and their Arms. Almost no one had ever measured their arms. It’s important for your sleeves to fit as well as your body. I find that I need a slightly bigger sleeve than most patterns are allowing me for my bust size. I know from talking to many plus sized women that if they are busty the sleeves are often too big for them. Maybe you have found you can’t get both the bust and the sleeves to fit perfectly.

Body Measurement Workshop schematic

I have a solution. In the Any Gauge Raglan the raglan increases in the Yoke are worked until you reach the exact number of stitches needed to go around the Actual measurement of your Bust and both your Arms. At the Bottom of the Yoke it has to fit YOU because they are your measurements.

Any Gauge bottom of Yoke schematic

At this point the sweater would fit you like a second skin. If that’s the size of sweater you want you have it right there.

For a more relaxed fit some Ease (the amount your sweater is bigger than your actual body and arms) is added as you work the Divide Round as Underarm Cast On stitches. Again you get to decide how much ease you would like. Do you want a close fit or looser fit?

Close Fit:  Ease = 5% of Actual Bust measurement

Relaxed Fit:  Ease = 10% of Actual Bust measurement

Comfy Fit:  Ease = 15% of Actual Bust measurement

Loose Fit:  Ease = 20% of Actual Bust measurement

As you work the Divide Round half the Ease stitches are cast on at one underarm and the other half of the Ease stitches are cast on at the other underarm. That way the Total Ease you calculated above is added to the Body of your sweater. Ta, da, as simple as that.

The Any Gauge Raglan Yoke is worked to your personal measurements. Then you get to add the amount of Ease you wish for the fit you want.

Thanks for reading,

Deb

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