What if … Skew stumbling

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.skew 20180408_091905

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.20180408_083659

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.20180424_111308

I’m happy with the original idea of the skew which is showing nicely at the bottom of the front.20180424_111411

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,

Deb

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What Would Happen If …

Have you knit several Top Down Raglans? Are you looking at knitting another one and wonder if there is a small change you could make that would make it new again? I was thinking the same thought.20180408_083659

Continue reading “What Would Happen If …”

Pick A Body Shape

Waist & hip shaping (2)What is your favourite sweater shape? I believe that sweaters need a curve to make us look our best. If you knit from the Top Down you get to choose the curve you want to put in your sweater.

You can work this typical Waist Shaping. Decreases are worked to nip the waist in and then increases are worked back to your original number of body stitches.

 

You can add Hip Shaping. Work decreases to take the waist in, work increases back to the original number of body stitches and then work some more increases to add extra width to the hip for more wiggle room. This is my go-to for any fitted sweater.

 

 

This is one of my favourites for a casual sweater, Hip Only Shaping. Work straight down to the waist and then work increases for extra hip width. If you are hippy this is wonderful because, for once, your hips work for you and give this shaping a terrific curve with very little effort.

 

Have you worked an A-line? These are very flattering and create a great curve. They do have to be the correct length and width to be effective. A small amount of A-line shaping can be worked into a shorter hip length garment. A lot and I mean lots, of extra width can be worked into a tunic length sweater. They can really swing. Did I mention that they are wonderfully comfortable to wear?

 

Do you have a favourite? Is there one of these shapes you’d love to try?

Thanks for reading,

Deb

ANY GAUGE and GAUGE-FREE patterns by Deb

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4 Top Down Advantages

I’ve been knitting Top Down for many years and I’m probably never going back to bottom up garments. OK, never say never because it could happen, sometime, maybe. Here are several reasons why I love knitting Top Down:

1. The Body length of the sweater is in your control. If your sweater is the correct length you might find that you wear it more often. Are you short like me or tall (I wish)? Do you find that your sweaters look best if they are a certain length? When you knit from the top, you get to choose. You can make your sweater the length you want whether the pattern was written for that particular length or not.

simple circ yoke
Simple Circular Yoke

 

2.  Sleeve Length is also yours to determine. I have worked with taller people who actually wanted the long sleeve of their sweater to be shorter than I would wear them. This totally shocked me. Apparently I like my sleeves quite long.

DSC04908xwebRGB

 

3.  You can try your sweater on many, many times. Put half the stitches onto another long circular needle. The circular needle can be the same size you are knitting with or a smaller size. This gives you room to spread the stitches out around your body to give you an indication of the size. I often try my sweaters on about 6 times during the knitting. I want all the lengths to be right. Of course I’m sure every time that I have knit it to the correct length only to find that I still need to work a couple more rounds. How come they always look longer on the needles? I thought I was much further along on this sweater!

20180316_093214
Take It From The Top KAL

4.  You can put all the shaping exactly where you need it. Not that you can’t when you knit from the bottom up but you have plan quite a bit ahead of time. A top down sweater can be shaped as you work. You can put it on after the Great Divide to check where the bust shaping should start. As you work down the body you can see where your waist is and where to begin the hip shaping. When you are past your elbow you can put your arm through the sleeve and measure how much further you have to knit to the exact sleeve length you desire.waist shaping I

Knitting to your unique figure is easier when you can alter the pattern as you work. Being able to try it is a huge plus.

Thanks for reading,

Deb

ANY GAUGE and GAUGE-FREE patterns by Deb

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Raglan Increases 5 ways

There are so many ways to work every possible technique in knitting that you could, if you are adventurous, view a knitting pattern as a guide rather than written in stone. The ability to substitute different techniques to get a slightly different look means that many more patterns are available for you to use to get the exact garment you had in mind. This also, by the way, could save you quite a bit of time when choosing patterns.

If you are knitting a raglan pullover or cardigan here are 5 ways to work the increases that make the distinctive raglan lines. Do you want decorative holes, small holes or no holes at all? Keep in mind that an increase that is easy for you to work also makes the sweater a happier knit.

Continue reading “Raglan Increases 5 ways”

Bust Shaping with Twin Stitches

The best part of writing a book for me, is discovery. There is always something that I learn that makes the book special. It may be a small detail that you, the knitter, might  never notice. It might be one pattern that was especially interesting to develop that is the highlight. It won’t necessarily be the most popular pattern in the book but it will be special to me.

In the Need A Circular Yoke book I had an “aha” moment. We, Elizabeth Fallone and I, discovered that the short row system using Twin Stitches which is usually used to turn the heel of a sock, could be used to raise the back of the neck. That’s not the moment though. I also discovered that it could be used in a different way to shape the bust. Short Rows can be used for bust shaping to make the Front longer to compensate for a larger bust, that’s not new. We didn’t do that. We didn’t use the short rows themselves. We used the Twin Stitches from the short row system to widen the Front so there would be less pull-up on the sweater.NACY bust dart w arrow

Imagine if you could accurately position the bust shaping. You want to work increases to  widen the Front of your sweater so that the fabric is at its widest just above the widest line across your bust. I work from the Top Down so I am always trying to position the beginning point of the bust dart the correct distance from the underarm of my sweater. Not too high above my bust line and I definitely do not want to start the dart too low and run out of room.Bust shaping w twin stitches

The twin stitches allow you to work an increase every round. In knitting, we don’t have very many increases that work well when worked every round so this was a find. When you can work an increase every round you can know accurately how much vertical room these increases will need.

Working with worsted weight yarn (because the math is easy) let’s say you want to add 3″/7.5cm to the front of your sweater. That would be about 8 stitches on each side of the Front for a total of 16 sts added to the front. Your row count for worsted weight yarn is 7 rows = 1″/2.5cm so working 8 increases over 8 rounds would take just a smidge over 1″/2.5cm (1.14″/3cm to be exact). Ta, da. Start your twin stitch increases just an inch and a bit above the widest part of your bust.NACY bust dart

What is a Twin Stitch? It’s a “Knit in the Row Below” stitch where you hold onto the loop you made in the row below and use it as an increase. You do not pull off the original stitch on your left needle (the stitch you knit into the row below of). Wow, that’s really confusing. It’s much clearer on my video. Check it out.

Here’s the link for  Twin Stitches for Bust Shaping on a Top Down Pullover  as used in the Need A Circular Yoke book by Cabin Fever where we made the Front of these pullovers 2″/5cm wider than the back.NACY cover

Have you used this system? Did it work for you?

Thanks for reading,

Deb

ANY GAUGE and GAUGE-FREE patterns by Deb

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Vertical Darts Top Down

The holidays are over. Is it time for you now? Are you knitting a sweater for yourself? It’s a long winter. I’ve got a couple started because, as you know, that’s the most exciting part.

If it’s a sweater for yourself how much bust shaping would you like to add to a pattern that doesn’t include any?

Adding a couple of inches to the bust on a Top Down sweater is fairly straight forward. But what if you wanted to add more than 2″ in total across the bustline? Could you start your bust increases in the Yoke while still working the raglan increases and then continue them down into the body? Vertical Darts work from the Bottom Up, why not from the Top Down?

Since I raised this question I decided I had to try it out. I started working the bust shaping increases when I still had 8 rounds left to work in the Yoke. This is the same strategy as the Top Down Easy Bust Darts but this time the bust increases are worked in a vertical line away from the raglan line. The vertical line of increases will allow me to continue to work bust increases until I have reached the largest point of my bust. (This schematic is an approximation – the raglan and bust increases are worked in the same round – dots on the schematic make it look like the bust increases are worked more often, they are not.)

Bust shaping Top Down increases showing high bust

I worked a raglan increase and a bust increase on each side of the Front for the last 4 Increase Rounds before I divided for the underarm. After the Divide I continued to work the bust increases 4 more times for a total of 8 increases on each side of the front giving me 3″ of extra width.bust shaping in yoke

My main concern was what would show.019

While the increase line is visible it is not so noticeable when I’m wearing the sweater (or when my best girl is wearing it) and the extra room is well worth the effort.021

This was easier to do than I expected. It shows but only as a dart which is acceptable. I got quite a bit more bust room because of it. I’m really happy with the result.

How about you? Could you add this into a Top Down raglan?

Thanks for reading. Cheers,

Deb

More reading on Top Down Bust Shaping:

Do I Need Bust Darts?

7 Reasons to Double Up the Increases for Bust Shaping

How Do You Want Your Sweater to Fit?

Bust Dart, Top Down

ANY GAUGE and GAUGE-FREE patterns by Deb

Cabin Fever No-Sew patterns

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Knit to Fit: Bust Dart, Top Down

Let’s get back to my first love, Top Down knitting. One of the things I like best about knitting from the top is that everything does not have to be planned ahead of time. I will decide that I am going to add bust shaping to widen the front of my sweater. As I approach the bottom of the Yoke I can think about how I might do the bust shaping since it can be done in several different ways.

One method to use is Easy Bust Shaping , working the bust shaping into the last couple of inches of the Yoke, above the underarm.

Here is a second method, a Bust Dart. The bust shaping occurs just where you need it, in the couple of inches between the underarm and the largest part of your bust.

NAPC Bust shaping (559x640)

I introduced this method in the Need A Plus Cardigan book where the Front of the cardigans are set up to be 3″ wider than the back. Two inches were added through the bust darts and the third inch in the buttonbands. The extra width is incorporated into the final sizing of all the cardigans.

NAPC Cover

Set up a Bust Marker on each side of the Front and work increases every other round.Bust shaping Top Down increases showing

bust shaping

Could you add more than 1″ worth of stitches? It depends on how much vertical room you have between the underarm and the largest part of your bust.Bust shaping Top Down vertical

Your bra matters here! Put on your best figure enhancing bra and measure. Since you are working an increase every other row you need to check the number of rows you can fit into this vertical distance. You may be able to sneak in a couple more increases. I usually do.

DSC00875
Me, wearing a Lace Panel cardigan from Need A Plus Cardigan book.

Could this method work for you?

Thanks for reading,

Deb

ANY GAUGE and GAUGE-FREE patterns by Deb

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Knit to Fit: How Do You Want Your Sweater to Fit?

In your closet you might have casual clothes, fitted clothes and fancy dress clothes. Or you might be like me. In my closet I have casual clothes, old shabby clothes and more casual clothes. I’m assuming you might be a little more upscale than I am.

Casual clothes fit differently than fitted or dressy clothes. You also have a very personal way you like your clothes to fit you: close fitting, relaxed fit, over-sized fit (they still fit even though the fit is looser).

How you want your sweaters to fit?

A close fitting sweater is meant to hug your curves. At the bust this sweater will probably have negative ease (the sweater is slightly smaller than your measurement around your bust). It will have an inch or two of ease at the waist and will be shaped to the hips with minimal ease. This requires that you work both waist and hip shaping and if you are on the busty side, bust darts.Body schematic close fit

I have one of these fitted sweaters and wear it sometimes (read that to means only in a class demonstration to show this kind of fit). If you can wear close fitting sweaters go for it. They are beautiful sweaters.

I wear relaxed fit clothes which have a little more ease but still have a curve in them to represent the waist and have lots of wiggle room in the hips. They still follow the shape of the body, just a little distance from it. Generally the amount of ease is that same over all your curves, with possibly a little less ease at the bust.Body schematic relaxed fit

Then there is A-line shaping or over-sized sweaters. These are comfy, easy to wear garments. They can still look fantastic, especially if the bust fits closer to the body. To finesse them you can decrease a little bit under the bust before you begin working increases for the A-line shaping.  This gives this style of sweater a nice curve.Body schematic oversize fit A-lineI especially love this style of sweater.

Thanks for reading,

Deb

ANY GAUGE and GAUGE-FREE patternsby Deb

Cabin Fever No-Sew patterns

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Knit to Fit: 7 Reasons to Double Up the Increases for Bust Shaping

One of the easiest ways to work some extra width on the front of your Top Down Raglan sweater is to work an extra increase beside the regular Raglan increase on both sides of the Front. In the last couple of inches at the bottom of the yoke you can work the EASY BUST SHAPING .Bust shaping Yoke increases Body schematic working EASY

You can add up to about 3″/8cm to the Front this way. Bust shaping Yoke increases Body schematic direction of knitting

I was asked if there were specific circumstances where you would use this method.

  1.  It’s a very straight forward way to add width to the front of your sweater without affecting the upper yoke and neckline.
  2. It’s easy to add these extra increases into any Top Down Raglan sweater pattern that doesn’t have extra width already written in.
  3. A couple of extra inches on the front really helps to alleviate button gap on your cardigan. If you wear your cardigans buttoned up, positive ease at the bust is a necessity. I cringe every time I see button gaping on a cardigan in a magazine.
  4. Nothing shows. No one can see the extra increases since they are almost in your armpit.
  5. Working the increases above the underarm works really well for a bust that is high. More traditional bust darts may be too low when they begin below the underarm.
  6. One of the best reasons is for the well endowed. The Doubling Up of Increases method can be used in conjunction with more traditional styles of bust darts. A couple of inches added at the bottom of the yoke (just above the underarm) plus bust darts in the bust area itself can add 4-6″ extra width at the bust if needed.
  7. If you have a stitch pattern on your sweater, bust darts may interfere. This method can be added where you are already working the raglan lines so they are less likely to interfere.

Could you do a little bust shaping on your next Top Down using the Easy Bust Shaping method?

Thanks for reading,

Deb

ANY GAUGE and GAUGE-FREE patterns by Deb

Cabin Fever No-Sew patterns

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