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Saturday Morning Hoodie Knit-Along, Part 4: The Nature of a Raglan

February 17th, 2011

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This certainly was a good week for me to work on two sleeves that are both identical and symmetrical.  It is that time of the year I find myself at college swimming meets for my daughter, which gives me time to enjoy watching her swim and also work on a great take-along projects–like sleeves to the Saturday Morning Hoodie!

Whenever I finish knitting the fronts and back for a cardigan, I think about how I can work another part of the sweater before I sew in the sleeves.  If I could have started the hood at home while my sleeves-in-progress were in my knitting bag, I might have done that but…this is a “raglan” sweater, which means that the top edge of the sleeves are part of the neck.  In raglan sweaters, there are no shoulder seams just the diagonal seams that connect the sleeves to the back on one side and a front on the other.  So, I have to complete the sleeves and sew them to the fronts and back before I can work on the hood.

One question I always ask myself when making a sweater is whether the length of the sleeves will be long enough.  I have longer arms than most, and usually I have to add an inch or more to a pattern.  For a cardigan that does have shoulder seams, I have my knitting students (as well as myself) sew up the shoulder seams and try on the sweater before they start the sleeves.  Then we can measure how long the sleeves for their sweater should be.  But for this raglan, there is another easy way to if you need to make the sleeve longer or shorter.  Remember that the reason that raglan sleeves look so long is because they are knitted all the way up to the neck.

If you look at all the schematics for all sizes of the Saturday Morning Hoodie, you can see that the length of the raglan itself is the same on the sleeves, back, and raglan edge of the fronts.  Looking again at all the sizes, I see all the total length of the sleeves are 2″ more than the total length of the back.  So, if you have already made your back the length called for in the pattern, just hold up that back to yourself (as if it were the sleeve) with the top up to the neckline.  When I did this, I could see that a couple more inches in length would be just right – so I kept the sleeves the same length as called for in the pattern.  If you do want to shorten or lengthen the sleeves, then you only have to add or subtract length before you work your raglan shaping.

After I worked the sleeves, I lightly blocked them like my back and fronts and using detachable markers, I have attached one of my sleeves to the front and the back.

I always use markers when sewing up any seams and just work from “marker to marker.”  This makes finishing a little less daunting and I won’t have to worry about one side ending up longer than the other.

I sewed together the stitches that were bound off for the underarms by sewing stitch to stitch as shown below:

But for sewing up the raglans, I use the “mattress stitch” (below), sewing together the “bars” of the stitches.

I also always sew up my raglans with the right side facing me and since I worked my raglan decreases a stitch in from the edge, it makes for a much neater and easier seam to work!

Now, I will just sew in that other sleeve and then I’ll be able to pick up stitches and start the hood!
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  • EmilyVictoria

    I decided to make my hoodie in Homespun, I was hesitant at first, however it has knit up lovely as Homespun usually does, even though it tends to be somewhat difficult to work with. (I have found that using Lion Brand needles make it so much easier.) I have half a sleeve left, and then of course the finishing. I’d just like to know if anyone else has noticed that the pattern uses alot less yarn then called for. I’m knitting the 44″ size and have only used 2 1/2 balls of Homespun.

    • Tracy

      Yes. I have noticed the same thing. I think that we will use much more yarn when we put the finishing band around the entire sweater.

      • Jlorir

        Funny thing, my sister and I were just talking about this earlier tonight. I have my fronts, back, and 1 sleeve done and I haven’t even used a 1/3 of my yarn. We then talked about how with our last crochet along (at a different web-site), we had extra yarn that we returned. Sems that yarn companies have you buy more yarn than what you actually use. This must allow for mistakes and frogging that causes the yarn to b unusable. I have quite a stash of partial skiens that I use for craft projects with my 2nd and 3rd graders at school.

        I am a self taught knitter that is learning a lot with this project and I do enjoy reading the comments in the blog. When I grow up, I want to be Heather and be able to teach knitting and be a moniter of a knitting blog. Thanks Heather for the hints and ideas, along with the pictures to help us as we knit this project.

    • Linda

      Emily, I am using Homespun too and was also hesitant, but…. I love it! I have also found that I am using much less yarn so far. The one thing I did find was that the ribbing seemed very loose using the 11’s and I finally sized down to a 9 and found that to work much better for me. I was wondering how your ribbing is working out.

      • Mill

        I’m also using Homespun, and while I am not as far as you all are, I definitely will have a lot more than I need on hand. I figure if it literally works out to having half of it left, maybe I will make another in a small, for my daughter (either the 11- or the 14-year-old – let’s see who is nicer to me in the next few weeks). :-)

  • Fara

    I am still working on the right front. I work full time and find that I only have an hour or so some evenings. to knit. I am hoping to have the front finished and be able to start on the sleeves this weekend.
    I am working with 2 strands of Bernat worsted and it is working out very nicely.

    • Mill

      6 days ago, and you are further than I was until last night! I am almost (as in, just a few rows left) done with the second front piece, and then the sleeves left to go. I also find just an hour or so once in a while to work on this. That is why I like the fact that all the blog postings with tips stay “available”, so I can look through the right ones when I am ready!

  • Becky976

    I just cast on my sleeves and started the ribbing, and I have an odd question. Shouldn’t the stitches be a multiple of 4, so that when you sew the sleeves, there won’t be 4 in a row of knit? Whenever I’ve done hats with ribbing, I made them in a multiple of 4 to make them come out right. Is there something I’m missin?

    • Anonymous

      Hi Becky, since you’re working the sleeves flat and seaming them, we’ve accounted for the fact that you’ll likely lose a knit column on each side as you seam. If you’re going to make them in the round, you can adjust the stitch count to a multiple of 4.

      • Becky976

        Thanks so much! I’m doing them flat so I’ll do it as written.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/Edna.Grenier.Dippre Edna Dippre

    Ok… I understand how to do the hook part but I’m not crazy about a flat top hood on me. I’d love to see a picture of it with the hook up on a person!! Hint, hint!!! Wish there was another photo of the “model in brown” with it up. I may prefer it with one seam on top & the little point at the back corner. (where you hang the tassel for a kid).
    I’m also thinking about putting in a light weight zipper instead of buttons. My hubby likes that idea. The way the buttons are done on this Hoodie allows the front to stay opened a bit. We want this for warmth & air going in the front won’t do it.

    • Anonymous

      Hi Edna, if you go to our Flickr Group, you can see more photos of the hoodie on a person.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WNMOK7FGSW6NAFRW7RAI2EHNLQ DawnMonique

    luv this!

  • Lynnd

    Just now starting and have several Fisherman wool. Are there hints for changing
    from bulky to size 4 yarns? ALso raglans dont fit well so thought just straight up front and sleeves for me
    Thanks for all the inspiring photos people sent in!!

    Lynn D

  • Brenna

    I’m having trouble sewing up the sleeves where there is ribbing. Any suggestions?

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