Hi, everyone. Today I’m going to be talking about the final stages of making your sweater, and how you can keep on adding design elements even after all the knitting is complete! Once you’ve picked up the bands and sewn the sleeve seams and woven in all those ends, there’s still things you can do to change the look of your sweater.
One of my favorite ways to add some interest to a plain stockinette sweater is embroidery. I enjoy doing a method called duplicate stitch, with which you can put pictures on your garment, similar in look to intarsia, but much less fiddly! If you find an intarsia chart you like the look of, you can actually use this method to embroider it on to your sweater. It’s also a great way to use up random scraps of yarn!
With duplicate stitch, you are actually mimicking the look of stockinette stitch. You use a darning needle threaded with yarn in a different color to your base fabric, drawing over the chosen stitches so that they are covered with the different colored strand of yarn. This is a very easy method to add little motifs to your work. Be wary of covering large areas of fabric with this method, however, as it does make the fabric doubly thick in the covered areas.
Today I’m going to be talking about adding the front bands to your cardi and optional closures. The cardigan in the pattern is designed to be slightly open at the front, but I decided I’d like to have a closed front, which gives me an excuse to spend hours choosing just the right buttons! There are other ways as well to close your cardi — you could use a shawl pin, or if you have some basic sewing skills, sew in a zipper.
First of all, you’ll need to pick up the stitches down the edge of your left front. I decided to do the left front first, as the right front is where the buttonholes traditionally are on women’s garments. To pick up stitches for the left front, start at the neck of the garment and work down towards the hem. When you come to pick up stitches for the right front, you will start at the hem and work to the neck. With the right side facing, put your needle between the first two stitches at the edge of your cardi, so your needle goes through the fabric from front to back. Wind your yarn around the needle, the same way you would to knit a stitch. Now you can pull the loop that you just wound around the needle back through the fabric to the front. If you find it difficult to hook the loop through with a knitting needle, try using a crochet hook. Carry on in this manner until you have the required number of stitches on the needle.
Hi everyone! This week is going to be all about sleeves. In this pattern, the sleeves are put on hold until the body is completed. Then, the sleeve stitches are slipped back on the needle, and the ribbed border is started for short, t-shirt-length sleeves.
I decided that I’d like to do full-length sleeves. Lengthening your sleeves is pretty easy, especially if you’d like a casual looking sleeve with no shaping–just keep working until the sleeve is as long as you’d like it to be. However, I wanted more fitted looking sleeves, so I measured around my upper arm, just below my elbow and then around my wrist. Next I took vertical measurements to get the distance between those 3 points. Then, to work out how many and where my decreases should fall, I just used the same formula from my last post that I used for decreasing for the waist. For the sleeves, you’ll only be decreasing twice in each decrease row, once at each edge, rather than the four decreases across a row for the body. I placed my decreases two stitches in from the edge, to leave the edges nice and neat for seaming later on.
Hi, everyone! This week we’re going to talk about adding length to your sweater and adding optional waist-shaping. But first we come to dividing for the body, which is one of the most exciting parts of a top-down raglan garment because within a few rows your piece will start to look like a wearable cardigan! I like to slip the sleeve stitches onto some waste yarn rather than regular stitch holders (which are just like big safety pins), as this will make your cardi much easier to try on. I also place a stitch marker between the two bind off sections — the bind off stitches will become the underarm seam of your sweater. This marks what would be the side seam in a regular sweater and will come in handy when I’m adding waist shaping.
If you’d like your sweater to be longer, you can just keep working in your pattern, trying on as you go, until it is as long as you’d like. I wanted my sweater to be at least hip-length, but I also wanted it to be a little more fitted. Since I’m not 35 inches all the way down, I decided to add some waist-shaping. This is not in the pattern, but can be nice for some of us making the garment longer. However, if you’re new to sweaters and prefer to keep it simple, just follow the directions as written! Feel free to adjust the length straight; the classic shape of this cardigan means that it will look great even without extra shaping.
Hi everyone, I hope you all had a good week swatching and choosing the perfect yarn! This week we’re going to get started knitting the yoke, and I’m going to talk a little bit about how a top-down raglan garment is constructed and why it’s one of my absolute favorite methods of knitting a sweater — with minimal finishing, the ability to try on as you go, and no fiddling with pesky sleeve caps to get them to fit into armholes!
This type of sweater starts with the stitches cast-on for the neckline, and then all parts of the sweater (both fronts, back and sleeves) grow out from these stitches. If you’ve ever had issues with sleeves not fitting correctly into armholes, a raglan is for you! The top of the sleeves form part of the neck, which is why it isn’t really possible to make a sleeveless raglan garment. Usually the sweater grows outwards at four points around the body (these will be the points that you place your markers), so every two rounds you will increase 8 stitches, one either side of each marker. In this pattern, a yarn over increase is used. I decided I wanted a less lacy look, so I chose to do a make 1 increase instead. You could also do a knit front-and-back increase if you prefer.
Each season we host a knit- or crochet-along, a virtual event in which yarncrafters come together here online to work on one pattern together, share their experiences, and to learn together. There’s no need to sign up; simply follow along with the blog posts at your own pace as you knit your sweater.
Hi, my name is Lauren, I work at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio, the Lion Brand flagship store and education center, in New York City. In addition to working on the sales floor, I teach knitting classes, and for the next several weeks, I’m going to be your knit-along host!
For this knit-along, the project we’ll be working on together is the Simple Raglan Cardi. However, we won’t just be making the pattern as-is, as we’ve done for previous knit-alongs. Instead, I’m going to be giving you ideas on how you can use the basic pattern as a starting point for your own design! We’re going to customize this project just for you! This is particularly exciting for me, as I don’t think I’ve ever knit a sweater without making at least a couple of changes to the written pattern.
The first thing we’ll need to do is choose a size. You’ll notice that underneath where the pattern says “Size”, it says “Finished Chest.” This is the actual measurement of the garment, which is a much more accurate way to pick a size than just choosing based on the small, medium, large tags. After all, when shopping at clothing stores, I’m sure we’ve all been one size in one store and a completely different size in the next! If you’re not sure of your measurements, get a flexible tape measure and measure around the fullest part of the bust. You should also measure yourself wearing whatever you plan to where under your cardi as this can also affect the size that you will make.
Welcome back to the finale of our knit-along! We’re finishing these beautiful sweaters today, and I for one can’t wait! Now that your collars are finished and in place, it’s time to set in the sleeves and sew the final side seams.
As I’m sure you can tell by now, I’m a planner. This is especially true when it comes to setting in sleeves. The first step is to pin the sleeve in place, matching the strange shape of the sleeve cap into the armhole opening of the sweater. To do so, I fold the sleeve cap in half to find the center of the top bind off and pin this point to the shoulder seam, which is the top center of the armhole. Next move to the outside edges, pinning the initial armhole bind-off notch to the bind-off notch of the sleeve cap (both are the same number of stitches and pin directly together). Then pin the center point of these two areas, and then the center of those resulting sections. Now can you see how the sleeve cap fits in?
Time to sew it in! I’ve chosen to use a different yarn to sew in the sleeve because the mattress stitch seaming will not show through the sweater. Part of the softness and appeal of Amazing is that it is constructed of one single strand of yarn instead of multiply plies, but I chose to sew the sweater with a slightly stronger plied yarn, Vanna’s Choice, which can handle the wear and tear of the seaming we’re about to do. I like to set in my sleeves with one long strand of yarn which I join at the top shoulder seam then pull to the center of the yarn. I work down one side of the sleeve cap to the underarm, then return to the shoulder seam and repeat down the other side of the cap. This makes the seam consistent on the front and back because both were worked from the top down.
To set in the sleeve cap, I utilize all three types of mattress stitch that I discussed last week, each applied in different seaming zones. For the top bind-off sections you will work the horizontal-vertical type, then you will hit a section of horizontal-horizontal along the gentle slope of the sleeve cap. After that it’s back to horizontal-vertical for the next section of bind-offs, and finally end with the vertical-vertical seam to join the two bind-off notch portions together. Phew! See the following photo for what I mean as far as the seaming zones. I also work to ease the pieces together, skipping stitches occasionally to make the pieces fit together smoothly.
Once the sleeve is set in, it’s time for the final seams: sewing the sleeves closed and sweater sides together. This home stretch is the simplest seam – it’s all the basic mattress stitch working under the horizontal bars one stitch in from the edge of both pieces. Again, I like to pin first so that I can ease the pieces together as I go, pinning the bottom edges, the top of the ribbing, and then some midway points between.
Start seaming–the finished sweater is so close! Work carefully to make sure you can line up the sides of the body without any bunching. After the seams are done, I weave in all of my ends and give the collar and seams a light steaming to soften them. I finally have a finished pullover!
I know this sweater has been a journey, and I hope you all have finished sweaters you are proud of. Although I love how this sweater fits me, the intended recipient is actually my mom. She taught me to knit as a child, and I owe her for my love of yarn crafting. She contacted me weeks ago when she got her Lion Brand newsletter and found out I was hosting this KAL and asked me about joining in. While I would have loved to have her knit along as well, I made her a different offer instead: “Do you want mine when I finish it?” Having only knit her small things in the past, I really wanted to make her this pullover to give her something special to keep her warm in the Utah winter. So now that this gorgeous sweater is done, it’s time to send it off to her. I’ll post a photo when she gets it so you can all see how it looks!
Thanks for joining me in this KAL–it has been great talking to you, helping each other through the process, and seeing all of your success. Please continue to comment and share your progress and finished sweaters–I can’t wait to see them!
Welcome back to the Wisteria Pullover Knit-Along! My sweater pieces are knit and blocked, and I’m ready to get this pullover finished! In getting started to put mine together, however, I realized there are quite a few different finishing techniques involved and quite a large collar to knit, so I’m going to break the finishing work down into two posts, this week and next. Let’s get started on the shoulder seams and collar!
The first step is to seam the shoulders in order to create the back neck opening for the collar. To do so, I recommend a type of seam called the mattress stitch. There are three different types of mattress stitch: horizontal to horizontal stitches (side seams), vertical to vertical stitches (shoulder seams), and vertical to horizontal (the collar and part of the sleeve cap). As you can see, we’ll be employing all three along the way to finishing our sweater! Starting at the outside edge of your shoulder seam, pin your front and back pieces together and begin seaming, working your darning needle under both legs of the V on one piece and then under both legs of the V opposite on the other piece, as shown in the following image. I’ve used a golden yarn so that you can see the stitches, but keep in mind that these will be visible, so you should use the same yarn as for the main body. For more information on seaming click here.
I like to keep the tension of this seam similar to my knit stitches, instead of pulling it tight so that the seam looks like another row of stitches, but it’s entirely up to you. Here’s why mine looked like after seaming:
Repeat with the other side and voila! Starting to look a bit more like a sweater? Now you can start to picture where this collar is going to fit in. So now it’s time to pick up stitches to start knitting the shawl collar. The way the collar is constructed is this: you pick up and knit a certain number of stitches along the back of the neck and begin working in 2×2 rib; gradually more stitches are cast on at the beginning of both rows to elongate the collar but give it a nicely-shaped curve, then it is knit until it is wide enough to fill the gap we created in the front.
To plan mine, I counted how many bind-off stitches I had along the back of the neck opening and found I had 32 – 2 short of the 34 I needed to pick up. I accounted for this by picking up my first and last stitch from the shoulder join, then used the 32 stitches I bound off before ato get my 34 stitches to start the collar. Working from right to left, pick up and knit each stitch until you have the number required. By planning ahead, you can evenly space these stitches instead of getting to the end and having to stretch across or cram in a bunch of stitches. For more information about picking up stitches, click here. Here’s what the process of picking up and knitting looks like (again, I’ve used contrast yarn, but you’ll be using your main body yarn):
To add the stitches at the beginning of the row, one simple method is the backwards loop cast on. Click here for more information on how to do this cast on. Just as a word of advice: once you have your added stitches, the pattern says to work in K2, P2 rib as established – be aware that on your right side rows, you will need to start with 2 purls, or you will throw off the rib pattern.
If you made your neck opening deeper or more shallow, now is the time to adjust your collar length to fit your opening, keeping in mind the collar is sewn in with the ribbing slightly stretched. I worked the pattern as written, and my collar fit well. Although the opening looked very deep, it worked out very nicely. Keep working in 2×2 ribbing until the side edges of the collar are the same height as the bound-off opening in the neck, which for me was just over 4 inches. Remember the back section of the collar will be wider than this, which creates the shawl collar.
Now it’s time to sew it into place. We’ll be using a different version of the mattress stitch for this: the vertical-horizontal type. This method combines the technique of the other two versions: you work under the V of the vertical piece, then under the bar one stitch in from the edge of the horizontal piece, back and forth, then pull them together to make the seam disappear. Again check out the page we have about seaming by clicking here, where you can see what I mean between the different horizontal and vertical stitches (disregard the garter stitch seams since we have stockinette and ribbing.)
I chose to secure the bottom of the collar first, then attach it down each side so I could fit it in smoothly. I joined the left side of the collar (your left, the sweater’s right side) first, using a simple whip stitch between the side of the collar and the bound-off stitches of the neck opening, since this part of the seam will be covered up by the overlap. Next I attached the other side of the collar on top, carefully working my vertical-horizontal mattress stitch to make the join as invisible as possible, resulting in this:
I applied the same type of seam to the sides of the collar, pinning the collar in place first: one in the middle, then two on either side of that, to ensure that I could make the collar lay flat and even. It takes some patience to make it look right, but it’s worth it! Here’s a picture of my finished collar and I couldn’t be happier!
As I mentioned last week, once I finished knitting the sleeves it was time to get those blocked and ready for seaming. As with the front and back of the sweater, it’s very important to have your pattern schematic and a measuring tape handy when blocking so you can shape and size the sleeves to the exact measurements you want in the finished piece and it makes seaming much easier. My sleeves are all pinned out and drying, ready for next week!
So enjoy your week and completing the collar of your sweater, and next week we’ll set in the sleeves and seam up the sides, then enjoy our finished pullovers!
Welcome back to the Wisteria KAL! I hope working the front of your sweater went well and working through the “at the same time” was a success. Now that the body of the sweater is done, it’s time to give it some sleeves! When working sleeves I find it helpful to work them both at the same time for two reasons: it helps ensure they turn out the same shape and length, and they are both done at the same time! Personally I’m not a big fan of knitting the same exact thing twice, so it’s really nice to get them done all in one go. After working the top of the front piece at the same time, working on both sleeves is a snap!
To set up for knitting both sleeves at once, you’ll need two separate balls of yarn and a long needle, preferably a circular needle at least 29″ long. Using one ball, cast on the instructed number of stitches for one sleeve, then drop that yarn. Now using your second ball, cast on the same number of stitches for the second sleeve. Now start knitting across both sleeves — just be sure to use the yarn attached to each sleeve and not carry the same strand all the way across both! Here’s a shot of my sleeves in progress:
The sleeves begin with 3 inches of ribbing, just like the body pieces, then increases begin immediately in the stockinette section and continue for most of the sleeve. The increase used for the sleeves is the knit into the front and back (kfb), and you can learn more about how to work this stitch by clicking here. There are many repeats of the increase row as you work your way up the sleeve, so it’s important to keep track of how many you have done. The nice thing about the kfb increase is that it makes what looks kind of like a purl bump (a little bar) on the right side of your work so you can count your increases if you lose track. Once the increases are completed, work even until the indicated length (or your desired length, measured from wrist to underarm). Afterward it’s on to the sleeve cap!
Sleeve caps can be a bit tricky, but we’ll make it through with the help of our row gauge. Remember back in the post about gauge when I told you to go with the needle size that gives you stitch gauge but to know what your row gauge is? This is when it comes into play: the instructions for shaping the sleeve cap are based on the row gauge of the pattern (6 rows/inch) so that the finished cap will fit into the armhole depth we already knit. If your row gauge is off, you may end up with a sleeve cap that is too tall or too short to properly fit into the armhole. But don’t despair! It takes a bit of math so bear with me, but we can figure out how to make your sleeve cap fit based on your own row gauge.
After the initial bind-offs every row, the pattern says to repeat the decrease row every other row (every right-side row), which is the same as saying every 1/3 inch (2 rows at 6 rows/inch gauge, 2 rows divided by 6 rows/inch equals 1/3 inch). To calculate when you should work your decreases, multiply your row gauge by 1/3 inch to find out how often you should increase. However, from your comments in the gauge post, it sounds like that most of you are getting a row gauge of just slightly over 6 rows/inch – somewhere in the range of 26-30 rows over 4 inches, which will give you an increase every 2.5 rows or so. In that case, I would advise that you throw in a regular knit row (with no increase) a few times along the way (and purl back) to make your cap a bit taller, then you can block it to the exact shape later. If your row gauge is looser (less than 6 rows/inch), you may need to make a few decreases on the purl rows so your cap doesn’t get too tall before you complete your decreases. My best advice is just to keep an eye on how tall the cap is getting and refer to the schematic in the pattern to make sure you are on track for the right size. Your sleeves should end up looking roughly like this:
As you are working on your sleeves, it’s a good time to block the front and back of your sweater so they can dry while you keep knitting. To block my pieces, I fill my bathroom sink with lukewarm water and a cap-full of wool wash (why not clean it while I’m at it, right?). I leave it for 10-15 minutes then drain the water and gently squish the pieces to remove excess water. I carefully transfer my knitting to a towel, scooping them up so they don’t stretch out of shape when wet, and then roll them in the towel to get out more of the excess water. I lay out my blocking boards (a yoga mat or layered towels work, too!) then get my blocking wires, pins, a measuring tape and the pattern schematic. Being careful to follow the schematic measurements, I pin out both pieces of the sweater to the size indicated, measuring each part as I pin and adjusting as necessary. I personally don’t block out the ribbing and instead start my pins and wires above the ribbing because I want it to retain its natural tendency to pull in. If you want to the bottom of your sweater to be less shaped, you can also pin out your ribbing, but keep in mind that it will have less elasticity. This is how it looked once I was done:
Now let the pieces air dry. Repeat this process with your sleeves once they are knit as well, and next week we’ll be ready to seam the pullover and knit the collar! A finished sweater is soooo close! Have a great week!
Welcome back to the Wisteria KAL! I hope your progress has been going well and your pullovers are coming along nicely. I know I’ve been enjoying seeing the colors change in Amazing. Now that we’ve tackled the back (the largest piece by the way – congratulate yourself on completing it!) it’s time to move on to the front. As I mentioned last week, the front is worked much like the back for the first 11.5 inches, if you are following the pattern as written. Alternatively, if you have altered the size of the sweater, work the front as for the back until the length is 2.5 inches shorter than the back was to the armhole shaping. Time for neck shaping!
The initial shaping for the neck opening is achieved by binding off 18 stitches in the middle of the row, leaving an equal number of stitches on either side to continue working. However, in order to work both fronts at the same time, you will need to attach another piece of yarn to one of the sides to keep working. After the bind-off row you will work back on the wrong side with the yarn still attached, but once you reach the bind-off gap you will notice there is no yarn to work with!
To remedy this, simply join a new strand of yarn by using it to purl the first stitch after the gap and continue across, just as you do to join a new ball when your yarn runs out.
Now the fun begins – if you look ahead in your pattern, you’ll notice 2 things: one is the description of how to proceed with the neck shaping, and the other are those four little words we all should be hunting for when working a pattern: AT THE SAME TIME. What this means is that while you are keeping track of decreasing at the neck edges every 8 rows, you also need to notice when your piece measures the same as the back to the armholes (14 inches or your desired length) and simultaneously work the same armhole shaping as we worked for the back. Knowing your row gauge is also very useful at this point – I knew that I was getting 6 rows/inch and I had started my neck shaping 2.5 inches before I needed to worry about the armholes. After 12 rows past the neck bind off (about 2 inches), I measured after every row to be sure I wouldn’t miss the 14 inch length point. When I was sure I was there, I pulled out my completed back piece to measure against so I was sure they would match.
Now comes keeping track of two sets of instructions at the same time. This is why it’s nice we already did the back with just armhole shaping because you already have a sense of how to work the armholes. At this point I’m keeping notes so I know where I’m at: I make a hash mark for every row I complete so when I get to the 8th row, I do my neck decreases then start a new set of hash marks for the next row. By doing so, when I have 6 (7, 7, 8, 10) groups of marks I know my neck decreases are complete! While this is going on I am also referring to armhole shaping instructions from the back section of the pattern, which is worked over a total of 8 (12, 16, 18, 20) rows. My best advice is to make whatever notes you need to in order to keep track of what is going on so you don’t miss any of the decreases.
Once you have completed your decreases, count the number of stitches remaining on each side of the neck to make sure they match what the pattern says you should have left for binding off – 17 (18, 20, 21, 22), then do a happy dance – the shaping is over and you have the stitches you should! If for some reason your numbers don’t match, see if you can determine where the mistake was made and rip back to correct it, keeping track of how many rows you rip out so you know where you are in the pattern. Once you’re all set with the decreases, work even until the armhole depth matches that of the back (this may be quite soon after the neck decreases are completed) and bind-off both sides. Another piece done!
Next week we’ll move onto the sleeves and talk about blocking your pieces for seaming. Have a great week and enjoy!