“Improvised” top-down sweater – Part 2: the “pattern”

I can’t believe that over a month passed since I wrote the previous post on my top-down sweater inspired by the 2016 Fringe and Friends Knitalong! Although I’m still not finished, the developments since then have been slow but steady. At this point, I decided that my sweater is advanced enough that I can attempt to summarize my notes in the form of a “draft pattern”. I thought I’d better do this before too much time goes by and I completely loose track of what I have done – which is a good habit of mine.

Disclaimer: This is merely a “draft pattern” since my sweater is not entirely finished. I might add further changes and/or corrections, but I thought this would be useful for others.

Specs

Yarn: Unknown fingering weight(ish) NZ possum blend

Needles: 4mm for body and 3.5mm for ribbing at neck and sleeve

Stitch pattern: Double Hourglass (see Barbara Walker’s A Treasury of Knitting Patterns, p. 279)

double-hourglass

Charted version of Double Hourglass stitch

Gauge: 22 stitches for 10cm / 4” in both stockinette and stitch pattern using 4mm needles – measured on swatch

Size: I usually wear an EU(Fr) 36 and UK/NZ 8, here I was aiming for a not too fitting but also not extremely roomy cropped sweater of about 40” bust circumference. Currently it seems like I’ve got 38” – unblocked, but that’s fine, as it is fitting well.

Cast on and neck shaping

Cast on: Using 4mm needles, cast on 34 stitches (about 6 inches) for the back neck and 14 stitches (about 3.5 inches) for each shoulder, 1 stitch for the front neck on each side and 2 stitches for each raglan seam. That amounts to 72 stitches in total, distributed like this:

1 – stitch marker (SM)- 2 – SM – 14 – SM – 2 – SM – 34 – SM – 2 – SM – 14 – SM – 2 – SM – 1

NOTE: Following Karen’s (Fringe) tip and adding seams to seamless sweaters, I increased one stitch – using the bar increase – between each pair of raglan seam stitches to add a basting stitch (see bottom of this post) on the first row (WS).

Row 1 (WS): p1 (front neck), slip marker, p1 m1 p1, slip marker, p14, slip marker, p1 m1 p1, slip marker, knit the first row of the double hourglass pattern over 34 stitches*, p1 m1 p1, slip marker, p14, slip marker, p1 m1 p1, slip marker, p1

*To make my job easier at getting the stitch pattern nicely centred both at the front and the back of the sweater, I charted out the increases for the neck shaping section. For the back section, you can ignore the colour marks, more is said about those and about knitting the front neck below.

top-down-pattern

Neck shaping: Up until joining the piece to knit in the round, I increased one stitch on every RS row at the front neck on each side (except for first RS row – see below) as well as on each side of the front and back of the body next to the raglan seam. I increased the number of sleeve stitches on each edge of the sleeves by the raglan seam on every fourth row counting after the first RS row. In other words, after Row2 (first RS row) neck and body increases are done on every second row, and sleeve increases are made on every fourth row. 

Row 2 (RS): k1 M1R, slip marker, k1 p1 k1, slip marker, M1L, knit across sleeve stitches, M1R, slip marker, k1 p1 k1, slip marker, M1L, knit second row of chart for back panel, M1R, slip marker, k1 p1 k1, slip marker, M1L, knit across sleeve stitches, M1R, slip marker, k1 p1 k1, slip marker, M1L k1.

Row 3 (WS): knit the knit stitches and purl the purl stitches

Row 4 (RS)/Body increase row: k1 M1L, follow chart for remainder of front neck ending with M1R*, slip marker, k1 p1 k1, slip marker, knit across left sleeve stitches, slip marker, k1 p1 k1, slip marker, M1L follow chart for back, M1R, slip marker, k1 p1 k1, slip marker, knit across right sleeve stitches, slip marker, k1 p1 k1, slip marker, M1L and follow chart for right front neck until the stitch before the stitch marked in blue, M1R k1.

Row 5 (WS): knit the knit stitches and purl the purl stitches.

Row 6 (RS)/Body and sleeve increase row: k1 M1L, follow chart for remainder of front neck ending with M1R*, k1 p1 k1, slip marker M1L, knit across left sleeve stitches, M1R, slip marker, k1 p1 k1, slip marker, M1L, continue in stitch pattern for the back, M1R, slip marker, k1 p1 k1, slip marker, M1L, knit across right sleeve stitches, M1R, slip marker, k1 p1 k1, slip marker, M1L and follow chart for right front neck until the stitch before the stitch marked in blue, M1R k1.

Row 7 (WS): knit the knit stitches and purl the purl stitches.

Rows 8-19: repeat rows 4 to 7 following the corresponding rows of the chart three times.

Rows 20-22: repeat rows 4 to 6 once more.

*It was noted above that the chart shown represents the stitch pattern both on the back and the front of the sweater. The stitches coloured in grey in the middle are the stitches that don’t exist in any given row of the front neck. Knitting the back panel is trivial, as you proceed from the bottom right corner. The front neck is perhaps a bit trickier to grasp – it cost me one frogging. It is almost easier to turn the chart upside down to understand what is going on: 

img_20161027_110225.jpg

So, the upside down chart is like a picture of the front of the sweater, with the neck hole greyed out. Because you are knitting top-down, your RS rows start with the left front neck, with the stitches on the right to the grey area. This means that on the forth row, which is the second right side pattern row, you will start by k1 and then M1L (neck increase), then p1 as shown on the chart and M1R (raglan increase). Once you knit across the left sleeve, the back panel and the right sleeve stitches, you will come to the right front neck (left edge of the chart): M1L (raglan increase), p1 as shown on the chart, M1R (neck increase), k1. As you can see, neck increase stitches are marked in blue in the chart (these are either m1R or m1L, depending on the side) and the the stitches marked in orange are kept in stockinette at the front neck before being incorporated into the pattern.

This all sounds terribly complicated, but it slowly becomes obvious once you start knitting.

Joining the neck to work in the round: once you’ve completed row 22, cast on 12 stitches for the centre neck using the backloop cas on method. Join to work in the round and continue to the first marker knitting the knit stitches and purling the purl stitches. Switch this marker for a BOR marker. (Yes, you’ll end up with one more row on the left front, but don’t worry, nobody will notice.)

At this point, you should have 56 stitches for the front and the back each and 26 stitches for each of the sleeves. Together with the raglan seem stitches, that is 56*2+26*2+3*4= 176 stitches in total. The BOR marker is at the raglan seam before the left sleeve. 

Continuing with raglan increases

If all is well, your next round should be row 7 of the Double Hourglass stitch. I didn’t chart the stitch pattern from here on, as I found it quite self explanatory to continue knitting just by looking at what I already had. At the beginning, the front may be a bit more difficult, but whenever in doubt just take a peek at the back. From here on, the front and the back should be identical on each row.

Until row/round 42 the body increases continue on every second and the sleeve increases on every forth row. Since the BOR marker has been moved to the first raglan seam, it is better to do the body increase prior to it on the previous round. Incorporate the newly increased stitches in the Double Hourglass pattern upon the second next rounds.

NOTE: It is recommended that you knit the ribbing for the neck shortly after you have started working in the round, in order to ensure a correct fit.

Row 23: start from the BOR marker and knit the knit stitches and purl the purl stitches, M1R.

Row 24/Body increase row: k1 p1 k1, slip marker, knit across left sleeve stitches, slip marker, k1 p1 k1, slip marker, M1L, continue in stitch pattern for the back, M1R, slip marker, k1 p1 k1, slip marker, knit across right sleeve stitches, slip marker, k1 p1 k1, slip marker, M1L and continue in stitch pattern for the front (same as the back).

Row 25: knit the knit stitches and purl the purl stitches, M1R.

Row 26/Sleeve and body increase row: k1 p1 k1, slip marker M1L, knit across left sleeve stitches, M1R, slip marker, k1 p1 k1, slip marker, M1L, continue in stitch pattern for the back, M1R, slip marker, k1 p1 k1, slip marker, M1L, knit across right sleeve stitches, M1R, slip marker, k1 p1 k1, slip marker, M1L and continue in stitch pattern for the front (same as the back).

Row 27: knit the knit stitches and purl the purl stitches, M1R.

Rows 28-43: repeat rows 24 to 27 four more times.

Upon completion of this section, you should have 76 stitches for the front and the back each and 36 stitches for each sleeve. That is, 76*2+36*2+3*4=236 stitches in total.

From row 42 onwards both body and sleeve increases are made on every 3rd row. On rows following the increase row knit newly made stitches and incorporate them into the stitch pattern upon the following row.

Row 44 (Even round, increase last stitch): k1 p1 k1, slip marker, knit across left sleeve stitches, slip marker, k1 p1 k1, slip marker, continue in stitch pattern for the back, slip marker, k1 p1 k1, slip marker, knit across right sleeve stitches, slip marker, k1 p1 k1, slip marker and continue in stitch pattern for the front (same as the back), M1R.

Row 45 (Increase on odd round): k1 p1 k1, slip marker, M1L, knit across left sleeve stitches, M1R, slip marker, k1 p1 k1, slip marker, M1L, continue across back knitting knit stitches and purling purl stitches, M1R, slip marker, M1L, knit across right sleeve stitches, M1R, slip marker, k1 p1 k1, slip marker, M1L and continue across front knitting knit stitches and purling purl stitches.

Row 46 (Even round, no increase): k1 p1 k1, slip marker, knit across left sleeve stitches, slip marker, k1 p1 k1, slip marker, continue in stitch pattern for the back, slip marker, k1 p1 k1, slip marker, knit across right sleeve stitches, slip marker, k1 p1 k1, slip marker and continue in stitch pattern for the front (same as the back).

Row 47 (Odd round, increase last stitch): knit the knit stitches and purl the purl stitches, M1R.

Row 48 (Increase on even round): k1 p1 k1, slip marker M1L, knit across left sleeve stitches, M1R, slip marker, k1 p1 k1, slip marker, M1L, continue in stitch pattern for the back, M1R, slip marker, k1 p1 k1, slip marker, M1L, knit across right sleeve stitches, M1R, slip marker, k1 p1 k1, slip marker, M1L and continue in stitch pattern for the front (same as the back).

Row 49 (Odd round, no increase): knit the knit stitches and purl the purl stitches.

Row 50 (Even round, increase last stitch): repeat row 44.

Rows 51-68: repeat rows 45-50 three more times.

Upon completion of this section you should have 92 body stitches for the front and the back each and 52 stitches for each sleeve. That is a total number of 92*2+52*2+3*4=300 stitches.

Placing sleeve stitches on hold and continuing with body

Placing sleeve stitches on hold and casting on for underarm

Row 69: Remove BOR marker and k1 (this is a raglan seam stitch) and place next 56 stitches (basting stitch, raglan seam stitch, 52 sleeve stitches, raglan seam stitch and basting stitch) on hold removing stitch markers. Using the backward loop method cast on 18 stitches, placing the BOR marker after the first 9 cast on stitches. K1 and continue across the back knitting the knit stitches and purling the purl stitches, remove marker, knit the first raglan seam stitch. Place next 56 stitches (basting stitch, raglan seam stitch, 52 sleeve stitches, raglan seam stitch and basting stitch) on hold removing stitch markers. Knit the first raglan seam stitch, remove marker and continue across front knitting knit stitches and purling purl stitches.

Once you get to the newly cast on underarm stitches, knit the first 9 stitches to the BOR marker in pattern, which should be: p4, k1, p2, k1, p1. – If you are on row 5 of the Double Hourglass stitch pattern, that is.

Continuing with body

Row 70: slip BOR marker and knit the 9 remaining stitches in pattern (6th row of Double Hourglass) as follows: BC p1 BC p4 and continue in pattern throughout the round.

Continue knitting in pattern until the body is 23 cm or 9” from underarm. Aim to finish on Row 7 or Row 15 of Double Hourglass pattern.

Ribbing

Switch to 3.5 mm needles and start 2*2 ribbing. Continue even until ribbing is about 5 cm or 2”.

Rearrange to 1*1 ribbing: *k1, place one stitch on cable needle and hold in front, p1, k stitch on hold, p1, repeat form * to the end of the row.

Finish the body with tubular bind off.

Finishing seams

Using mattress stitch, create seam at raglans.

Adding neck ribbing

Using 3.5 mm needles and starting from the raglan seam at the left front, pick up 72 stitches around the neck. Start 4*4 ribbing. Knit 8-9 rows, or as desired.

Rearrange to 1*1 ribbing: *k1, place one stitch on cable needle and hold in front, p1, k stitch on hold, p1, repeat form * to the end of the row. Finish with tubular bind off.

Sleeves

NOTE: I’m currently working on the sleeves, so this might not be the definitive row count. Try on to see how long you want the sleeves.

Starting from the middle, pick up 9 stitches at underarm, place sleeve stitches on hold back on the needle. Knit across sleeve stitches, knitting the basting stitches together with the raglan seam stitches (i.e. knit together first and last two stitches), pick up the remaining 9 underarm stitches and place BOR marker.

You should have 72 sleeve stitches.

Knit 20 rows (about 6.5 cm or 2.5”) even.

Sleeve decrease round: Slip marker, SSK, knit to last two stitches before marker, k2tog.

Repeat sleeve decrease round on every 7th row 14 times. 44 stitches remain.Knit 2-3 rows even.

Switch to 3.5 mm needles and start 4*4 ribbing. Continue even until you have about 5 cm or 2” of ribbing.

Rearrange to 1*1 ribbing: *k1, place one stitch on cable needle and hold in front, p1, k stitch on hold, p1, repeat form * to the end of the row. Finish with tubular bind off.

top-down-almost-finished

IMG_20160925_175155856.jpg

2 thoughts on ““Improvised” top-down sweater – Part 2: the “pattern”

  1. Pingback: Textures. Full stop. | woolventures

  2. Pingback: November WIP and queue check | woolventures

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