Sweater Techniques Series – Gramps Baby Cardigan – 3 / 6 : Top-Down Sweater Construction
OK, so you have picked your pattern, and knit the swatch to determine what needles you will be using for the project. Lets move on to begin the knitting.
This tutorial is part 3 of a 6-part tutorial covering sweater knitting techniques. To start at the beginning, see this post.
The jacket is a seamless design, knit from the neck down. After the body and arms are complete, the button band and collar are worked. Pockets and patches are added last. Sweater body is worked in stockinette stitch.
What does this tell us?
‘Seamless design’ means that the sweater is essentially knit in 1 piece, instead of being knit in several pieces and sewed up at the end. ‘Knit from the neck down’ means that the knitting will begin at the neckline, and work down through the yoke over the shoulders, to the point where the arms will separate from the body. Then the body will be worked from the underarm down to the lower edge, and then the arms will be worked (in the round) from the underarm down to the cuffs. Lastly, the button band and collar will be added by picking up stitches, and pockets and patches are added last of all.
Today we will be knitting from the cast-on at the neck edge, down to the end of the yoke. As you can see in the first diagram, looking down on the sweater from above, you start by casting on at the neck opening, and then knit back and forth in rows, which increase in length due to increases at raglan ‘seam’ lines, and at the neckline edge.
HOW TO CAST ON USING A PROVISIONAL CAST ON METHOD
To begin, we will cast on following the pattern instructions:
yoke: Using larger needles, cast on 35 sts using provisional cast on method.
How do we do that? A provisional cast-on is a blanket term for any sort of cast on which leaves LIVE stitches, which can later be knit from in the opposite direction. My favorite method for casting on provisionally is to use a crochet chain. This method is described further in a previous blog post here.
- First use a contrast colour yarn to crochet a chain of more chain stitches than you need to cast on.
- Then use the working yarn and needle to knit into the back of this crochet chain, pulling up your cast-on stitches.
HOW TO KNIT THE YOKE OF THE CARDIGAN
Once you have cast on the required stitches, proceed to work the setup rows as per the pattern instructions. Remember to follow the instructions for the size you have chosen. I am knitting the smallest size, using the instructions highlighted in red.
Setup Row (WS): p2 (2,3,3), pm, p7 (8,7,8), pm, p17 (17,19,19), pm, p7 (8,7,8), pm, p2 (2,3,3)
Where it says pm in the pattern instructions, this means place marker: slip a stitch marker onto the needle before continuing to knit or purl. Once a marker is in place, it will remain until you are instructed to remove it, and each time you come to it, you will slip it from the LH needle to the RH needle. Markers are used to indicate parts of the work; in this case they mark where the raglan ‘seam’ lines occur.
Next, you will continue knitting the yoke, following the pattern instructions:
The yoke of the cardigan is formed by increasing every RS row along raglan ‘seam lines’. At the same time, the neckline is shaped by increasing stitches at the beginning and end of the first and each following 4th row (this will be on rows 1, 5, 9, 13, 17, 21, etc.).
So each and EVERY RS (right side) row, there are 8 stitches added at the raglan ‘seam’ lines – two at each line. At the same time every SECOND RS row (every 4th row), there are 2 additional stitches added at the neckline.
So on Row one 10 sts will be added, then on row three 8 sts are added, then row five, 10 stitches added… so on and so forth until the specified number of neckline increases and raglan increases have been done. It is useful to keep track of your rows, so that you don’t work too many neckline increases.
As you will see, the yoke will begin to form a shape which, when laid out flat, will be somewhat like a doughnut, or a moon snail egg case.
MMMMmmmmm doughnuts… I’m getting hungry for lunch.
Well this shape just continues to grow, until you complete the specified number of repeats or rows, and meet the noted number of total stitches.
This is the end of the yoke section of the sweater! Congratulations!
The yoke is complete, and although it doesn’t look like much yet, you are well on your way to creating a darling little heirloom for a special girl or boy. In the blog posts to follow, I will take you through the rest of the steps required to knit the Gramps cardigan!
The next post will be:
- Top-Down Sweater Construction: Body & Arms: Separating sweater at the underarm, casting-on stitches using backward loop method, and knitting in the round
Is there anything I covered that is unclear? Did I miss any important points? Please let me know what you think of these tutorials, and make suggestions for other tutorial topics by posting comments, or contact me directly. Be sure to subscribe to the blog to receive each post as it goes live, right to your inbox!
For Knitting Teachers
This material is intended to be useful to those who teach knitting. If you are a shop owner who runs knitting classes, and would like to use this tutorial for instruction, you are welcome to download the .pdfs and use them free of charge in your teaching activities. Tin Can Knits wholesales books and single leaflet patterns to knitting shops in Canada, the USA and the UK, if you are interested in carrying our products, please contact us.