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Gramps Cardigan: Top-Down Sweater Construction (3/6)

March 21, 2012


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 the knitting!


This tutorial is part 3 of a 6-part tutorial covering sweater knitting techniques for the Gramps cardigan. To view the other parts of the tutorial click on the links below.

Starting from the top:

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 sewn 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.


To begin, we will cast on following the pattern instructions:

yoke: Using larger needles, cast on the number of sts indicated for your size.

For our size, 1-2 years this is 33 stitches. Never cast on before? You can find our cast on tutorial here.


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.


For our size, 1-2 years we will work: p2, PM, p4, PM, p21, PM, p4, PM, p2

Where it says PM in the pattern instructions, this means place marker: slip a stitch marker onto the right hand 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 left hand needle to the right hand needle.  Markers are used to indicate parts of the work; in this case they mark where the raglan ‘seam’ lines occur. Your work will have 4 markers indicating the right front, right sleeve, back, left sleeve, and left front.

Next, you will continue knitting the yoke, following the pattern instructions. You will be working increases (more on increases below) on either side of the marker at the 4 markers on every right side row (rows 1 and 3) and at the neckline edge as well on row 3 to create the v-neck.

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 (row 3), there are 2 additional stitches added at the neckline for a total of 10 stitches increased.


For our size there are 2 sts before the first marker on our first row 1, so when the instructions read to knit to 1 stitch before the marker you only need to knit 1 stitch

On Row 1 you will add 8 sts and on row 3 you will add 10 sts. so on and so forth until the specified number of neckline increases and raglan increases have been done.


The m1

There are many ways to work an m1 increase. You could work a bar increase, or a lifted increase, whichever increase you prefer! I, personally, use a paired bar increase and the instructions for those can be found here. Before the marker I work an m1R and after the marker I work an m1L, for the neckline increases I work an m1R at the beginning of the row and an m1L at the end.

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.

I've placed the completed yoke stitches on waste yarn to show the shape created by the raglan increses

I’ve placed the completed yoke stitches on waste yarn to show the shape created by the raglan increses

MMMMmmmmm doughnuts… I’m getting hungry for lunch.

Well this shape just continues to grow, until you complete the specified number of repeats. The next instruction is:

Place locking stitch markers or safety pins in the fabric at the beginning and end of this row.

My locking stitch marker is placed, an indicator I will need for my shawl collar

My locking stitch marker is placed, an indicator I will need for my shawl collar

Why place these markers? You will need them when we get to the collar section. For now they just need to hang out in your knitting and wait.

You now need to work a few more rows ‘even’ this means you will work no more increases and just slip the markers as you come to them.

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, or a great Sunday morning cardigan for yourself!  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 is:

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.

For Knitting Instructors

This material is also 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 do so. 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.

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80 Comments leave one →
  1. Rachel permalink
    January 1, 2019 1:12 pm

    Can this be made for a man? It seems like the larger sizes are for women only. Thanks.

    • January 2, 2019 7:20 pm

      Hi Rachel – You bet! It’s a pretty unisex design, there’s nothing really male or female about it. You just want to choose the correct chest measurement

  2. SANDRA GOBBO permalink
    October 27, 2018 12:09 pm

    I am a beginner and confused with the increase instructions for row 1. If I knit to 1 st before market, then m1, does the k2 include the m1? Do I then slip the marker and repeat the m1, k2, m1? Thanks

    • October 27, 2018 1:42 pm

      Hi Sandra – just slip the markers as you come to them, m1, k1, slip ,arker, k1, m1

  3. July 29, 2018 7:49 pm

    I’m doing the 0-6months after I did the rows 1-6 a total of 6 time, I’m confused on the next step. Work rows 1-2 rows, at this point I only have 20sts, on the front, 28 on sleeves,45 on the back

  4. July 29, 2018 12:46 pm

    I have a question about the stitch markers placed at the end of the increase rows (sorry, I’m a complete beginner, so this may be a silly question): Since those markers go through an actual stitch, rather than on the needle, does the marker go through the stitches that are currently looped around the needle, or the completed stitch directly below that? Thanks!

    • July 30, 2018 10:37 am

      Hi – I usually put them through the stitch on the needle, but not on the needle itself. Does that help?

  5. Tina M Kimball permalink
    July 18, 2018 7:36 am

    I would like to know what you do at the end of a row of stitching. I have a friend who “slips” the last stitch instead of knitting or purling it. If so, do you slip it knitwise, or purlwise?

    • July 19, 2018 4:32 am

      We don’t recommend slipping the last (or the first) stitch of a row as a general practice. In some of our patterns, we DO use this technique for specific reasons, but, in Tin Can Knits patterns, where it is not specified, it’s best not to do it, as it may impact later stages in the knit in a negative way. However, you can try it for yourself and see what the effect is.

  6. Rachel permalink
    April 26, 2018 5:38 am

    Hello. I finished the extra rows 1-2 near the end of the yoke and my piece already measures 6 inches ( I’m doing the 2-4 year old size) if I stop here without doing an extra possible 8 rows, will this be a problem?

  7. April 16, 2018 4:05 pm

    Thank you so much. Now That makes perfect sense. Now to make the sweater. Love your patterns. Luann

  8. April 15, 2018 1:41 pm

    Hello, I am working on the gramps sweater size 0-6 and finished the setup row. Problem with 1st row. Not enough stitches between markers to perform between parenthesis for this size. Please help.


    • April 15, 2018 9:27 pm

      Hi Luann – You should have 2 sts before the first marker, so you will k1, m1, k1, slip marker, k1, knit to 1 st before next marker, m1, k1, slip marker, k1, m1 etc. Does that help?

  9. Nancy permalink
    January 11, 2017 1:26 pm

    Hello TCK, I am enjoying making a newborn Gramps. I have completed 6 repeats of rows 1-4 and have 139 stitches. Your instructions say to do rows 1-2 once more for a total of 155 stitches, but that is adding 16 stitches and rows 1-2 only add 8 stitches. What am I missing here? Thanks a lot.

    • January 12, 2017 12:11 pm

      Hi Nancy – once you have your 139 sts the instruction reads:

      Work rows 1-2 two (1, 2, 1, 1, 0, 1, 0, 1, 1, 0, 1, 3, 0 5, 4, 0) more time(s). [155 (167, 175, 187, 187, 203, 213, 225, 241, 261, 279, 311, 323, 355, 379, 411, 439) sts total

      Your size is the two outside the brackets. So you are adding 16 sts

      • Nancy permalink
        January 12, 2017 6:13 pm

        Ohhh. Duh. I read it a million times and didn’t catch that “two” before the bracket. Thank you so much.

  10. Kathy D permalink
    November 7, 2016 7:31 am

    Have started the 4-6 size and am wondering if there is a mistake after working rows 1-4. It says for this size not to work row 1-2 ( 0 times) but the stitch count after working the increases is 179 and then the next count is 187. If you don’t repeat rows 1-2 the count is going to remain 179 or am I missing something? Sometimes knitting and Nascar does not play well together. Thanks. BTW, just finished Antler (4-6 in dk) so cute, may have to make myself one!

    • November 7, 2016 10:00 am

      Hi Kathy – haha, Nascar and knitting, love it. Where it says to work row 1-2 there is a two in front of the brackets spelled out, your size says to repeat the rows 1 time. Does that help?

      • Kathy D permalink
        November 7, 2016 10:15 am

        Thanks for the quick reply. That clears it up, I was going by the numbers in the brackets. My size in the brackets has a 0 so I assumed that rows 1&2 weren’t repeated, but doing them once will give me the right numbers. This is another one I might have to make for myself – love pockets! Thanks again.

  11. Ann permalink
    September 26, 2016 3:23 am

    Thanks ur tutorial
    I am working at the repeating rows step
    But how should I measure the yoke depth ? At the centre or at the edge
    Also, must repeat at least six rows? If the yoke depth reaches the desired length after knitting two repeat rows, should I continue to knit up to 6 repeat rows?

    • September 27, 2016 9:37 am

      Hi Ann – after you have worked all of the increases you will work ‘even’ (no increases) until the yoke is the specified length (I measure straight down the back). How many rows you need here will really depend on your size and row gauge.

  12. charon harris permalink
    February 17, 2016 8:06 am

    I am knitting the pueperium baby cardigan/ opening on sides. I would like a tutirial on this because its my first time knitting in the round starting at the neck

    • February 22, 2016 2:45 pm

      Hi Charon – unfortunately that isn’t one of our patterns so we won’t have a tutorial on it. You can try our Flax pattern though, it is knit in round from the neck down.

  13. Maxine permalink
    January 21, 2016 5:37 pm

    Row 1, What is your preferred method of M1? This is a confusion to me as there is more than one way to make one and I would like it to look like yours. If it is M1R, M1L I am assuming that the one stitch before the marker I do a M1R and after the marker M1L?
    Row 3, K1, M1 would that be a M1R and at the beginning of the row a M1L at the end?

    • January 25, 2016 1:00 pm

      Hi Maxine – how to m1 is really a matter of knitters choice, the original Gramps sweater we knit (in brown and green) used a krl and kll, the newest version of the pattern has the instruction to m1. The grey, red and brown, and blue and brown gramps sweaters on the most recent pattern use an m1r before the marker and an m1l after. Some knitters prefer to reverse the order though

  14. Tai permalink
    December 7, 2015 1:30 pm

    Hi, I have a question,. On Row 1, when it states to Knit to 1st before marker, m1,ks,m1 does that mean,m1, knit the next stitch before the marker, m1, k2, m1? I noticed that I was getting holes in my work with the M1, how do they incorporate the M1R/M1L?

    • December 9, 2015 9:45 am

      Hi Tai – you will be slipping a maker between the 2 knit sts. So it is a m1, k1, slip marker, k1, m1. I like to work a m1l before the marker and a m1r after the marker, but it is really a matter of preference. If you are getting holes you may not be working your m1s correctly (you should be twisting the stitch as you knit it)

  15. Daniele permalink
    October 18, 2015 10:30 pm

    Is KFB an option for adding stitches?

    • October 21, 2015 4:40 am

      Yes, you could use KFB for the yoke increases, but you will want to work the kfb on the stitch 2 stitches before the marker, and then on the stitch directly after the marker to get a symmetrical looking line of increase.

  16. BETHANY BENKE permalink
    August 11, 2015 3:29 pm

    I don’t understand the end of the yoke instructions it says make 6 more rows in stockinette stitch but am I supposed to keep doing the MS to keep the Reglan lines?

  17. Kathy permalink
    July 15, 2015 3:02 pm

    I hate to be so needy but do you mean (M1 k2 M1) that for the first row I k1, M1, slip marker
    k1 and continue?

    • July 20, 2015 8:59 am

      Hi Kathy – yup, unless otherwise stated, you always slip markers when you come to them, so m1, k2, m1 will be worked m1, k1, slip marker, k1, m1. Enjoy!

      • Honey permalink
        July 30, 2015 12:06 pm

        Emily I too am not able to get this pattern going. Knitting as written is giving me lg holes. Question…do I have ti M1R, and M1L to eliminate this? Do you have a video on getting this yoke started? I’m making it for my grandsons bday and need to get going. I even took the pattern to my knitting group and we were all stumped… 😢

      • July 31, 2015 3:30 am

        Hi Honey – Can you give me a clearer explanation of what the trouble you are having is? Where are the holes? If you use M1R and M1L at the lines of raglan increase, there shouldn’t be any holes there. You can find a video on these increases (and a bunch more options that you could use instead) at : . Hope this helps! Good luck with it.

  18. Kathy permalink
    July 12, 2015 6:59 am

    I just can’t get started, I know that it is me and not your pattern. my problem is the increase on the RF and LF. with only two stitches how can I make the M1, k2, M1 increase? I am going on vacation today and naturally waited till the last minute to figure this out. I will only
    have an I phone to look at. and am not sure that I can get to this page. would it be possible
    to email me? thanks Kathy.

    • July 13, 2015 11:53 am

      Hi Kathy

      The first M1 comes before the marker and the second one comes after, just slip the markers as you come to them!

  19. Honey permalink
    June 27, 2015 10:44 am

    Hi…I need clarification on row 1.

  20. Sheila permalink
    April 13, 2015 11:03 am

    I’m confused about the paragraph above “separate sleeves and body” where it tells you to put safety pins at beginning and end of this row, then work 6 more rows in stocking stitch until yoke depth is approx. 5″. Am I still supposed to be M1-ing as before, because it looks like that in the photo? Or do I stay with my same number of stitches and just do 6 rows, and if so, why do I have safety pins there? Am I moving the pins every row or leaving them in the same place? I’m an experienced knitter and I just don’t understand this. (Bought pattern through Ravelry this past weekend). Thanks.

    • April 13, 2015 6:54 pm

      Hi Sheila – So, you are putting safety pins in (and you won’t be moving them) because when you pick up the button band, you want to place the buttons between the bottom of the sweater and the safety pins, and you will be working your short rows based on these markers. So, they aren’t important until later but they will be used.

  21. Tawnee permalink
    April 8, 2015 5:42 am

    Hi I just bought this pattern and am confused. You have the tutorial as a provisional cast on. But the pattern just says cast on. So should I use a provisional cast on or just cast on however I usually would?

    • April 8, 2015 1:26 pm

      Hi Tawnee – our older version of the pattern (it was just in the little sizes) did have a provisional cast on, but since we added the big sizes we took that provisional cast on out. So, long story short, go without the provisional cast on

      • Tawnee permalink
        April 8, 2015 1:42 pm

        Okay thank you. I cannot wait to knit this up.

  22. Siobhan permalink
    March 9, 2015 2:17 pm

    Thank you for the tutorial, I’m afraid I’m being a bit dim but do you actually give instructions for a provisional cast on? Above it says how to cast on with the provisional method but the it just says to cast on as per pattern instructions which are to just cast on? Am I missing something? Thanks!

    • March 9, 2015 3:24 pm

      Hi Siobhan – in an older version of the pattern there was a provisional cast on, but we have taken that out.

  23. Siobhan permalink
    March 7, 2015 6:21 am

    Hi, I’m still not sure what you mean by provisional cast on – this post doesn’t seem to address it? Do you cover it elsewhere? Also, do you cover how M1 should be handled in this pattern as my usual method (lift a stitch out if the yarn below and knit into the back) seems to leave a gappy trail rather than the neat raglan increases I see in the pics! Thanks.

    • March 9, 2015 3:30 pm

      Check out our ‘help’ page for both links (how to m1 and provisional cast on)

  24. mia permalink
    June 6, 2014 1:30 pm

    I bought your pattern, and started yo knit… I dont understand how you get the raglan to go in opposit direction. I get all my raglan-lines to the right. How do you get the PM to be the same if every row adds 8?

    Thank you!


    • June 10, 2014 10:16 am

      You should leave the markers in place, and simply slip them at each row. Hope this helps!

  25. March 25, 2014 11:35 am

    The pattern is wonderful, although I am a little confused about how many repeats I do. In the directions it says: “Repeat rows 1 and 2 a total of 14 times” – does that mean a total of 14 rows together, or a total of 14 rows per each row (so 28 rows I would have knit total)? I’m assuming 28 rows total because I have to do neckline increases 7 times – but is my assumption correct?

    • March 25, 2014 2:00 pm

      Repeat rows 1 and 2 a total of 14 times means you are working 28 rows (row 1, row 2, row 1, row 2…..)

  26. Ann Haggett permalink
    November 9, 2013 5:09 pm

    I am a sock knitter (dpn’s) and this sweater, albeit small, is throwing me. I have done the following on the yoke: setup row, first increase row, first WS row. I understand the need to increase at the raglan lines and will probably use Ml rather than the KKL deal. But I don’t understand when to do the neckline increase, i.e. do I do a Ml on the very first stitch using a knit through the front and back of the stitch? (in which case I would also knit through the front and back of the very last stitch on that row) Or, at the beginning of the row, do I Kl first and then do a Ml (increase) using the bar between the first and second stitch (and likewise do a Ml on the next to the last stitch of the row?) Thanks.

    • December 11, 2013 5:29 pm

      Hi Ann – Working m1 at the raglan points is totally fine. For the neckline increases, I would suggest working k1, m1 at the start of the row, and knit to last st, m1, k1 at the end of the row. Knitting front and back would work, but I think the m1s will be more seamless.

  27. Andrea permalink
    October 16, 2013 7:34 pm

    Thanks so much for this tutorial! It is great to be able to follow along while learning new techniques (and I have also discovered some better ways to do things than the way my mom taught me back in the day!). The photos are so helpful. I wish all knitting patterns came with similar tutorials! :)

  28. Catalina permalink
    August 30, 2013 8:16 am

    Hi Emily,
    Thanks for the tutorial. I´m confused about the raglan increases. The pattern says: “…knit to 1 st before marker, m1, k1, slip marker, k1, m1”. I knitted it and it formed a line of two knit stitches along the raglan diagonal line. In the pictures, It seems that the line is formed by just one knit stich along tha raglan diagonal line. I think I´m making something wrong but I don´t know what it is. Thanks! Catalina

    • September 3, 2013 6:11 pm

      Hi Catalina

      It just depends on which increase you are using. Emily used a krl and kll for the increases (see the abbreviations page for links on how to do these), but I always use an M1 (giving me the 2 sts instead of 1).

      • Catalina permalink
        September 10, 2013 1:08 pm

        Ok, I understand, thank you very much.

    • Andrea permalink
      October 16, 2013 7:25 pm

      Hi Catalina – I had the same problem but I think I figured out why. The abbreviations included at the end of the pattern pdf seem to be mixed up. The KRL and KLL definitions should be switched. The definitions appear with the correct abbreviations on this page I ripped back and redid and now see the one knit stitch along the raglan diagonal line.

      – Andrea

  29. Nicoleta permalink
    August 7, 2013 4:41 pm

    Great tutorial! I’ve been looking for instructions on how to knit top-down for some time and I am very happy I found yours. It is awesome! Growing up my mom used to knit like this, I’ve learned how to do it, but did not use it for a long time and I forgot it. Thanks!!

  30. bernadette permalink
    July 16, 2013 8:12 pm

    hi emily – I used all make one back (right) for the krl and all make one front (left) for all the kll and it is looking beeeyouteeful! thank you so much. on to dividing for sleeves!!!

  31. bernadette permalink
    June 26, 2013 8:13 am

    hi again,
    do you have a tutorial for the kll and krl called for?
    when I go to various knit help sites, there are different explanations out there…
    thanks! bernadette

    • July 9, 2013 9:45 am

      Hi Bernadette – thanks for your question! There are links on our abbreviation page which show how to do Kll and Krl. But FYI you don’t have to use these particular increases – M1 or m1r and m1l will work just fine too! Hope this helps! Emily

  32. bernadette permalink
    June 26, 2013 7:37 am

    hi Emily,
    I did the provisional cast on (woo hoo! new life skill!) and the set up row on the WS. Now I am confused as the pattern describes first row, second row on page 1 with m1 increases, then row 1 and row 2 on page 2 with krl kll increases. should the very first two rows (ok, really not the first two since I have the set up row, hehe) use krl and kll as the m1 increases???
    thanks! bernadette

    • July 9, 2013 9:47 am

      Hi Bernadette – because of the way you work the KLL and KRL, it is impossible to use these kind of increases on the very first row (after a provisional cast-on). That’s why the first increase row uses M1 instead (because there is a bar you can pick up). Then after that you can switch to KLL and KRL per the pattern, OR work M1 if you prefer at the increase points! Hope this helps! Emily

  33. Tess permalink
    January 31, 2013 10:37 am

    great tutorial, thank you. What I would like to ask is, how do I know how many stitches to cast on and HOW do I devide into 4, is it equal amount?
    Front- is it every 2 front rows (on the 4th row?, back and front)counted.

  34. August 25, 2012 8:47 am

    Your instructions are awesome!! I am a beginning knitter and an even more beginning blogger…so learning both by reading this :)

  35. susana permalink
    August 16, 2012 3:55 pm

    Gracias por compartir. Susana


  1. Sweater Techniques Series – Gramps Baby Cardigan – 6 / 6 : Finishing Touches | Tin Can Knits
  2. Sweater Techniques Series – Gramps Baby Cardigan – 5 / 6 : Shawl Collar and Button Band | Tin Can Knits
  3. Sweater Techniques Series – Gramps Baby Cardigan – 4 / 6 : Top-Down Sweater Construction – Body and Arms | Tin Can Knits
  4. Sweater Techniques Series – Gramps Baby Cardigan – 2 / 6 : Beginning a Knitting Project | Tin Can Knits
  5. Free Tutorial: How To Knit Top Down Baby Cardigan » Da'Knit

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