Sweater Techniques Series – Gramps Baby Cardigan – 4 / 6 : Top-Down Sweater Construction – Body and Arms
At the end of last week’s tutorial we completed the yoke of the Gramps cardigan. So far it doesn’t look like much, but I assure you that we are well on our way to completing an outrageously adorable baby garment!
This tutorial is part 4 of a 6-part tutorial covering sweater knitting techniques. To start at the beginning, see this post.
Today we will knit the body and the arms of the sweater, and the project will begin to resemble a proper little old man cardigan! As I showed in the previous post, the process of knitting a top-down sweater is as follows:
Last week’s tutorial covered how to cast on and knit the yoke of the sweater. This week we will be knitting the body and arms, which are quite straightforward.
HOW TO SEPARATE THE BODY AND ARMS OF A TOP-DOWN SWEATER
In order to knit the body, you need to separate the total stitches of the yoke into stitches that will become the body, and the stitches that will become the arms. It will also be necessary to cast on some stitches at the underarm. (be sure to follow the pattern instructions for the size YOU are knitting. I am knitting the smallest size, and therefore I am using the instructions in red.)
The pattern instructions read:
On the next RS Row, divide body and arms as follows: k23 (25,25,27), put next 33 (35,36,37) sts on hold on waste yarn, cast on 5 (5,7,7) sts, k47 (49,51,55), put next 33 (35,36,37) sts on hold using waste yarn, cast on 5 (5,7,7) sts, knit to end. [103 (109,115,123) sts]
Below is a diagram showing graphically what this means:
Once you have knit the across left front (the number of stitches indicated in the pattern), and put the arm stitches on hold (by using a blunt needle to thread a piece of waste yarn through them), you cast on stitches for the underarm. This can be done a couple of different ways, but I suggest the backward loop cast-on method.
BACKWARD LOOP CAST-ON METHOD
Use the working yarn to add loops to the RH needle. 1 new Loop = 1 stitch cast on. The loops must be made such that they do not come off the needle, so the outside part of the loop catches the yarn and binds it against the work. An image is better than any words:
So here we begin:
So you will:
- knit across the left front,
- then cast on stitches for the underarm and put arm stitches on hold,
- then knit across the back, then cast on stitches for underarm and put arm stitches on hold,
- then knit across the right front
Your yoke is now split into body and arm stitches, and if you squint your eyes and imagine, you see that the strange piece of knitting is beginning to take the shape of a cardigan! At this point you can count your stitches to be sure that you now have the correct number on the needles.
The body of the cardigan in this case is very simple; follow the pattern and knit the majority in stockinette stitch, then switch to your contrast colour to work the ribbed bottom band. I suggest that you bind of ‘in pattern’ on the wrong side (WS) of the work. Binding off in pattern is simple; as you are binding off, you knit the stitches as they lie before binding off. So if the stitch is a knit stitch, you knit it, or if it’s a purl stitch you purl it, before binding off as usual by lifting the first stitch over the second stitch and off the needles. I suggest that you do this on the wrong side of the work, because I find it produces a slightly neater edge on the right side.
Voila! You now have a sleeveless cardigan! Next you move onto the sleeves!
HOW TO KNIT THE SLEEVES IN THE ROUND FROM UNDERARM TO CUFF
You will knit one sleeve at a time. To begin, put the stitches that you have on hold on waste yarn back on the needles. You can do this by inserting your needle through each of the stitches, following alongside the waste yarn.
Once you have your needle through all of the stitches, you can cut the waste yarn and pull it out.
Pick up 5 (5,7,7) sts from the body at the underarm. Mark the centre stitch of these 5 (5,7,7) sts; this will be the first stitch of the round. Knit around 33 (35,36,37) held sts, and 2 (2,3,3) of the 5 (5,7,7) picked-up sts, to the new start of the round. [38 (40,43,44) sts]
HOW TO PICK UP STITCHES
To pick up a stitch you insert your RH needle through the work from right side to wrong side, and with the working yarn in the back, wrap around the needle, and use the needle to pull a loop through the fabric to the right side of the work. Do this the number of times indicated by the pattern. Then mark the middle of these stitches.
HOW TO KNIT A SLEEVE IN THE ROUND
Follow the pattern, knitting in the round, and decreasing as the pattern specifies:
…work decrease round every 5th round a total of 5 times…
This means that you will simply knit every stitch on rounds 1,2,3,4, then work a decrease round on round 5, then knit every stitch on rounds 6,7,8,9, then work a decrease round on round 10, and so on for a total of 5 decrease rounds.
Continue following the pattern until the sleeve is the specified length, then switch to your contrast colour to work the ribbed cuff the same as at the bottom of the body.
Then work the second sleeve the same as the first! Voila – now your project actually looks like a tiny little sweater!
The body and arms are done, and there are only a few finishing touches before this über cute project is complete. 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:
- Shawl Collar and Button Band: Picking Up Stitches along an edge, Short-Row Shaping, Buttonholes
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 by email 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.