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HACK: a multi-hack Flax

January 12, 2017
Speckled Flax Hack


Well, hacking the Flax sweater is officially one of our favourite activities. This one started with a lovely yarn and sort of meandered it’s way to the final sweater. I usually have some sort of plan when I cast on a sweater, but for this one I kind of winged it. If you haven’t already checked them out yet, take a look at the lacy and cabled flax hacks we shared recently.


It all started with an Instagram post by @houseofalamode (House of A La Mode) . Heather posted this beautiful speckled colour, somewhat Christmas-y, called Tinsel. I had to have it! I ordered up 3 skeins of DK with vague plans of a Christmas sweater for Bodhi. When the yarn arrived Hunter declared it hers and said ‘please will you knit me a sweater with this?!’.  A 5-year-old who is enthusiastic about a knitted sweater? I couldn’t resist.

hacked flax!

I really enjoy speckled yarns. They are wild and fun and such a joy to knit with. Colour changes with practically every stitch! They can be a bit overbearing though, so I had a good long debate with myself (and anyone who would listen) over whether to stripe this beautiful yarn with a solid to keep it a little subdued. If it had been a sweater for me I might have gone that route, but for my Kindergartener, why not go a little wild?


With a yarn this fun, it had to be a simple sweater so I took a little look at the numbers for Flax and cast on. My yarn was a plumpy DK so I knit it at a gauge of 20 sts per 4 inches on a US #7 / 4.5mm needles. I cast on for the XS to achieve more or less a size 8-10 (which is the size Hunter wears in commercial clothing, she’s big for 5).

I wanted the neckline to be a little lower in front so I worked a little short row shaping at the back neck. Then, instead of working a garter panel on the sleeves, I went with a garter front and back with stockinette sleeves. I did not, as a good knitter should, swatch in garter. Since it was a sweater for a youngster I figured it was okay if the body came out a little big. It did, and it is fine.


I also wanted to add a hi-low hem. I like my sweaters a little longer in the back than the front, so I added short row shaping at the back hem. If this is a look you are after here approximately how is how it’s done:

Adding a lower hemline at the back, when working a top-down sweater:

First, locate your BOR at left underarm, the back sts will be the first half of the round.

Step 1: work 1/2 of your stitches, PM, work to end (this places a marker at the other underarm)
Step 2: work to 3 sts past the marker, w&t
Step 3: work to 3 sts past the BOR marker, w&t
Step 4: work to 2 sts before wrapped stitch, w&t

Repeat step 4 until your hemline is the desired amount lower than the front. For my sweater I worked a total of 12 short rows, making my hem about 1.5 inches lower than the front. The amount of short rows you work will depend on your row gauge and how much lower you want your hem to be.

There you have it! A little late, but Hunter got her wild and speckled Christmas sweater!

More speckle-friendly designs by TCK:







19 Comments leave one →
  1. Annette permalink
    September 10, 2019 1:24 am

    Great jumper, the best colours! How to find yarn that looks that good in an adult scale jumper? Pure luck?

  2. Brenda Hill permalink
    February 5, 2019 8:27 am

    I am looking for a split hem hack for the flax light. I am not having luck finding one.

    • February 6, 2019 9:26 am

      Hi Brenda – to create a split hem knit the body to the desired length, then, turn you work and work back 1/2 of the sts. Work on these sts (1/2 of the body sts) until your hem is the desired length. Bind off all sts. Then work the other 1/2 of the sts in the same way.

      You have some edging options, you can work your split hem in garter, or stockinette with a garter edge, or in ribbing (1×1, 1×2 etc). You might also want to slip the first stitch of each row to give your edge a tidy look.

  3. Jess permalink
    January 31, 2017 3:23 pm

    Great sweater! Did you keep one stitch in stockinette at the sides of the body? I see a kind of “faux seam” there and I’m wondering how you did that. Thanks!

    • February 2, 2017 12:56 pm

      Hi Jess – well spotted! I did do a faux seam with a single stockinette stitch at the underarm on the body. I did it as I went, but I kind of wish I had completed the body and then dropped the stitch down and picked it up in stockinette with a crochet hook. It would have been a little tighter/neater.

  4. January 18, 2017 1:21 pm

    Such a cute and colorful sweater with a retro look. I’d wear that as an adult.

  5. Deborah Schmidt permalink
    January 13, 2017 5:14 am

    Love the hacks and Flax! I’m confused about which markers you are referring to in the back of neck shaping. Are the short rows only done on the back stitches or across part of the sleeve stitches?

    • January 16, 2017 11:30 am

      Hi Deborah – the way we wrote them they are only on the back stitches. If you prefer to work the short rows into the sleeves (which is a great idea) you just want to work the same number of sts in to the sleeve on both sides.

  6. January 12, 2017 1:19 pm

    Hmmm I promised myself not to start a new project before finishing the one I’m working on but…. Looks interesting :)

  7. Maria Eugenia Roca permalink
    January 12, 2017 7:31 am

    I love Flax so much! And all your Flax hacks as well. :)

    In 2015 I knitted 3 Flax sweaters, one for each of my nephews. But now it’s time to knit one for me! :)

    I’d like to knit the neckline a little lower in the front, but I don’t know neither where exactly to do the short rows nor how to calculate them. Maybe you explained it in another Flax hack and I missed it? I’d be great if you can give me some advice on it. :)

    Thanks in advance.

    • January 12, 2017 12:08 pm

      Hi Eugenia

      I don’t believe we did (but I’m adding it to my list!). To do short row shaping for the Flax it goes like this:
      Back Neck shaping comes after the set up round but before the increase round.
      Back neck shaping:
      knit to 2 stitches before second marker, w&t
      purl to 2 stitches before first marker, w&t
      knit to 2 stitches before gap, w&t
      purl to 2 stitches before gap, w&t
      repeat last 2 rows 0 (0, 0, 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 3, 3, 4, 4, 4, 5, 5, 5, 5) more times.
      Knit to end of round.
      Next round: [p 10 (11, 12, 13, 13, 14, 14, 15, 15, 15, 15, 15, 16, 16, 17, 17, 17), k20 (22, 24, 26, 26, 28, 33, 33, 37, 39, 41, 44, 47, 52, 55, 60, 63)] twice

      • Cheryl permalink
        April 18, 2018 7:16 pm

        You could also just CO for 1 st of front-sleeve-back-sleeve-1 st of front, and work back & forth (rows), adding the front sts by CO’ing at each end of the std, until you have all the std needed. This method actually “lowers” the front neckline. Short rows at the back “raises” the back but doesn’t lower the front (as much as I suspect most people would want in a crew or jewel neckline).

      • April 19, 2018 10:09 pm

        Hi Cheryl – Your way would work too, they have the exact same effect though. You have more rows at the back neck and fewer rows at the front

      • Cheryl permalink
        April 18, 2018 7:19 pm

        P.s. for the scheme I have described, start with the neck **after** the ribbing…add the neck edge later.

      • Tori Lewis permalink
        December 30, 2018 7:19 pm

        Hi there ! I would like to give this a try (also my first time knitting this sweater!) but am confused about the start point. Do you start after the “marker set up” or after “set up round 2” and before “round 1” in the pattern.


      • December 31, 2018 9:15 pm

        Hi Tori – sorry, I’m not understanding the question, start what exactly?

      • Julie permalink
        February 3, 2019 2:37 pm

        Hi! I have this question as well. When do you do the back neck shaping? Do you do it after you have your 1.5″ of ribbing, which is just before the increase round? And does it then eliminate the increase round? Your last instruction that says “next round: ” the stitch counts for some of the sizes seem different than anything I see in the pattern. Sorry , I’m confused :-)

      • February 4, 2019 10:38 am

        Hi Julie – For this one I did it at the same time as some of the raglan increases, so I figured out how many extra raglan increases I would have around the back markers and cast on that many fewer stitches in those sections only. Another options would be to do short row shaping after the raglan increases before the split. You could make your short rows longer in that case, going into the sleeves.

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