Sunday, June 10, 2012

Knitalong: The Front, Shoulders and Sleeves

When we last spoke, you and I had finished the back of the pullover. I had a cocktail, did you?
One reader emailed me about the front neck split, asking if she had to knit it that way. Of course not! That's why I said that the pattern was merely a suggestion. I did the split, but now I think it would have been just as nice to make the front the same as the back, exactly, or to do a few less rows to lower the neck in front.
It's your choice. If you decide to make the neckline split, here's how. Knit up to the armhole (measure it against the finished back piece), and bind off the same number of stitches as the back, 12 for each armhole. Then count the remaining center stitches, find the center one or two, depending on your stitch count, knit to and bind off the center stitch/es and attach a second skein of yarn. Work both sides of the front on the needles at the same time, being careful to always knit both sides to the end before leaving the scene. This will make it easier to know where you left off, so both sides end up the same length. If this is all too much, then just knit the front exactly like the back.
Now we are ready to do the three needle bind off at the shoulders.  As you recall I asked you to put the shoulder stitches on waste yarn, and now they are live stitches ready to put on the needles, right sides together, wrong side toward you. You will need another needle for this technique.
Rather than write a lengthy explanation, here's a lovely silent video showing you how to do it.

Above right is the finished bound off shoulder seam, inside view, and next is the shoulder seam from the right side. The shoulder stitches are nice and firmly attached to each other and now you are ready to do the sleeves.
You will recall that I asked you to slip the first stitch of every row. This makes a nice chain edge. Now is when that chain edge is really handy. You will be picking up and knitting as shown in another silent video

How many stitches will you pick up? The chain edge count will equal the amount you pick up. Somewhere between 48-60. I picked up 53 stitches for a 13" finished armhole and wrote it down to make sure the second sleeve was the same as the first. Just pick up the straight part of the arm, not the bound off stitches. See photo.
Then knit the sleeve in straight garter for as long as you like, or as much yarn as remains. I knew I would not have enough yarn for a full 17-18" sleeve, so I bound off when I saw the end was near.
That's it. Both sleeves are knit and bound off and it's time to block it to size. We'll sew it up after it's blocked.
To make it simple I decided to steam block it instead of dunking it in the sink, squeezing it out and fiddling with it.
Steam blocking requires a sheet of cotton for a press cloth, some water to soak it in, and an iron. A thick towel and a guest bed or big ironing surface might be useful too. I used my padded worktable, and a big heavy towel. Placing the pullover on the table, wrong side up, measure the dimensions of the body and decide if you need it wider or longer. My 80 stitch cast on was a little shy of the 20 inches I was hoping for, so I wanted to coax the knitting to meet that dimension.

Using the dampened press cloth and a hot iron, gently glide the iron over the press cloth topped knitting listening for the hissing of steam. It is the steam that will do the trick. Remove the press cloth and coax the knitting to the desired dimensions. Use stainless pins to maintain the shape.

I went for 20.5" in width and pulled the length a bit too. I made the armholes larger too, but essentially nothing was stretched too far, just RELAXED a bit. If you do make the neckline split, it should be pinned in placed, or it will stretched out too far. After steaming, allow it to cool and dry before seaming...tomorrow. Feel free to ask me anything about this process. Email Me.

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  1. Bev Longford7:21 AM

    I am enjoying reading the knitalong and wanted to thank you for the video links. I have been a knitter for years and have a wool stash that matches my fabric in size but I have never been able to do the mattress stitch to finish a project. Clicked on your link and easy peasy finished off a sweater last night, couldn't believe how easy it was. Duh.

    Bev Longford

  2. I started the knitalong with some yarn in my stash, but after knitting one skein, I know I will run out of yarn. So then I found some boucle yarn that there is plenty of and I will start again. So could the rest of you following along please wait until I catch up?

  3. I got some lovely Noro yarn to do this KAL with. I did swatch and in that process determined I want the strips to run vertically. So I'm revising radically but still knitting along!

  4. oh my goodness! You are a fast knitter! I am behind already, but hope to have the back finished sometime today. Now off to click the needles! Thank you for helping us with this Melody!

  5. I have finally finished the back. Will now start on the front. I think I am a slow knitter, so I suspect I will need 4 or 5 days to complete the front and then another 4 or 5 days for the sleeves.
    Veronica Von Zwehl


So nice of you to drop by. I love your comments, and if you would really like a reply, please email me at fibermania at g mail dot com