Even though most sweater patterns that I have knitted (e.g. Corinne cardigan by Crystal Erb Junkins) were great and beautifully written, I tend to be unwilling to really follow the pattern. Following a pattern seems to take more of my concentration than trying something of my own. (And I want to be clear that up until now it's never been the pattern's fault, but just me being me.)
This blog post is NOT A PATTERN (far from it) but a collections of tools, techniques and links that can help you when you're designing and knitting a similar sweater yourself.
In this post I assume that your already familiar with the general concept of a top-down raglan sweater. If you've never done this, here's a nice blog post by Knitting Pure and Simple that explains the idea or try to read this Raglan tutorial by Kirsten Tendyke - or knit a top-down pattern such as Buttercup by Heidi Kirrmaier or Gemini by Jane Richmond. (Here's a list of the free, knitted top-down sweaters on Ravelry; you must be logged in to make this link work.)
This work by Knitting and so on is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Measuring, swatching and planning raglan increases
Usually, I don't like knitting swatches - for smaller projects (fingerless gloves etc.), it's just not worth my while. Even if it doesn't fit, I generally can see this early enough, i.e. after about the same time, it'd take to knit the swatch. However, everytime I skipped swatching for a sweater or another big project, I only ended up just knitting a bigger swatch, like half a sweater or two thirds of a cardigan. Therefore, I really (REALLY) recommend knitting a swatch in garter stitch for anything a big as a sweater.
The best way to take measurements is to use another sweater that really fits you well. The measurements depend on the type of sweater you want to knit (e.g. for a V-neck sweater, you'd want to measure the depth of the neckline) - the raglan calculators (listed below) require different measurements.
For the sweater in this picture, I measured according to this picture. A is the width of the neckline, and B the width of the arm part. I knitted in the round (stitches for A, stitch marker, stitches for B, stitch marker, stitches for A, stitch marker, stitches for B, stitch marker - join in round).
To know how to increase, you can use one of the following raglan calculators:
To be honest, I have never used any of these calculators, I prefer to do increases around the stitch markers - and stop increasing when I have reached the desired width (C or D) and then going on without increasing until the yoke piece is long enough (I). But if you want to distribute your increases evenly over the length of your yoke, you should calculate your increases.
After finishing the yoke part, I put the arm stitches on scrap yarn, cast-on a few underarm stitches and placed a stitch marker at the middle of my underarm stitches.
Increases and decreases for a fitted sweater
In order to knit a fitted sweater, I'd measured my chest (E), my waist (F) and the width at the sweater's lower edge (G) - as well as the corresponding heights (I, J and K). To fit the sweater to my size, I knitted increases and decreases at the underarm stitch markers, i.e. down the sides of the sweater.
Traveling jogless stripes
When knitting stripes in the round, the color change can be seen as a visible jog.
A technique to avoid this is called traveling jogless stripes, which is done as follows: When changing to another color knit one round of that new color; when reaching the first stitch of that color, slip that stitch purlwise and replace the marker that indicates the beginning of your round from before that stitch to behind that stitch. This way the beginning of the round keeps traveling as long as you keep changing colors.
A more detailed explanation can be found at techknitting blog or in this YouTube video by New Stitch a Day.
Carrying yarn up
If you're anything like me, you'd want to avoid having to cut your yarn everytime you change colors (and consequently to avoid too many ends to weave in) and at the same time to avoid long floats on the WS of your piece,
To do this you have to connect the yarn in the color that's not used every few rows, i.e. when you come to the end-of-round marker, wrap it around your working yarn before knitting the next stitch.
The technique is shown in this YouTube video by karin kelly-burns.
The photo on the right shows how the WS looks when using both the jogless stripe technique while carrying up your yarn.
Avoiding holes at the underarm stitches
I always pick up more stitches under the arm than I have cast-on after the yoke part. Usually, about 2 at the side (i.e. the gap between the last arm stitch from my scrap yarn and the stitches cast-on after the yoke), than the cast-on stitches and two more at the other side. In the next two rows, I usually decrease the stitches from the gap. This avoids the potential holes.
Here's a YouTube video by TheKnittingArts that shows this technique.
How to try it on while knitting
If you want to check whether the sweater fits you, you need to be able to try it on while it's still on the needles. This is easier, if you do the following:
- Put all arm stitches on a long piece of scrap yarn - at least twice as long as the circumference of your upper arm (and secured with a slipknot). That way the hole is big enough to let your arm through when trying it on.
- For the body part, it helps to distribute the stitches on two circular needles before trying it on (e.g. I have two 4.5mm circulars that I used for the pictured project - one 80 cm and one 60 cm). Afterwards, you can go on knitting with one needle.