martian mischief

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Location: Athens, Georgia, United States

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

This is a super simple top down pullover that fits. I recommend it for a first sweater. I am sure reading this pattern will make you question everything you believe about making sweaters, but trust me it works. It is based on the percentage sweater system and has automatic built in features that do most of the calculations for you.This pattern will work with everyone from infancy to large adult male. The only figure type that has problems with it is the extremely slim, extremely tall the 6 foot, size 2 woman.You need 4 measurements to make this sweater. They are, head size and you can use averages here, chest size, length of sleeve, (I recommend from center back,across shoulder and down to wrist with the elbow bent) and back length from neckline to where you want the sweater to stop.Rule #1--neckline finish must fit over head. Necklines are proportionately larger in infants and children.Make a test swatch in stockinette stitch to determine stitches per inch. Pick up a set of circular or dpn needles 2 sizes smaller than those you used for your test swatch, Cast on stitches per inch from your test swatch times head size or use 18 inches for infant to toddler, 20 inches for larger children and teens, 22 inches for adults, 24 inches for large head sizes. Body size is no indication of head size. You only need a size 24 if you can't find hats that fit when you shop. A multiple of 6 is nice but not critical. Work your ribbing circularly using a marker for beginning of row.Work in ribbing of your choice. 1 to 1 1/2 inch of ribbing for crew neck, 4 to 6 inches of ribbing for turtleneck. Doing a v-neck involves doing short rows, but it can be done also, as can crossed v, shawl collars, etc.On the last row of your ribbing, insert a total of 4 markers. Starting at your beginning of the row marker (a different color from the rest) work 1/6 of your total number of stitches for the right sleeve, place marker, work 1/3 of total number of stitches for the front, place marker, work 1/6 total number of stitches for left sleeve, place marker, work remaining 1/3 total number of stitches for back and you are back to the beginning of row marker. If your stitches do not divide into 6th equally, fudge it putting extra stitches into the back and front or more in the front than in the back. Now switch to stockinette stitch and alternate these two rows. Row 1--knit all stitches Row 2--starting at marker, k1, increase 1, knit to one stitch before marker, increase 1, k1, slip marker. Repeat a total of 4 times until you are back at beginning of row marker.Increases: you can use any increase you prefer. The simplest is a YO which makes a row of holes on both sides of the raglan line. Barbara Walker describes 7 different types of increases that can be made. It gives a better appearance to do opposite increases before and after the marker.Continue alternating those two rows until the measurement across the front is equal to 1/2 of your actual body chest measurement. When it is, you are at the underarm.Beginning with the start of row marker, place sleeve stitches on a yarn stitch holder. Thread contrasting, smooth scrap yarn or dental floss on a yarn needle and pass it through the sleeve stitches on the needle. Tie the ends of the yarn together loosely. Metal yarn holders will stretch out and distort the end stitches and are not recommended, you need something flexible. You can drop all markers except the beginning of the row marker.The stitches you will now cast on provide the ease of the sweater. 4 inches is the average or regular amount, so that would be 2 inches under each arm. Your yarn is at the beginning of row marker, using the knitted on or cable cast on, cast on 2 inches of stitches, knit across the front, cast on another 2 inches and place the other sleeve stitches on their yarn holder, knit across the back and you are back at the beginning of the row markers.Continue knitting around and around until the measurement from the back of the neck to the bottom of the sweater is equal to your desired length minus the ribbing. Change to ribbing and when it is finished, bind off. Go back and replace one of the sleeves on your knitting needle. Now, on the area where you cast on the stitches under the arm, pick up a stitch in each one of those stitches. Look at what you have done, if there are any gaps between the sleeve stitches and the ones you have picked up, pick up extra stitches there so you don't get a hole. On the next row you can make decreases to correct your stitch count. Join in a circle and begin knitting the sleeve.For a full sleeve, knit straight until it is 1 1/2 inches shorter than desired length, work 1 row of k2tog then switch to your smaller needles and work 2 to 3 inches of ribbing, bind off. The most common mistake new knitters make is to get the sleeves too short. That is because they don't know how to meaure for them. If you measure from the center back like I described above, you don't have that problem.Complete second sleeve the same way. Work in yarn tails and you are finished.Refinements:Use short rows to raise the back neckline slightly for better fit over the shoulders.Taper the sleeve, just ask and I'll post the directions. Tapered sleeves involve math and a stitch and row gauge.Ribbing: I find that I am satisfied figuring out how long to make ribbing using this formula that I call 1,2,3. 1 being 1 inch for a crew neck, 2 being 2 inches for the bottom of the sweater and 3 being the ribbing for the sleeves. Now that would be for a child's sweater. For an adult, you might use 1 1/2 inches for crew neck, 3 inches for bottom and 4 1/2 inches for sleeves or 3, 4, and 6, or any general proportion similar to that. You cannot make a mistake in how much ribbing you put on your sweater so don't fret over it.