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Part 2 – Easy Top-Down Raglan Knitalong

August 24, 2010

Hi Spud & Chloë Friends,

Wow! We are off to a good start!

Please be sure to go to the Friends of Spud & Chloë knitalong thread and the comments on the posts here if you have any questions because they may have already been answered. There has already been a lot of correspondence back and forth. Please check in on our Facebook page for sneak peeks and updates, too. Here are a few comments from Wendy Bernard that were posted to the Ravelry knitalong thread (click here to see this thread) to start.

From Wendy: My yarn won’t arrive until tomorrow and I will probably be casting on Wednesday (Aug. 25th) or so. My plan is to simply let you all know what I’m doing but I don’t think I will make a new “recipe.” Doing this alteration will require a little bit of a sense of adventure, and I know you have it!

If you want to gets started without me:

The first step to a boat neck is to simply measure around your neck/shoulders to decide how wide you want your boat neck to be (estimate on the lower side because it will stretch; you can also look at similar patterns in your books and magazines and see what the schematic tells you. Look at Ingenue in Custom Knits for an idea, if you have the book).

Then, based on that number of inches/stitches, use the current instructions to determine how to separate your stitches into sleeve/front/sleeve/back. Place markers, and join in round. Work either an inch or two of your desired edging (don’t have to add later if you don’t want to), then, after that is done, begin your raglan shaping, i,e. kfb on either side of markers. Try on as you go!

When your armhole depth is about what you want (works best if it is a bit shorter), count the number of stitches in one sleeve portion and decide if that circumference is about right. If so, move on. If not, let us know and we will tell you what to do. There are lots of ways to tweak this type of raglan.

From Wendy: If there is someone in the KAL who desires to do a cardigan, I’m sure they’d be happy to include their mods, though. (Wendy is referring to a question on the Ravelry thread about making a cardigan here.)

Also note, if you happen to have a copy of Custom Knits, there is a lot of information on working cardigans from the recipe.

Remember, the ONLY difference between working a cardigan and a pullover is that with a cardigan you don’t join in the round. You work flat, back and forth in one piece. A pullover is joined in the round and worked that way down to the hem.

From Susan: I am only providing the recipe for the pullover, crew-neck raglan this time around. I have so many first-time sweater knitters participating that I want to keep things as simple as possible. Please feel free to make any modifications on your own! It’s your sweater and I want you to love it.

Also, instead of asking ahead of time and individually for information that will be posted here in a day or so, please be patient. It is all coming in a timely fashion. I am trying my hardest to answer a large number of questions on Facebook, email and Ravelry and the blog comments here. Plus, I am knitting right along with you all and trying to get the blog posts up. It is all fun and fast and I love it but please be patient. I am only one man (so to speak). And a lucky man, at that, to have you all here.

Thanks for everyone joining in. I am so appreciative that Wendy has been jumping in to help with advice and to answer questions. What an opportunity for us all. Thank you, Wendy!!

So let’s get back to business.

Grilled cheese and a neckline! What a great combination. TC’s a good sport.

I ended up working to 3 inches (for Step 6) for TC’s raglan just as I did for the Grape Jelly raglan.

These photos aren’t the best but I want you to see how simple this measurement is. I wrapped my sweater, still on the needles, around TC’s neck and looked at where the first and last stitches would fall on her neckline. When I got to a point that looked good I stopped knitting. That’s it!

I had a couple of questions about the 2 to 3 inch length for Step 6. If you want a closer fitting crew-neck you would knit to maybe 2 inches (or whatever measurement is right at the bottom of your throat), if you want more of a slight scoop neck you would knit to maybe 3 inches (or whatever measurement you’d like). TC and I both don’t enjoy a closer fitting neckline and we will be layering our sweaters to keep warm in our Wisconsin winters. Our necklines are a little looser fitting.

Remember that we will be picking up around the neckline to add an edging so that will add another inch or so around your neck.

It’s up to you and your neckline preference!

Now that we have our neckline to the point where we want to join across the front here is what to do next.

The steps are from Wendy Bernard’s book Custom Knits on pp. 154-155. I highly recommend this book!

Step 7: Joining the neckline at the front.

Once you have reached the desired length for the scoop of the neckline you will be figuring out the number of stitches to cast on to join the fronts to begin working in the round.

For example:

Grape Jelly Raglan: measures 3-inches from the cast on edge

TC’s Raglan: measures 3-inches from the cast on edge

Count the number of stitches you have in the back section. Remember that on your needles you have the stitches in this order between the stitch markers: front section, sleeve top, back section, sleeve top, front section.

For example:

Grape Jelly Raglan: back section = 48 stitches

48 stitches = the number of Back stitches

TC’s Raglan: back section = 44 stitches

44 stitches = the number of Back stitches

Now count the number of stitches in each of the front sections. Add the 2 front section number of stitches together.

For example:

Grape Jelly Raglan: each front section = 18 stitches

18+18 = 36 stitches

36 stitches = total number of Front stitches

TC’s Raglan: each front section = 18 stitches

18+18 = 36 stitches

36 stitches = total number of Front stitches

Now subtract the total number of Front stitches from the number of Back stitches.  This is the number of stitches to cast on to join across the fronts.

Back stitches – total Front stitches = the number of stitches to cast on

For example:

Grape Jelly Raglan: 48 (back) – 36 (total front) = 12 stitches (number of stitches to cast on to join the fronts)

TC’s Raglan: 44 (back) – 36 (total front) = 8 stitches (number of stitches to cast on to join the fronts)

Note: Basically you want to cast on the number of stitches across the front so the number of Front stitches = the number of Back stitches.

Knit across the next right side row, continue with the increases on each side of the stitch markers, to the end of the row. Using the backwards loop cast on method, cast on the number of stitches to join the Fronts. Now join to work in the round by continuing to knit across the left front up to the first increase raglan line or one stitch before the next stitch marker. I placed a separate removable stitch marker on this stitch to indicate the first stitch of the round for the Grape Jelly Raglan.

Continue increasing 8 stitches (kfb in each stitch before and after each stitch marker on the raglan increase lines) on every other round until the raglan lines reach to about 1-inch below your underarm.

Important Note: The way to try on your sweater to take this measurement is to take a long cut piece of scrap yarn and place the end on a yarn needle. Pull the scrap yarn through all of the stitches and then remove the circular needles. The stitches will now be on the scrap yarn only. Now your sweater is flexible and you can try it on.

After you try it on, place the stitches back on your circular needles and pull out the scrap yarn. You want to replace your needles by starting at the removable stitch marker that marks the first stitch of the round. Then you will be all set to continue right on.

The measurement to 1-inch below your underarm will determine the length of your sleeve opening so this is an important measurement. I actually measured many of my other raglan sweaters and tried it on as I worked to determine how long I would make this measurement. I measured along the raglan line from the cast on edge to get my measurements.

For example:

Grape Jelly Raglan: I worked until the raglan increase line measured 9 1/2 inches from the cast on edge.

TC’s Raglan: I am approximating that I will work to about 8 1/2 inches, measuring along the raglan increase line from the cast on edge. I will be trying the sweater top on TC to double check this measurement as I work. This is only a guess at this point and I will keep you posted!

Okay! Carry on with Step 7. There are only 3 more steps to go but lots more knitting as we tackle the body and the sleeves.

By the way, I have been getting asked about the stripes. I am just randomly striping as I go with no plan in mind. I have used up about 5 tiny balls of leftover Sweater right now. I love that. The largest stripes so far have 4 rounds and the smallest, 1 round.

Here is a photo of the Grape Jelly Raglan at the Step 7 point. I had worked a couple of inches after joining to work in the round.

I’ll be back soon with more! Have fun.

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