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Knitting – How To Add Shaping To A Sweater Pattern
I think I’m addicted to knitting sweaters. I love knitting super simple and quick sweaters – using gorgeous yarns in gorgeous colors. And while I traditionally love top-down models, there are a few aspects that don’t quite fit my tastes. Take pattern 992 from Knitting Pure and Simple, for example. I’d love to make a version in a fun chunky yarn, but I need to make a few changes first.
- First, the sizes are a little too big for me. The smallest chest measurement is a 38 and I really like that mine is around 34 (yes, I know you all feel sorry for me).
- Second, the sleeve section just below the armhole is too loose. I prefer it to be snug.
- Third, I wish the waist had a bit of shape…
Here is how I can achieve these goals.
- make it smaller: The breast reduction theory is simple – you want fewer stitches. For example, let’s say your gauge is 3 m/inch. If the finished chest size is 38 inches, you will knit 38×3 = 114 stitches for the body of the sweater. If you want the finished chest size to be a little smaller (for example, 34 inches), you will need to remove 4 inches from the body, or 12 stitches (4×3=12). So subtract 12 from 114 and you get 102… This is the number of stitches you want to have on your needle as you knit the body. For KPS models, we can further simplify the calculations. At first she tells you to knit until there are 55 sts between the back markers – for the 38 inch chest. To reduce the bust size by 4 inches, we need to remove 12 stitches in total: 6 from the front and 6 from the back. So…subtract 6 from 55 (which gives you 49) and that’s the number you’ll knit. Basically, you can write ’49’ before 55, creating an even smaller size!
- Tighten the sleeves: This change is simple. Instead of waiting to do your first sleeve decrease (remember you start at the top) for 6 rows, repeat the decrease every other row 3 times…then follow the pattern as shown.
- Adding formatting: To add shape to this sweater from top to bottom, you want to gradually decrease about 2 inches of stitches (at each side seam) to 1.5 inches above the waist, knit 3 inches solid, then the gradually increase again. So in the 4 stitches/inch example, you’re going to want to decrease 8 stitches in total (1 on each side 4 times). Note that the standard measurement from the waist to the shoulders is 17 inches.
Thanks to these techniques, I am able to knit a sweater that fits me exactly the way I want it!
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