Once you reach the end of the yoke for your size, it’s a good idea to first work the row where you place your markers for the sleeves, then transfer all your stitches to either waste yarn or a reeeeeeaaaallllly long circular needle and try it on. If you’re using waste yarn, just thread a couple yards of scrap yarn onto a blunt yarn needle and slip all of the stitches right onto the waste yarn. If you’re using a long circular that’s the same sizes as your pattern needles, you can knit that marker placement row right onto the long needle (here’s where a set of interchangable needles and a spare extra long cable is very handy).
The yoke should come to your armpits.
Since the fabric can roll up a bit, especially if you have it on a long circular needle as I did (it tends to behave more naturally on waste yarn, when it’s not fighting the curl of a cable), and because this particular sweater is fitted, you might want to hold down the edge of the yoke at your pits when you check the fit. I pulled mine down just barely, since I know the fabric will relax just a hair after its bath. Working the whole thing chicken-arms fashion as I’m doing here also lets me try the fit of the shoulders with some action.
Here you’re checking both that the yoke fits your shoulders comfortably and that it reaches your armpits without any gymnastics. If the fit’s not quite right for your shoulders, you can always work another repeat before you divide.
You’re also checking the position of the arms relative to the body. Remember, you’ll cast on extra stitches under the armpit, so there’s no need for it to reach into your pit. (If you’ve worked extra repeats for broad shoulders and you have an otherwise smaller build, this may occur; see the second Broad Shoulders mod, below.)
If everything’s hunky dory & you’re working the pattern as-is, jump down to the detailed pics of my sweater for a step-by-step guide to dividing for sleeves, suitable for top-down virgins.
Broad Shoulders with Broad Ribcage
Place the markers based on your final yoke stitch count. If you find that when the shoulder fit is right, the sleeves are too big, then you can adjust how many stitches you allocate to each section (that’s covered in more detail in this post).
Broad Shoulders with Average/Smaller Ribcage
Place the markers based on your final yoke stitch count. If the markers fall at the right place for your armpits and you know your arms and torso want to be closer to the next size down (from where you landed knitting the extra rounds to accommodate your shoulders), you can reduce or skip entirely the CO stitches at the pits. This will bring your overall dimension on your sleeves and body back in line with the smaller size.
When you try on your yoke, see if there’s room for the sleeve markers to touch comfortably under your pits. If so, skip the CO stitches altogether (just continue across your back stitches after reserving your sleeve stitches, without casting on over the pits).
If you can tell you still need more stitches at the pits, you can use the number for the next size down, or customize your fit how you like–just make sure that if you do CO stitches, that they’re in increments of 4.
Small Shoulders with Bigger Arms/Bigger Ribcage
If the shoulder fit seems good but you have bigger than average arms and ribcage vs. your shoulders, you can cast on extra stitches under the pits in the next step. Always be sure to increase in multiples of 4.
If the shoulder fit seems good but you have a bigger bust than average for your size, you can increase just as you would have if you had worked the next increase round in the progression, but work the increase over the front stitches only on the next rnd.
This warrants a bit more explanation. In the pattern, there’s a jump-off point for each size that occurs just before you get to those two final rnds of the MC in the pattern. As the pattern is written, you use one of the MC rounds to place your markers, getting you to where you are now, and you’d use the next round to transfer your sleeve stitches to waste yarn and cast on your extra stitches over the pits. You don’t increase this round as you have been doing at the end of each repeat.
However, if you want to add in a little extra real estate at the bustline, you can work the next increase rnd along the stitches in the front sections of the sweater. You would work the next logical pattern of increase that would naturally follow after where you left off.
So, if your last increase round had instructions to K1, then [M1, K9] across the rnd, then your super-special bustalicious modification would have you start your round with a K1, [M1, K10] (that is: the next logical increase in the progression) just across to the first marker. Then you’d work as the pattern instructs for the sleeves and back, but after the second sleeve, your start up the increases again and continue to the end, until you hit the steek. In this way, you’d add 20% more stitches just to the front section.
The Great Divide
If you’ve worked a top-down sweater before, you already know how to divide for the sleeves. If not, it might be a bit confusing, so I’m detailing the steps here. This all occurs on that second row of MC, after you’ve placed your markers.
Knit up to that first marker. It marks the first armpit:
Now you can drop the marker, and you’ll transfer all the sleeve stitches (between here and the next marker) onto waste yarn, where they’ll just hang out, minding their own business, until you’re ready for the sleeves. Just thread some waste yarn onto a blunt yarn needle and slide them all off the knitting needle and onto that waste yarn:
Use a couple of feet of waste yarn so there’s plenty of slack if you want to try on the sweater as you work the body. And knot the ends together so your waste yarn can’t accidentally slip out, dropping all your stitches:
Then go back to the point before your sleeve and cast on your armpit stitches. I used a cable cast on (but the type of cast on isn’t important):
Next, just continue to knit the next live stitches, which happen to be your back stitches. You can see how the open future sleeve just hangs down out of the way, and you’ll zip right past it as you work the torso:
Then just repeat for the other sleeve and work back to the center. You’ll have something that looks like this:
From this point, your sleeve stitches will just chill until you’re ready for them, and you’ll work the torso around and around to the end.
I’ll take off from posting for a week, so you’ll have a chance to catch up on the yoke and get ahead on the body.
Don’t forget to post your progress or questions on the Sally Cardigan KAL group on Ravelry and share your project with the group as well (instructions for sharing on the How to Play thread).
And once again, I’ll leave you with some fresh progress from the KAL group:
loraclare’s Cascade 220 in Charcoal & Azure
Sofisan’s yarn was recycled from an H&M sweater!
kisseekisse’s Sheffield in red and light blue
And third time’s the charm for Jean9! You may remember her two Reynolds Whiskey yokes from last week. Well, she decided against the doubled Whiskey and switched to Plymouth Baby Alpaca Worsted in pink & brown.
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