he knits/she knits KAL with Konrad and how to make it FIT!

February 10, 2014

Reporting in on my KAL (knit-along) with Konrad.  Konrad is making great strides with his sweater and the needed modifications.  Below he shows what needs to be done to a woman's pullover pattern to modify to suit a man:  bring in the neckline, change waist shaping, add overall length and closer fitting sleeves.  To be honest I'm regretting my decision to back out and not make Pond below.  I was a bit insecure modifying to make it closer fitting but feel if I'd have stretched myself I could have done it.  What first attracted me to the pattern, after the color, was the dropped stitch pattern in the center panel surrounded by plain stockinette on the sides by incorporating short rows.  You can see that best in the second photo showing Konrad's progress in the color Grassland.

I instead went for a pattern I have knit before and one I know can be easily modified for fit.  Margot is a pattern I often recommend to first time top-down sweater knitters.  Here's my plan to make it fit:

Find a sweater you own with similar construction that has the fit you want, be it positive (loose fitting) or negative (tight fitting) ease.  As you knit, occasionally lay it over your sweater to match your size.  When you get to the place where you will separate your sleeve stitches from the body stitches, make sure your arm scythe is where you want it.  For a body skimming (true to size) sweater like I am making, the point where you will separate is right at the center of your armpit.  If you want a loose fitting sweater, add another inch or more of increases.  At this point, if you find that the bust will be too small, but the arm scythe is correct, do this: knit up to the first sleeve, put the sleeve stitches on waste yarn.  Calculate how much extra bust room you need.  If you need another two inches and you are working with worsted weight yarn, then 10 more stitches will add 2 inches.  Cast on half the amount you need, this example would be 5. Put a marker in the center (or close to it) of these cast on stitches. Knit to the next sleeve and repeat.  You now have the arm scythe that fits and extra room in the bust if needed.  Now knit an inch down and it's ready for the first try on.  To do this either add a second circular or put the live stitches on waste yarn.  Does it fit?  If not, now's the time to rip out and adjust.  Go back and make more or less increases or more or less extra bust stitches.  If you like waist shaping now is the time to start that.  For worsted or DK weight my waist shaping decreases are 1' apart and are as follows:  Knit to 3 stitches before first side marker, k2tbl, k1, sm, k1, k2tog.  Repeat at second side marker.  Continue with your waist shaping and try on every 2 inches or so, and lay against your sweater model too and don't be afraid to rip out if necessary, after all, you are going for that perfect fit.  At the point of your hip slope you will start to make your hip increases as follows:  Knit to 1 stitch before first side marker, m1r, k1, sm, k1, m1l.  Repeat at next side marker.  Knit continuing with the hip increases to desired length, less your ribbing.  In this case I have a two inch garter stitch rib so will stop 2 inches before my desired length.

The "model" sweater has negative ease (it's tight!).  My new sweater is to be body skimming (true to size).
I continued the increases for another 1/2" to add extra ease.
After separating I did not add extra stitches in the bust or arm.

Now you are ready to attack those sleeves.  Usually, if you have added extra bust stitches you will cast on corresponding sleeve stitches.  But if you are a busty gal with skinny arms, you don't have to add the arm stitches.  It's a flexible knit fabric after all and I've found you can fudge that tiny underarm seam if the stitches don't quite match.  With this sweater I did not need to add any cast on stitches for bust or arms.  However I knit my sleeves flat and I cast on an extra sleeve stitch on each end for seaming.  If you are knitting them in the round you can ignore that.  Once you have a few inches, slip your stitches to a circular needle or waste yarn, faux seam it with a pin or two and try on.  Start your decreases, usually about 5 inches down from armpit, and continue them to your desired length.  I find I decrease every 2 inches or so, but depends on what it looks like when I try it on.  Take notes, you'll want to do the exact same thing for the next sleeve.

Try it on!

Clear as mud you say?  Well, I've been avoiding this post because I knew it would be so dang wordy.  Sigh.  This is what I do when I'm making a top-down in-the-round sweater and it works for me!  If you have questions, please put it in the comments section and I'll do my best to help.

I have a lot to say about this lovely yarn, Silkystones, a 50/50 blend of silk and linen and a new Rowan addition for spring/summer.  However I'll leave that to another day!

And do you know we've had rain?  Bliss!  It's heaven, everyone is so happy to bring out the umbrellas.  There's even puddles!

Tuesday or Wednesday I'm going to announce the winner of the tower of Rowan yarn.  Wow, what great contest participation, awesome.  Thank you to all who entered.

The links!

my Ravelry page for Margot

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  1. Kristen,

    I'm working on one of my first top-down sweaters from Morrocan Nights by La Maison Rililie. I am loving this project but the depth of the arm-scye is always a question mark for me. I have measured, been measured, compared to other sweaters that fit me and that I like, and still, I can get it wrong. My tendency is to make the scye too short! But, reading your post makes me feel a bit better about current project. I have tried it on numerous times and the scye ends right at the center of the armpit. OK, I'm probably OK. Thanks again, for a great and informative post.

  2. Wy above my head!



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