Sunday, November 8, 2009


Because I can't grow a moustache, and would write the most boring novel ever, I will be participating in the NaKniSweMo.

On my quest to knit something red, I have started and frogged the following cardigans - The Minimalist Cardigan, Amelia, and pored over many many more patterns before coming to the conclusion that I'm going to knit a top down raglan cardigan, and kind of wing it on the way.

To give myself a little incentive, I'm going to do it for NaNoSweaMo, and I'm going to document the whole shebang here on the blog, step by step. If I make a mistake, or if I have to frog it back, or if it all just goes tits up, you'll know about it.

So, here goes.

STEP 1 - To decide how many stitches to start with *

Firstly, I ran a tape measure around my neck roughly where I'd like the neckline of the cardigan to start. I figure I need around 50 cm - a bit of suprise, I thought it would be less than that. (This might end up being the first warning bell.)

Secondly, I work out that I am getting about 18 stitches to 10cm, so I'm looking at about 90 or so stitches to start with.

So I chop this number up into segments like this:

17 stitches across the left front
2 stitches for the left front raglan 'seam'
7 stitches for the left shoulder
2 stitches for the left back raglan 'seam'
34 stitches across the back
2 stitches for the right back raglan 'seam'
7 stitches across the right shoulder
2 stitches for the right front raglan 'seam'
17 stitches across the right front

For a total of 90 stitches altogether.


CAST ON 90 stitches.

Set Up Row: Slip 1, K16, pm, K2, pm, K7, pm, K2, pm, K34, pm, K2, pm, K7, pm, K2, pm, K17
Row 2: Slip 1, purl to end
Row 3: Slip 1, knit to first marker (front), M1, sm, K2, sm, M1, K to next marker (shoulder), M1, sm, K2, sm, M1, K to next marker (back), M1, sm, K2, sm, M1, K to next marker (other shoulder), M1, sm, K2, sm, M1, K to end (other front).

Repeat Rows 2 and 3 until desired raglan length is reached.



I like an invisible M1 increase, so I don't use a yarnover. I pick up the left stitch from the row below straight before the marker, and knit it. I do the same for the stitch immediately after the second marker. That's why I put 2 stitches in the 'seam', not the usual 1. It looks better that way to me. See?

To help me along my way (and this is mostly psychological I know), I tie a piece of yarn about the length of the finished raglan seam into the first row of the raglan shaping. I can use it as a measuring stick then, which helps me get over the fact that there are a lot of stitches on the needle very quickly using this method of sweater construction.

To help me keep track, I write each row count down on a piece of paper just before I knit the increase row. Like this:

17 2 7 2 34 2 7 2 17 - 90
18 2 9 2 36 2 9 2 18 - 98
19 2 11 2 38 2 11 2 19 - 106
20 2 13 2 40 2 13 2 20 - 114
21 2 15 2 42 2 15 2 21 - 122

This will help me further down the track when I get to towards the end of my shaping - it helps to have some idea of how many stitches I usually have in each segment (fronts, back, sleeves) of a garment in this gauge. If your stitch count using the straight line raglan method starts to get a little high (which can happen because I'm broad shouldered), I may need to alter the rate of increases.

But for now, I can keep going using the straight line increases. So, I'll see you in a couple of days with an update ....

* I did not really do any of this. I just guessed the numbers to start with.


Bells said...

I'm ashamed to say I COULD grow a mo. I choose not to!

I like your approach!

knitabulous said...

Funny. You could do NaNoWriMo instead!

2paw said...

Wow, that's great. I printed out some top down raglan notes yesterday, but it's been too hot to think at all. What wool are you using it's a beautiful red??

Ann said...

Thank you for sharing your design process as I love knitting top down garments. The invisible M1 is a great idea.

kms said...

there is a lot to like here! red, raglan, top down. winging it. and for me, someone else doing the winging. i am so going to copy this.