Saturday, October 10, 2009

Finishing the yoke and then some

This is a lot of writing for a pattern, but it is the idea of the thing that is exciting. Now that you can see how the increases line up in each row of the yoke, there is more shaping to do:

Since I started the front parts after having worked a while on the back, there are a few rows where I add to the sleeves instead of the back (because the back is wide enough), but still adding to the fronts. So, once the back is the right width, start increasing to the sleeve caps, and not to the back, like this:

Start the row and work to the first increase point. Increase in the LAST sc of the increase in the previous row (to increase to the front), then
Continue to the next increase point, and increase in the LAST sc of the increase in the previous row (to increase to the sleeve cap), then
Continue to the third increase point, and increase in the FIRST sc of the increase in the previous row (to increase to the sleeve cap again -- no increases to the back), and finally
Continue to the last increase point, and increase in the FIRST sc of the increase in the previous row (to increase to the front).


Repeat this row for a while, until the fronts have about the same number of stitches together as the back. Then it is time to increase only to the sleeve caps:

Start the row and work to the first increase point. Increase in the FIRST sc of the increase in the previous row (to increase to the sleeve cap), then
Continue to the next increase point, and increase in the LAST sc of the increase in the previous row (to increase to the sleeve cap), then
Continue to the third increase point, and increase in the FIRST sc of the increase in the previous row (to increase to the sleeve cap again -- no increases to the back), and finally
Continue to the last increase point, and increase in the LAST sc of the increase in the previous row (to increase to the sleeve cap).


Repeat that row to grow the sleeve cap. What is interesting here is that when the sleeve cap is about as wide as I want the upper arm to be around (for me that would be about 14 inches), it will turn out that the armhole depth will also be just about right, too. Amazing how that works.

To finish off the yoke, for a few rows, increase only to the fronts and back, and not to the sleeves. The rows are getting really long by now. It should look about like this:

Then, in the last row, set up the body like this: work across the front to the the first increase point, chain a few stitches (about 2 inches for an adult size; make sure it is an odd number so the pattern stitch will work), skip the sleeve stitches and sc to the next increase point. Stitch across to the third increase point on the other side of the back, chain the same number of stitches as before, skip the other sleeve stitches, sc in the last increase point, and finish off the row. There is a question here: Do you sc in the first or second sc of the increase point? That depends. You can go either way (but you want to be consistent). Often, it turns out that either the sleeve or the body is a tiny bit on the small side or almost too big. That clue tells me which side I want that last set of increases to go to. Once you get to that point, you will see what I mean.

From here on, work back and forth in rows, no more increases, for the body of the sweater. When it is long enough, finish off.

For sleeves: Rejoin the yarn at the underarm with the wrong side of the last sleeve edge row facing. Keeping in pattern, start on the sleeve: stitch along the underarm, along the sleeve cap edge, and finish off the row at the underarm again, joining with a slip stitch to the beginning of the row. I count my stitches after the first row to make sure the other sleeve has the same number -- it is good for sleeves to match. Now even though I’m working back and forth in rows for this stitch, there is no reason not to join the end of the row to the beginning and work the seam as I go. That way there is no seam to sew at the end. I like my sleeves to be fitted, so I decrease 1 stitch at each end of every 4th row. This makes a centered seam line and tapers the sleeve so it fits at my wrist.

You can decide your own tapering: By this time, you’ve stitched enough to have a really good gauge swatch -- the body of the sweater. Figure out how long you want your sleeve to be. How many rows is that, based on your gauge? How big do you want your wrist to be? You can figure that number of stitches from your gauge information, too. Knowing how many stitches you worked in your first row (A) and how many you want to end up with (B), along with how many rows you want to work (D), figure how many stitches you need to decrease and how often to decrease: (A-B)/D. Now this number has to be a whole number because you simply cannot decrease a fractional stitch. Usually, it works out to 1 stitch every 2 rows for a single crochet-type pattern stitch. To have a centered seam line, you need to decrease at both ends of the row, so that would be decreasing 2 stitches every 4 rows. Your numbers may differ, but you have all the information to decide for yourself.

It is amazing how many words it takes to describe the concept behind a shape that makes so much sense. But it really works. 

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