Since my last post, I ripped out what I had knit, and started over from scratch on my top-down, garter-yoked cardi. I just wasn’t happy with the gauge I was getting, and I wanted to reshape the yoke, using numbers more suited to doing a full yoke instead of half yoke, half-raglan as in the pattern from Knit.1. So, before I forget what I’ve done so far, I’m making note here.
Basically, what I’m doing is turning the yoke diagram in “The Opinionated Knitter” upside-down, using the percentages from the newer, 4-decrease yoke, but increasing instead. Since the gauge I’m happy with in this yarn is the same as the gauge I got with the Patons Merino I used in my Bohus Yoke sweater, I decided to use the same key number as I did in that sweater: K = 176 stitches (K, for the un-EZ-initiated, is simply your gauge multiplied by the desired chest-measurement).
This meant that for my neck opening, I would want to cast-on 40% of K, or 70 stitches. I used the Twisted German Cast-On, because it is one of my favorites. I knit 4 rows in stockinette to get a sort of “rolled” neckline, an idea which I stole from my Cobblestone Sweater. Then I began knitting in garter stitch, and did my first increase after only two rows in garter. My increase rows were as follows, always on a right-side row:
inc. 1: k5, *k3, kfb* until last 5 sts, k5 (85 sts)
inc. 2: k5, *k2, kfb* until last 5 sts, k5 (110 sts)
inc. 3: k5, *k2, kfb* until last 5 sts, k5 (143 sts)
inc. 4: k5, *k1, kfb* until last 5 sts, k5 (208 sts)
The k5 on either side of the increases are the button band stitches. Realistically, I should have added 5 stitches to my K to account for the overlapping bands in front, but I’m ok with the fit being a bit snugger for this cardigan than it is in my Bohus Yoke. I also added short rows after the first increase row, and the 4th increase row. In both cases, I knit almost 3/4 of the way across, then w&t, then knit halfway back and w&t again, picking up wraps as I encountered them. After the first increase row, I did two sets of short rows, and after the last increase row, I only did one. I found that spacing my increase rows about 2 inches apart worked well for me; your mileage may vary, depending on your desired depth for the yoke.
Once I’d finished the yoke (trying it on to ensure that I’d knit enough yoke to reach my armpit), it was time to hold off some of the stitches for the arms. I find it helpful, when trying to figure out where the sleeves should go and how many stitches I should use for them and so forth, to draw myself a little diagram, like this:
Of course, that drawing probably only makes sense to me as it is, so let me explain the thinking that’s behind it. I had 208 stitches to work with at the base of my yoke, after doing the increases laid out above. I wanted my sleeves to be somewhere around 30-32% of my K, because I have skinny arms and a broad ribcage (ie, I want to save more stitches for the body than others might…EZ recommends sleeves be 35-40% of K). I wanted the body to be about 34 inches around, given my gauge of just under 5 stitches to an inch.
Some basic algebra later, and what you see above is what I worked out as the ideal numbers. Each front consists of 33 stitches, while the back has 66 stitches. I placed 38 stitches for each sleeve on waste yarn, and cast-on 18 stitches for the underarm/sides of the body in place of them, helping to make the sweater fit nicely around my entire body, which is in fact 3-dimensional.
The next exciting part is waist-shaping, but I’ve got a few inches to go before I can start that (I’m high waisted, but not that high-waisted!). Next week is the start of the semester for me, so we’ll see what affect that has on the knitting progress. I’ll be TAing again, this time for the “Development of Mind and Brain” course, which sounds like a lot of fun to me! (I’m not a development person, in terms of my own research interests, but I do find the area fascinating). I’ll be taking or at least sitting in on a couple of seminars, and continuing my work as a Writing Consultant, as well as starting back up with the Symphony. I’ve had a nice break, but I am actually looking forward to having a regular schedule again…I start going a little crazy without some structure to my day!