Dec 17, 2014

Christmas Present WIP - Joining a Sweater for Raglan Shaping

My sweater project can see the finish line by now! :)
In this post I want to show you how you are putting the three parts (body and sleeves) onto one circular needle. This can be a bit confusing, and so I want to explain to you what you should look out for.

Before you can start joining, you want to put some stiches at the underarms on hold, both at the sleeves and at the body. Make sure to calculate and count where to place them. You're doing this to get a more comfy sweater. These stiches stay on hold until the sweater is finished.


Now, for joining, the first thing to do is laying the body and the sleeves side by side like in this picture. This way you get an overview and you can see more easily how the different parts are going to be joined.
The side of the sleeve at which you increased should be facing the body. Also, the stiches that are put on hold are laying against each other.

When starting to join you will basically knit one big round all around the back of the body then around one sleeve, the front of the body and around the other sleeve.

TIP: The circular needle you've been using for the body part should be long enough to hold all those stiches. Don't use a needle that's too long because once you've joined everything you're going to decrease, which means the stiches are only getting less. If you're using a needle that's too long, you will have to change it later to a shorter one.

Depending on where your round starts (with my sweater the end of round was at the back left shoulder), start joining.
So, first I had to join the first sleeve. To do this, just use the needle from knitting the body part as your right needle and the needle from knitting the sleeve as left needle. Place a marker on your right needle and then simply start knitting the first stich of the sleeve. Knit all around the sleeve until you've reached the stiches on hold, ignore them, place another marker on the right needle and knit across the front of the body. Before joining the next sleeve, put a marker onto right needle and start knitting the second sleeve. Again, just use the needle from knitting the body part as right hand needle and the needle from knitting the sleeve as left hand needle, like you can see in the picture above.
Knit around the sleeve, place a fourth marker and knit across the back of the body part. TADAA!! You successfully joined your sweater! :)
The four markers are now placed at the corners of the sleeves to mark where you are going to make your decreases. I like to use a different color marker for the first one, this way I know where the round starts.

TIP: You can count your stiches once again before going on to make sure you didn't place the sleeves oddly towards the front/back.

Now you knit 3 to 5 cm plain (without decreasing), depending on how deep you want your armholes to be. (the more you knit plain, the deeper they get)

Then you start decreasing two stiches every other or third row (depending on what the pattern tells you or what you have in mind for your sweater). This means in every decrease round you're going to decrease 8 stiches
(2 stiches at every one of the 4 markers).

You can make the decreases directly to the left and right of the marker, or you can knit some stiches (like 1 or 2) to the sides of the markers and place the decreases after those stiches, what you most often do.
TIP: You can get really creative at this point! You can incorporate yarn overs, little cables, and so on to give your sweater a nice look or to accentuate the shaping.

Continue decreasing for as many rounds as the pattern says or until you've reached the size of neckline you want.

I incorporated a different kind of neckline, as you may remember from my drawing at the beginning ;)

So, this is what my sweater looks like after finishing the decreases:

Seaming underarms

Weaving in all the yarn ends and seaming the underarms is what's next.

To seam the underarms, I replace the scrap yarn that I used to put those stiches on hold with DP needles. This way, it is fairly easy to seam using kitchener stich. 
No magic involved ;)

Much more pretty, without the yarn tails and with seamed underams :)

With a "conventional" straight neckline, you simply gather stiches around the neckline and knit ribbing for an appropriate number of rounds and there you go: sweater finished! :)
(You'll have to block it as a final step of course ;) )

Before I went on, I also blocked the sweater. And now I am working on knitting the hood.

So, I hope you liked this post and for the next and last sweater-WIP I hope to show you how to add the hood and how to install a zipper in a knitted garment :)

Until then, I wish you all happy holidays and a merry Christmas! :)


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