Sunday, May 20, 2007

Let's fix this pattern: Nautical Button Sweater

After I finished playing with my Moonglow swatch, I returned to my Perugino throw and put a few inches on it. It was pleased. It is a bit awkward to knit because it's large and needs thick needles, but it grows quickly. Photos soon.

After I'd knit enough Perugino to need a change, I looked around for my Priorities List and realised I had better crack on with that Nautical Button Sweater, now I've started it.

It might be a pain because I have to recalculate the pattern, but I'll give it my best shot and record my experiments here.

  • Two sleeves, knit to size 1. The sleeves are cast off, but I'm prepared to frog the messy raglan 'decreases' so I could recalculate the length of the raglan slope, the number & spacing of decreases, and finished length of sleeve, from the point where you cast off 3 stitches at each end to start the decrease.
  • One pattern, untrustworthy.
  • Needles: 2.75mm for the smaller size, 3.25mm for the larger.


  • Design & knit matching back & front pieces to fit both self & existing sleeves.


  • Check gauge of knitted sleeves. 20 sts x 10cm in beige, 19 sts in blue.
  • Check finished measurements of sleeves.
  • I cast on 46 sts for ribbing. Cuff width at cream ribbing: a comfortable 23cm.
  • At armpit start of raglan, I had 52 sts in blue yarn OTN. Width of sleeve at armpit: 27.5cm.
  • Length of ribbed cuff: 3.5cm.
  • Length of sleeve between cuff & raglan: 41.5cm
  • Length of raglan, perpendicular to top: 16cm
  • Design back
  • Calculate number of stitches for bust. Fullest width across back/front chest is to be 46cm. Most of bust is in blue yarn, so 19sts to 10cm, ie 87sts ideally.
  • Ribbing is one stitch *wider* than the main knitting at its widest point. Pattern is k2, p2 rib and needs to begin and end with k2 on the RS. That means the total number of stitches to cast on needs to be divisible by 2, but not 4. Settle on 86sts (that's 21 sets of k2p2 rib, and finish with a k2).
  • The main knitting will therefore be 85sts wide.
  • Note that pattern shows fullest width pattern across hips is the same as the bust width, so use 85 sts here too.
  • Pattern graph for back/front piece shows all waists as 5cm narrower than bust/hips. This would give an all-around waist measurement as 10cm or 4" narrower than the bust. In my case, that would be 32" around, or 81cm around. The narrow waist of each back/front piece shoud therefore measure about 41cm for comfort, and that's equivalent to 77 stitches. For the waist shaping, then, I'll have to reduce 85sts to 77, and that sounds like 4 rows of decreases, one at each end of the row.
  • Design raglan shaping. Hmm, that part can wait. I notice from the pattern graph that the raglan top of the back/front is supposed to be 16cm high, same as the sleeves. Makes sense so far.
  • Decide on a total back length, neck to cuff. Lengthwise, I think size 1 in the pattern graph looks OK. 52cm in all. 16cm is neck to armpit & bust (the raglan bit). From there we have 36cm in length down to the bottom cuff, so let's place the waist exactly at the halfway mark, 18cm in, like the pattern graph suggests.
  • Work out how much to cast on by adjusting the pattern instructions to get to 85sts:
  • Using smaller needles, and beige, CO 86 sts. Do 3.5cm of ribbing, change to larger needles, decrease one st on the knit row to get to 85sts. Purl one row & change to blue.
  • Place decreases from hip to waist. We want to knit stripes and work in decreases as we go, identifying four decrease rows between hip and waist. We want to knit 14.5cm of fabric after the ribbing to get to the waist. Time to check the row gauge. On striped fabric, it averages at 29rows to 10cm. So, to knit 14.5cm of fabric is going to take about 42 rows of knitting (and we've already done two, in beige).
  • Try a decrease row every 9 rows in after the ribbing. Row 9 (dc to 83sts); Row 18 (dc to 81sts); Row 27 (dc to 79sts); Row 36 (dc to 77sts); knit to row 42: the waist (increases begin on the waist row).
  • Place increases from waist to bust. We want to knit in stripes again and increase as we go, identifying four increase rows to get the stitch count back up to 85. This time, we have 18cm of fabric in which to get there. That's going to take about 52 rows of knitting. The waist row is the first increase row.
  • Row 1: waist row: inc 1 sts each edge (79sts).
  • Row 13: inc to 81sts. Row 26: inc to 83sts. Row 39: inc to 85sts. Knit to row 52 & prepare to cast off for the raglan.

OK, that's all for now. I can think some more about the raglan shaping when I get there. I think that's enough for now to let me get started on making the back.

Sorry for such a boring post! It's useful for me to have these instructions to myself available online. Hopefully this will soon generate some new knitting for me to show you.

1 comment:

Aberdonian said...

I'm glad you're taking the plunge to recalculate everything. What you describe is exactly how I proceeded.

You'll be happier to have a nicely fitting sweater even if it took more effort to do it.

Mine is waiting for the raglan of the second back/front and then I need to calculate the sleeves.