A couple weeks ago I finished a top-down raglan tee-shirt and I've already worn it twice. Because I could try it on as I knit, I was able to make it the perfect tunic length for my short stature. That's the beauty of the top-down knitting technique—you can really see how your piece is progressing and make changes just where you need to.
|Quince-Essential Fair Isle by Pam Allen
In Ann Budd's book The Knitter's Handy Book of Top-Down Sweater Patterns
, she talks about four types of top-down sweater construction, including the standard top-down raglan. Here's what she has to say about this classic style:
SEAMLESS YOKE SWEATERS
Seamless yoke sweaters are
unique in their lack of visible armhole shaping. The yoke is shaped with
increases that are evenly distributed around the entire circumference of the
upper body. Decreases can
be fancy or subtle. Keep in mind that because the shoulders and armholes
are not well defined, the yokes of these sweaters have a less tailored fit than
raglan or set-in sleeve silhouettes. But you can get a trim fit if you add
waist shaping. The lack of shaping definition at the yoke results in an
uninterrupted canvas for color or texture patterns.
The seamless yoke sweaters in this book are shaped in a modification of the formula
Elizabeth Zimmermann developed along with her EPS system (Elizabeth's
Percentage System) published in issue #26 of Wool Gathering in
1982, and which her daughter, Meg Swansen, later updated in issue #65 of Wool
Worked from the top down, stitches are provisionally cast on for the neck
circumference. The yoke is shaped with four increase rounds, worked at roughly
equal intervals during the yoke depth. About 35 percent of the stitches are increased
in each of the first two increase rounds, 25 percent are increased in the third
increase round, and 20 percent are increased in the last increase round.
The advantage to
knitting sweaters in the round is
that there are no seams to sew. However, side seams can help to stabilize a
garment and encourage it to hang vertically without twisting or torquing to one
side or the other. To ensure against this tendency, work the center underarm
stitch in a different stitch pattern, such as garter stitch (alternate between
knitting and purling these stitches every round), reverse stockinette stitch
(purl these stitches every round), or slip stitch (slip these stitches every
other round). This creates a "faux" seam (see photo below).
of the increases can be adjusted somewhat to accommodate a continuous texture
or color pattern on the yoke. At the base of the yoke, stitches for the sleeves
are placed on holders and the front(s) and back are joined with a few stitches
cast on at the base of each armhole, then worked in a single piece to the hem.
The sleeves are then worked in the round to the cuffs and tapered with
decreases along the way. Finally, the neckband is worked from the provisional
cast-on, with short-rows used to raise the back neck, if desired.—Ann Budd, from The Knitter's Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters
The Quince-Essential Fair Isle
Fair Isle Yoke sweaters are so stunning. I am almost done with one of my own, and I thought you might be interested in taking on the Quince-Essential Fair Isle. The chunky-weight yarn makes quick work of this beauty. Here's what Ann has to say about it:
"For this chunky take on a Fair Isle yoke pullover, Pam
Allen chose Puffin, the loftiest yarn in the Quince and
Company line of North American wool yarns.
She chose small colorwork motifs
that repeat over no more than 7 stitches so that the motifs can be repeated
many times across the relatively small number of stitches around the yoke. She cleverly
positioned the nearly invisible make-one increases in solid-colored rounds so
that they wouldn't interfere with the colorwork pattern.
For the most part, Pam
followed the basic instructions, but she shortened the body and sleeve lengths
for a somewhat cropped look. Multicolored garter ridges at the lower body,
sleeve, and neck add a bit of unexpected color and texture to the edges."
I love it! What a great casual look for fall and winter.
The Knitter's Handy Book of Top-Down Sweater Patterns is just wonderful; it's full of knitting techniques you'll want to try right away. Get yours today and start knitting from the top down!
P.S. Do you have any tips for knitting top-down sweaters? Share them with us in the comments!