Top Down Sweater Workshop

The end of today’s post is a duplication of the article I wrote for the Natural Stitches Newsletter about the Top Down Sweater Workshop that I’m teaching this fall. First, a little behind the scenes information for my readers and (probably) more teasers to come in the days until the class begins.

Yesterday was spent figuring out how I wanted to write part of the pattern – the part where you figure out how many stitches to cast on. I’ve read a number of sources on the subject and I can’t really find a consensus or a good source that describes it well. The ones I’ve read talk about measuring your neck or measuring the back of the neck. But they don’t go into any detail about the kind of fit you may want in your neck and how to adjust your cast on to accommodate this. I also can’t find any detail about how this number relates to other body measurements. And there are top down patterns that have the same cast on for every size…so maybe it isn’t such a big deal?

Of course, I haven’t read everything on the subject…but the method that I’m using is a little different than everything else I’ve found in order to establish a “system” that is based on a more definite body measurement and less random than the other methods I’m reading about. I’m pretty confident that it will work well (thank you math brain). But I will certainly feel better when  I have my sweater underway and a few other people have tried my method out, too.

I was excited last night to think that I had my magic number and could cast on after the kids were in bed and my usual hour of evening chores was done. I was sad when I realized that I hadn’t decided on a method to increase at the raglans, and that was not a decision to be made at 11pm! It was also a decision that would affect the number of stitches to cast on…so it was a task for today instead.

I spent a good chunk of today swatching. I thought I knew what I wanted to do at the raglan stitches, but I knew that I wanted to have a variety of increase samples to show my students, so I worked up some options. And lo and behold, the option that I thought would be too fussy for the sweater I have in mind is actual just what I think the sweater needs! Swatching is such a powerful tool.

There are almost an infinite number of variations. Here are just a few that I worked up for class:

Swatching Increases

Swatching Increases

Now that I have chosen a method for increasing, I can cast on my project and hopefully power through a least a few inches of the knitting while I’m at the shop tomorrow. At the very least I need to have the yoke completed by the first class in 10 days!


And last, but not least, here are the details for the class:

Our popular Top Down Sweater Class is expanding into a three session workshop! The first set of classes will be held on three Saturdays from 1 – 4 PM over the course of five weeks. The dates are August 27th, September 17th and October 1st. This workshop will only be offered twice a year (fall and spring), so your next opportunity to take this class won’t be until March or April. When the three sessions are complete, you will be well on your way to completing a top-down raglan pullover in the yarn of your choice and made to fit YOUR measurements.

The sweater may incorporate any stitch pattern of the knitter’s choosing (cables, lace, texture patterns) or may be all over stockinette. As long as you swatch, anything is possible! There will be homework before the first class and between classes in order to be able to keep up with the pace of activities listed below.

The first class will focus on sweater planning:

  • Measuring your swatch(es) and talking about fabric drape.
  • Discussing how to integrate cables, lace or other textures into the work.
  • Filling in the pattern with body measurements, knit gauge and other math results.
  • Various ways of increasing and executing the bottom hem will be discussed.
  • Students will cast on and begin knitting the yoke. The yoke will need to be complete by the second session.

The second class will focus on knitting the body of the sweater:

  • Putting sleeve stitches on holders.
  • Planning waist shaping, sweater length and bottom hem.
  • Students will leave with the knowledge to finish the body of their sweater.

The third class will focus on knitting the sleeves and sweater finishing:

  • Putting sleeve stitches back on the needles.
  • Planning sleeve shaping, sleeve length and cuff.
  • Planning for the collar.
  • Students will leave with the knowledge to finish their sweater.

I am really excited about teaching this workshop and I hope you will join me!

About Structured Stitches

Designer - Knit, Crochet and Architecture
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