I did it! I bound off for my project last night. As you can see, I choose to finish the top-down sweater, which had a sleeve and cowl neck to finish. It wasn’t hard at all, I just tried to pick it up when I had a free moment. I actually had to make sure I didn’t sit for too long, knitting away in circles, because the repetitive motion was hurting my little fingers. But I love how it came out!
Pattern: Knitting Pure and Simple, pattern #291, “Neck Down Cowl Collar Pullover”
Size: 33″ chest
Yarn: Cascade 220, col 9568, 5 skeins
Use any worsted to heavy worsted yarn that will get you 18 sts to 4″
I used this pattern exactly as written, though it is very easy to alter the size or length of any part if you want. I used the same circular needle for the body and the sleeves by using magic loop method on the sleeves. Using a larger needle for the bind of row kept it from being too tight and inelastic, though you could also just use a more stretchy bind off method. If you are looking for your very first top-down sweater, you can’t go wrong with the Knitting Pure and Simple patterns!
I don’t know what project from the pile to focus on next. I was going to work on my sock, but I left it within reach of the dog last night and I now have to untangle/rewind my ball. You think I’d know better by now! Did you finish anything this week?
Some finishing stuff
I thought I would post some photos of the very basic finishing that a top-down sweater requires. There is so little to do! I’m not going to go into all of the how-to (we will do that in the future), but I’ll provide links to my favorite blog for the technical details.
First, for anything I knit in the round, I like to try to hide the jog that forms at the “beginning” point of the round. You can see it here on the left and hidden on the right.
I bind off my last stitch by cutting the yarn and pulling it straight out – meaning I do not pull it through the loop of the last stitch, I pull that last stitch completely out so that it just one long tail. Then, using a yarn needle, I use that tail to swoop around the neighboring stitch and connect the two. Check out this wonderful post from TECHknitting for the best diagrams! She provides three different options, depending on how picky you are or what works for you. I do the quickest one, option number 1.
Next we have the underarm holes. For this version of a top-down sweater, the underarm sleeve stitches are picked up from the edge of the body stitches, leaving little “corner” gaps. To close the gap I use the tail from where I picked up stitches and duplicate stitch along the inside around the gap. I pull my stitching just tight enough to close it up but not so tight to pucker the fabric.
Duplicate stitch is also what I use to weave in my ends. TECHknitter demonstrates this technique, here. I would recommend, though, experimenting with which side of the fabric lets you weave in your ends most invisibly. TECHknitter prefers the front side, while I prefer the back and find it to be most invisible for my own projects. (I DO prefer to do all seaming and most other finishing from the front). There are many different ways to weave in ends, but I like to leave all my tails until the end of my knitting. Occasionally I have had to undo some knitting to fix something and I like having those ends hanging out to undo the last stitch and RIP!
When I am knitting something with seams I will prefer to just hide these ends in the seam. For a circular project like this, I like to make sure I start a new ball at the side of my sweater in case there is a slight texture change where the ends are woven in. Also, I like to weave in across the gap – the right hand tail is woven in a cross the left of the fabric, and the left hand tail is woven in on the right.
I hope that gives you a few things to try in your finishing adventures! We do run classes in finishing, if you need some hands-on help, and there are many wonderful places on the internet – such as techknitting.blogspot.com! – and Ravelry.