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You speedy knitters!  I’m not quite finished with my sleeves yet (I’m 6 inches into my first, to be exact) but I have many people asking me about the collar shaping instructions, which is the last bit of knitting on this pattern.  Let’s decode this part bit by bit.  I’m using the NEPAL version of the instructions for my examples, here.

SEW SHOULDER SEAMS – since we’re picking up stitches across the back neck and part of the front, this will all be much easier if you sew your shoulder seams first.  You can use your favorite method to do this.  I love “fake grafting” as seen in this video by Berroco.

  • Collar: Pick up approx. 36 to 42 sts between the markers at the neck line (i.e do not pick up sts in the outer most 16 sts each side toward the front edges).

When we were binding off for the neckline we were instructed to place a stitch marker at the end of our first bind off section.  We are going to pick up some number of stitches between these markers.  When we pick up stitches, we are pulling new loops of yarn through the existing fabric, to put new stitches onto our needle, rather than pulling loops up from the fabric.

  • Knit 2 rows of garter sts – on the last row inc 12 sts evenly distributed = 48-54 sts.

Here you will knit one row straight across.  Then on the second row, you are going to increase by 12 stitches.  You can choose your favorite increase – a kf&b works nicely, here – and you are going to spread them out as evenly as you can across the row.  It’s ok if it’s not exact, but you want to avoid adding a whole bunch of stitches in one spot.

  • Continue in Double Seed st with 1 garter st each side – at the same time inc 2 sts each side as follows: knit 2 sts in the first st, then make a yo (on return row work yo twisted to avoid a hole, i.e work yo in the back loop)– incorporate new sts into seed pattern as going along. Inc 2 sts this way at the beg of every row a total of 9 times each side = 36 extra sts = a total of 84-90 sts.

Ok, this one is a doozy.  Basically, from here to the end you are going to be using the double seed stitch that we used on the front cardigan bands.  You have to use your brain to incorporate the two additional stitches on each side in a way that keeps the pattern going.  I like to look at the fabric that is already there and then count backwards to the new stitches I’ve added to make sure it’s correct. ALSO, I really don’t care about keeping that last stitch in garter stitch throughout for seaming, so I don’t do it.

The pattern is suggesting that you increase 2 stitches at the beginning of each row by doing a kf&b into the first stitch, then a yo to increase the second stitch, remembering to give that yo a twist when you come back to it to close up the hole.

An alternative, which I will probably use, would be to simply cast on 2 stitches at the beginning of each row.  I will use a cable cast on, but a backwards loop or simple cast on would work as well.

  • Bind off when the collar measures 12 cm [4¾”] mid back.

Keep going until the collar is 4.75″ tall, but also make sure that you have cast on enough stitches to match the length of the fronts where you are going to sew it down.

  • Sew the collar tight to the front pieces each side in the outer part of the edge, i.e. new sts are sewn to the 16 bound off sts each side.

The increased (casted on) sides of the collar get sewn to the bound off edges of the cardigan fronts, where the double seed stitch is.

OK!  That’s the collar!  In reality, it’s just a little bit of knitting and you’ll be done with it fairly quickly.  Now, finish seaming up those side seams and sleeve seams and weaving in your ends.