When you’re knitting a sweater in pieces, it’s sometimes more critical than othertimes that the parts match up exactly. If you’ve got a pronounced stitch pattern or stripes or a colorwork motif, it’s just that much more important for the rows to align properly at the seams — as opposed to solid stockinette, where nobody will ever know if you fudge it by a row or two. A knitting pattern will generally tell you to knit to a certain length before beginning the armhole shaping, then to another length from the armhole shaping to the shoulders. It’s always more precise to count rows than to measure — measurements of knitted fabric being inherently squishy. (Which is why a trick like this one is so handy.) But if your stitch pattern in pronounced, as with this Anna Vest, not only is it more important to be accurate, it’s a million time easier! A stitch pattern like this makes it incredibly simple to count rows or ridges or repeats, and to make sure you’re doing things on the same row from one piece to the next. Same with a charted stitch pattern or colorwork motif: Knit to the prescribed measurement on the first piece, mark which row of the chart or repeat you were on, then make sure you’re working to the same row in subsequent pieces.
If you want to take it one step further, you can knit matching or mirrored pieces simultaneously on one needle, as pictured above. Not only does it save you from start-over-itis, but that way you can be 100% certain you did things on the same exact row, because you’re literally doing one and then the other. Two at a time: It’s not just for socks!
With this particular Anna, I began both the neck shaping and the armhole shaping on the k1/p1 row of the Andalusian Stitch pattern. Andalusian Stitch happens to be a 4-row repeat, and the neck shaping also happens every 4th row (at first), so if you use that as your starting point, it’s easy to remember that when you’re on the k1/p1 row, it’s a decrease row. Anytime you can use your repeat or chart to track occurrences of anything, do it!
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Great tip! I have started doing just that, making a precise note of number of rows, or where I stopped on the chart before starting decreases or shaping, and it makes everything so much easier when you start the other piece, the front after the back or the second sleeve. Same for socks actually when there is a charted motif: I take note of where I stop for the heel, to make sure both legs will be exactly the same size.
Wonderful tip! This is also how to prefer to knit sleeves too (flat, two at a time). You get a perfect match and two of them done at once!
I do do this for cardigan fronts, however, I’m wondering if you have a suggestion for sleeves in-the-round? I normally knit them on dpn’s, but I guess I could switch to magic loop (grrr).
Maggie, I knit two sleeves on dpn’s parallel to each other: 2 sets of dpns, knit one until you are at a decrease point, then switch to the second one and knit on that to the next decrease point. I have tried magic looping but since I love dpns and don’t care for magic loop (I can knit on dpn’s without looking but have to pay attention with magic loop). Sometimes I have one on magic loop and one on dpns, depending on what kind of needles I have at hand. I knit socks in the same way, parallel, one never far behind the other :)
I love working two pieces at once! Especially sleeves – when you are done, you are DONE! And you are right, the gauge stays significantly more consistent!
Brilliant as usual!
I did this with the sleeves for my husband’s sweater in the fall. So. Much. Easier!! Otherwise I have to write down each line and make sure I’m getting the exact match.
I have done sleeves two at a time never two fronts!
Flashing back to my mother knitting 2 sleeves flat on a single circular needle.
When you knit sleeves in the round on 2 sets of dpns, do you hold them both at the same time, nested? Or do you knit to point A on set one, then put it down and pickup set two and knit to point A, and so on? Having trouble visualizing!
Great tip! I will have to try this next time… I knit the two fronts separate and by the end of the second one I was definitely experiencing some start-over-itis!
On an unrelated note, do you know of this tumblr blog?
She posts great sweaters/knits, like this one: http://death-by-elocution.tumblr.com/post/141410418375
Shoot! Wish’d I’d done this for the front pieces of my Exeter. Next time…
I always try to knit 2 sleeves on one needle whenever possible. Not so much to make them match as for getting them done at the same time. (I hate finishing a sleeve and having to repeat the process.)
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