As a person who has made a lot more bottom-up sweaters than top-down sweaters, when I knit a sweater top-down, I always start out a bit befuddled. There’s work, and math, involved at the very start of a top-down garment.
But once the set-up is done, and you’ve got your increases all straight in your head, wow—it’s so easy. You go round and round, and the thing grows like mad.
Before you know it, you have reached the happy words “Divide for sleeves and body.”
A Tip on Desired Yoke Depth
As I was working the increases on the sleeves and body, I was gazing at photos of the Simple Swoncho—my promised land.
And I started to think, maybe I’d like the armhole on my Simple Swoncho a little higher. A little less poncho, a little more sweater.
After the increases are done, there is a line of instruction: Work 16 (13, 4, 0,0,0) round(s) even, or to desired yoke depth.
I am knitting the second size. I desired a slightly shorter yoke depth, to raise the placement of the sleeve. So, instead of working even for 13 rounds, I only worked even for 4 rounds.
My tip is a pretty simple one: when you’ve finished the increases for your size (or if you’re knitting one of the three larger sizes, when you’re getting to the last few increase repeats), TRY IT ON.
When you try it on, you get a very good idea of where the bottom of the armhole would hit if you divided for the sleeves right now. If it’s in a good spot for you, and the fit is otherwise good in terms of the increases, go on ahead and divide for the sleeves and body!
It’s your sweater, and the armholes get to be where you want them to be. The Simple Swoncho is designed for a variety of fits, with more or less ease, but plenty of ease by any measure; this gives you the flexibility to move the armhole up without changing anything else, and still get a garment that fits well.
Here’s me trying it on right after I divided for sleeves and body.
The yarn: Neighborhood Fiber Company Organic Studio Worsted in the shade called Palisades. Sigh—I love it so so much.
This is a practically perfect armhole depth for me, for a swoncho or sweater.
Thinking deep thoughts…about swoncho sleeve placement.
Bonus: I like the way Karida’s raglan shaping—increasing on the sleeves half as frequently as on the body—kind of squares off my shoulders.
Now that I’ve divided the sleeves and body, I’m at the exciting phase: racing to the finish, knitting as fast as I can. I’m so excited to be able to wear this sweater…in a couple of months.
P.S. Someone recently asked me what “work even” means, and I realized that it is kind of the “fold in the cheese” of knitting pattern instructions—it makes perfect sense, but only if you already know what it means. In this context, “work even” means to continue working in the established stitch pattern, without any more increases. I stopped making increases, but kept working stockinette on the body and sleeve sections, and garter stitch in the 10-stitch divider panels.