Neck width stretch & Final assembly

With each pullover or cardigan (one so far) I design, I’m trying to refine the design and create my ideal design.  With each design, I want to deal with a design failing and see if I can correct it.  I love set in sleeves, as they give a close fit at the top of the arm, in comparison to the drop shouldered variety.  I’m not keen on trying raglan sleeves as I’m not confident that my row gauge is standard.  With set in sleeves, once the armhole shaping has been done, you can continue the armhole for as long or short as you want, to suit your own row gauge.  One flaw that I’m finding, is the tendency for neck openings to stretch, making the cross back look wider than I’m actually making it.  I’ve done some Ravelry research on the matter and have found someone with their own explanation for this phenomenon.  Joan Schrouder aka schrouderknits on Ravelry is “peevish” about this aspect of set in sleeved garments.

In response to a question about a garment with set in sleeves and negative ease perhaps riding up, Joan said:

How stretchy is your fabric? your yarn/fiber? What kind of st patt – does it stretch? How much wt is in the sleeves? (cap sleeve vs long sleeves?) What kind of shaping are you doing for the back of your neck? Are the sleeves separate pieces or extensions from the body? (ie is there a seam joining them to the body) My personal pet peeve with lots of set-in sleeve designs is that the shoulders are too wide to begin with, then the back of the neck cut-out, the fabric is knit loosely and with a stretchy fiber so the problem is compounded to make the sleeves droop unattractively off the natural shoulder line, looking much more like a drop shoulder.

In another about short row shaping on shoulders, Joan said:

I don’t know if you should do short-rowing at the neck part, too; try it if you want and see if you like it. I much prefer binding off my back of neck sts to help retard stretch that often occurs if those sts are not bound off. Rather than rejoining yarn to BO those center back sts, I would bind them off on the last time that I crossed them. I also rarely shape the back of my neck as I don’t like how it fits and it tends to lead to more stretching, one of my pet peeves.

So, it’s looking like back neck shaping may, in part, be the culprit.  Back neck shaping certainly isn’t a necessity.  The cast/bind off is nice and firm, it’s the step up between cast off sections where the stretch seems to occur.  I suppose this is happening with the front neck shaping too, but theoretically, if the back neck is firm, it should help stop the whole neck opening from stretching.  The front neck can’t stretch far if the back neck isn’t coming with it.  I also have the feeling that a collar will sit much better this way.

This is something to try in my never ending search for the pullover, as it should be.

My turtleneck lace pullover is finished and I’m now blocking the collar.  Here are some photos with the collar underway.

After sewing it together, and before starting the collar, I tried it on.  It fit’s exactly the way I wanted it to!  I’ve shaped it from the waist to the bust (another refinement I’m trying).  As I make my pullovers short, this is to prevent the baggyness at the waist that can occur without shaping.

So, I need to properly write out the pattern, get some photos done, and I’ll be all systems go!

In the home stretch

I’ve knitted all the main pieces of my lace cashmere pullover.  It’s blocking at the moment.  Then I’ll be able to sew it up and knit the collar.  Exciting!

As you can see, I finally got hold of some interlocking foam mats for my blocking.  I thought two would be enough, but I’ll need another.  Hopefully by this time next week it’ll be looking a lot more like a pullover!