With last week’s darling sheep behind us, it’s time to knit the fronts of the sweater. The front is a plain design to showcase the buttons. I really wanted to name it “The Mullet Sweater” – business up front and party in the back!
I want to clarify how to differentiate between the two fronts. The fronts are named as if you are wearing the sweater. Looking at the above photo, the piece on the right hand side of the photo is the Left Front – it would be on the left side of the body when wearing it. The piece on the left hand side of the photo is the Right Front – it would be on the right side of the body when wearing it. This was very confusing to me as a new sweater knitter!
Begin the Front working a rib using the smaller needles. Changing to the larger needles, work one purl row followed by an increase row. Next, begin working in stockinette until the piece measures 6 1/2″ from the cast on edge, ending after a purl row. Note this measurement on the schematic below.
Adorable Ewe has a V-shaped neckline that requires shaping. The shape is achieved by working a line of decreases at the neck edge. The decreases are worked one stitch away from the edge for ease in finishing. A k2tog (right leaning decrease) is used at the Left Front edge. An ssk (left leaning decrease) is used at the Right Front edge. These are the correct decreases for these edges as its lean mimics the slant of the piece.
The decreases are worked at the neck edge on every right side row 7 times, leaving 13 stitches remaining. For those knitting to the stated row gauge or smaller, it may be necessary to work a few more rows of stockinette with no decreases on the 13 stitches to bring the Front to the same length as the Back. End after working a purl row. Do NOT bind off the stitches. Place the remaining 13 stitches on a holder (or piece of waste yarn), leaving an 18″ tail for seaming later.
For knitters with a larger row gauge (fewer rows per inch), there are two options to overcome this discrepancy. For the first option, simply knit the pattern as stated. Your longer shaping area will result in a Front that is longer than the Back. Return to the Back and knit a few extra rows to match the length of the Front. These few extra rows may not have a great impact on the overall sweater. If you were knitting a sweater for yourself, you would have to decide if these extra rows will make a sweater that is too long for you. Often times, a slight difference is not a problem especially if you like longer garments or are lucky enough to be tall.
For the second option, decreases are worked more frequently to match the same shaping area length. After consulting the schematic, a tiny bit of math shows that the decrease area is 3 3/4″ in length. Total length of 10 1/4″, subtracted by the length to the shaping of 6 1/2″ = 3 3/4″ shaping length. (All measurements are approximate.) The pattern directs a decrease to be worked on every 7 right side rows, which is every other row. To work more frequently, a decrease must be worked in the same place on the wrong side of the work. For the Right Front wrong side decrease, purl one, p2tog and purl to the end of the row. For the Left Front wrong side decreases, purl to the last 3 stitches, SSP, purl one. On this sweater, squeezing in a decrease or two on the wrong side will cure the problem. When working a full size garment, this option may be necessary if you do not want a longer garment, especially if you are short and are already shortening the length of the piece.
The Fronts may be knit two at a time, paying close attention to work the correct decrease in the appropriate place.
With the knitting complete, I recommend blocking the pieces prior to next week’s finishing. With such a small garment, steaming the pieces into shape may be all that is needed. To steam block, hold the iron a few inches above the work (never iron your knitting) and give it a shot of steam, pressing into shape with your hands. If you prefer wet blocking, do not stretch the ribbing to match the width of the piece. I prefer to leave ribbing in its natural state so it retains its elasticity. See my Blocking video if you are new to the process.
We return next week for the finishing. You will love how simple it is to end your darling sweater!