Okay, so I hope you’ve picked out a yarn and have done a swatch. You need to know your gauge (stitches and rows per inch), as I’ll explain how to customize this to your measurements along the way. Oh yeah, you’ll need the measurements for the person you’re making this for. So before we start, I should show you the original top and the one we’re going to make. Here’s a picture of the original one – yeah, it’s a good thing I’m a better knitter than sketch artist. Believe it or not, I can draw comic book characters pretty well!
Okay, here’s what you’re looking at. You have a basic squared top – yes, it really is that squared in the real one. I think the used a butterfly clip in the back to give it the appearance of shape it has in the picture. The only real shaping is in the neck – front and back. So you have your front and back piece. You also have two rectangles that make up the cowl, and believe it or not, that’s all there is to this top. The real trick is in the putting together. Remember I told you that the bottom part is doubled to give you some weigh? Well, that’s where it starts. At the line where I have marked cowl seam. the cowl is joined to the body of the top – this is the first seam. The top is continued in a slightly thicker linen, but singled, and a larger stitch gauge. The cowl is seamed to the top along the sides to the top of the shoulder. This is the second seam. The top is seamed together along the shoulder – seam three. The cowl continues to the end (the length of it here is what determines the drape of the finished cowl) and is seamed along the sides only. The top of it (as you see it in the diagram) is left open, to produce a large circle that will fit over your head. There is a large opening where the side seam of the top is interrupted, to allow for the armhole!
There you have it folks, the summer top broken down. Now I actually tip my hat to the designer, as this is very simple (4 rectangles) and it gives you a beautiful finished garment. Well, it could! We’ve discussed the shortcomings of this in the previous posts about this. What I can’t get is why they wouldn’t take 2 minutes to modify it and make this the truly spectacular top it could be! AARRRRGHHHH! Oh well, I guess that’s our job. So the way I see it, there’s two parts to this – the top and the cowl. I’m going to make a more fitted/shaped top for starters. Something similar to the one in this diagram …
Again, forgive the poor sketch, but I think you get the idea. As for the cowl, well, I haven’t decided yet. Martha had a great idea of using pearl buttons on the shoulders to make it removable. Fantastic idea – using three buttons would allow you to wear it three different ways or not at all – for a total of four looks from the one top. The other option is to do what they did in this design. By seaming it along the sides up to the shoulder, it allows you to have the cowl draped two different ways (see the posts or the webpage with the top), but it is attached permanently. Of course, there are pros and cons to both. Luckily we don’t have to decide just yet …
So for the actual knitting, any way you slice it we’re starting at the bottom and working our way up. Let’s go! I’m making this hip length, and I’m not going to put any ruffles on it. So, we need to do a little math here. Take your hip measurement, and multiply it by your gauge to get the number of stitches you need to cast on. If you’re doing it in the round, cast on this number and place a stitch marker half way, and at the end. You’re going to be doing some shaping so you need the stitch markers! 42 x 5.5 = 231 = 230 Stitch marker @ 165 sts and end
If you’re doing it in two pieces and putting it together later, cast on half the number you got from above. Add two stitches for your edge stitches and I recommend you work these edge (selvage) stitches in stocking stitch. That way you can do an invisible seam later when we put it all together.
You need to work a few rows in a flat stitch (unless you want it to curl up) – I would say 4 – 6, but no more than that.
Now it’s time for some more math …
Take your waist measurement and multiply it by your SPI (Stitches per Inch). This will give you the number of stitches you need for your waist. 28.5 x 5.5 = 157 = 156 Again, if you’re knitting it flat, divide this number by 2.
Now measure (if you haven’t already), the height between your hip and your waist. We’ll call this HWH (Hip Waist Height). Multiply this number by your RPI gauge (Rows Per Inch). This tells us how many rows we have to work with for our waist to hip shaping. 9 x 7.5 = 68 rows
Before we start we need to work out the difference in stitches between our hip and our waist. So subtract the waist stitches from the hip stitches. 230 – 156 = 74
So in my example I have to decrease 74 stitches in 68 rows. Now I am decreasing at each side, and on the front and back each row I decrease (4X), so I have to divide the number of stitches by 4. 74/4 = 18.5
So I take this number and divide it into the number of rows I am working with – (68 – 6) = 62 This the 6 rows of flat stitching I did to start. 62/18.5 = 3
Ideally, we want this number to be even. Since I’m working in the round, it’s not an issue, but if I were doing this flat, I would have to fudge it a bit so that I had an even number to work with. I could decrease 8 stitches at first then drop down to 4, allowing me t decrease every 4 rows. There are numerous ways to work this out, it’s just a little figuring with pencil and paper.
Okay, so you should be all set to get going.Cast on your stitches and do your hem. Working in stocking stitch, knit to your first decrease round. You should be at your first stitch marker. Slip marker, knit 1, K2tog TBL (knit two stitches together through the back loop – slide the right needle through the back loops of the next two stitches on the left needle and knit). Knit to three stitches before next stitch marker. K2tog (knit the next 2 stitches together), K1, slip marker, K1, K2tog TBL, knit to three stitches before next marker, K2tog, K1. This should complete your round. Continue in this manner decreasing in this way on all decrease rounds. Knit until you are at the waist height.
If you are knitting flat, your decreases follow the same pattern – work edge stitch, K1, K2TBL, knit to four stitches before end of row, K2 tog, K1, work edge stitch
Wait for me and the next post about this pattern!
I’ll give you over the weekend to do this and then put up the next posting on this. If you’re doing it flat and you finish the back, put it on a stitch holder and do the front as well!