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Sweater Class:
Lesson One

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Good morning! I've added the pattern to the Raglan files at the spinfree site at -- if anyone needs any of the posts at any time, you can ask me to e-mail them to you, or check out the archives at onelist. Yesterday's post was on the advantages of top down sweaters, materials and gauge.

Today we begin!

The pattern reads:
"Cast on 36 stitches. Purl 1, place a marker in the next stitch and purl it, purl 6, place marker into next stitch and purl it, purl 18, place marker in next stitch and purl it, purl 6, place marker in next stitch and purl it, purl 1."

For this sweater, we're casting on at the neck edge, but the edge will not be seen. Sooner or later, we'll be knitting stitches up around this edge for a ribbed or rolled neck, so beauty is not a consideration. For any neck edge cast on, you'll want some elasticity, so I'd avoid a cable cast-on unless you use larger needles, as it can be very firm. A plain old long tail cast on is what I usually use.

Some cast-on methods are illustrated at these sites...

long tail or double strand cast-on:
backwards loop and knitted-on cast-on:

knitted-on cast on:

cable cast-on:

Why 36?
I figured out the cast-on number using Barbara Walker's guidelines of back of neck measurement times gauge(4.5 times 4), plus 1/3 this number for each shoulder, plus 1 stitch for each side of the front, plus the four dividing stitches. 18+6+6+2+4=36 If you know or can measure a back of neck measurement for the sweater recipient, you can start with you own formula. Back of neck size varies very little in small fry, so I often use this same number for kids age 2 to 6.

And why all the markers?
The four marked stitches will be the dividing lines between the front, sleeves, and back. Depending on the increase method you choose, they will either stand out or fade into the background. Putting the marker into the stitch (I usually pin a safety pin through the stitch or around the base) is easier for me than placing a ring marker before and after each marked stitch, though that's certainly an option. After a few increases, you can move the markers closer to the working stitches if you like, but by then your increase lines are fairly clear.

Next post: increases!