STRIP KNITTING LOGIC – TRANSFORMING A SCHEMATIC

My strip knit Sempre pullover continues to grow. A couple of people have asked about how I’m taking the generic pattern for set-in sleeves and transforming it for working in strips. It’s pretty simple. Here’s the basic logic (click on the image to see it larger):

I used Sweater Wizard to produce a simple pattern for a flat knit saddle shoulder V-n`eck pullover. The directions include a schematic, and describe a front and back each worked separately. I divided my total stitch count into 8 equal “slices” for the back and 8 equal slices for the front.

I started with strip #1 at the rightmost side of the back, using waste yarn and a provisional crochet-on cast-on I cast on my designated slice aliquot (plus one for the raised, visible seam ridge), and began working it from bottom to top using my Sempre yarn. I followed my pattern’s directions when I got to the armhole shaping, casting off the specified number of stitches to form the bottom of the armhole, then proceeding with the armhole shaping decreases. Since my strip is slightly narrower than my armhole, I didn’t get to finish my armhole decreases in strip #1. But that was o.k. I wrote down where I was in the decrease progression so I wouldn’t forget, and let the strip end most of the way through those decreases.

After I finished strip #1, I did another little bit of provisional cast-on for strip #2. I worked it at full width until I was at the spot even with the last stitch of strip #1. Then I began working the remaining armhole decreases as directed by the pattern. When they were done, I continued working #2 until I had reached the length specified at which the shoulder shaping was to commence. Just like the armhole shaping in strip #1, I worked it as written, letting strip #2 end when all its stitches were used up, and writing down how many decreases were “left over” and would need to be done in the next strip.

Strip #3 was more of the same – working until even with strip #2, then working the remaining shoulder decreases. Strips #4 and #5 were easy – there was no shaping required on either one.

Strip #6 is the mirror image of strip #3. Knowing how many “left over” decreases I did on strip #3, I knit strip #6 until I got to the same point where I began the strip #3 decreases, then working the same number of decreases but on the reverse (purl) side of my strip, made my mirror image. Strips #7 and #8 were done in the same way – working them even to their counterparts, then performing the decreases on each strip’s reverse.

I could have set aside the piece after strip #8, but I chose to keep going and to eliminate the side seam. The front begins with #9. It and strip #10 are duplicates of #1 and #2 on the back. No problems with either one.

#11 and #12 however present a challenge. I’ve got a V-neck. While it’s easy to center the V on the seam between strips #12 and #13, half of the V opening is wider than one strip. That means that strip #11 will have to bear some of the neckline decreases. But where to start them? I suppose I could have done the math and figured out on exactly which row to begin, and how many decreases to work, but I was lazy. Instead I cheated. I worked #11 until it was the length of the area below the V-neck opening (a dimension marked on my original pattern). I put a safety pin into its edge to mark that point and knit on for about another inch. Then I put #11’s stitches on a spare needle, and using another ball of yarn, began strip #12. I knit along on #12 until I reached my safety pin, then began my V center decreases, which I worked on the reverse. Every few rows when it looked like I’d catch up to strip #11, I hopped back to that strip and worked a couple more rows. Eventually I finished as many of the neckline decreases as the width of strip #12 allowed. It was easy to accomplish the remainder on strip #11 and finish it off, too.

I’ve just finished strips #13 and #14. Both were easier than the #11/#12 pair. I decreased at the neck edge on the public (knit) side of my strip until I ran out of strip width, then made up the difference when I go to the same length point on strip #14. After this it’s a simple matter of finishing off my last two mirror image strips to complete my back/front unit.

My only remaining challenge on the body (besides chugging through to the end) will be to figure out how to make the least bulky visible ridge seam I can at the underarm join between #16 and #1. Right now I’m not sure if I will use an inside out mattress stitch variant to make that seam or if I will try to knit my piece into a tube using a pick up/ssk pair similar to one of the joining methods used when edgings are knit on.

Then it’s on to the saddle shoulder sleeves, where new difficulties in twisted logic await. In the mean time, here’s a blurrier than normal photo documenting my progress:

Better photos will have to wait for me to finish restoring all of my software (a major household hardware upgrade has left me both improved and degraded in capabilities. I’m thankful, but not quite all the way back at steady state yet).


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