I’ve had a few people ask about this on Ravelry, so I’m putting the details down here.
Hopefully I can REMEMBER all the details, as I finished the sweater early this year.
Warning…this is less a pattern and more a rambling description of what I did.
SO! This is a basic top-down raglan that relies on a very simple formula to shape the yoke.
First, you need to calculate your gauge. I used size 9 needles and Cascade 220 as my main color…this gave me a gauge of approximately 17 stitches per 4 inches…but I knit pretty tight, so it’s best to do a test swatch on your own. In my experience, a raglan formula will work with any gauge.
Next, figure out how wide your neck will be. Remember that if you want a fitted sweater, the sleeves will tug at the sides of the neck and pull out toward your shoulder, so the neck will appear smaller when the sweater is off. I wanted a wide boatneck, so I calculated for 24 inches around (108 stitches).
Here’s the key to the cast on calculation: Cast on a number that can be divided by three. One third will constitute the front of the sweater, one third will be the back, and the last third will be split to make the arms.
If you are my size and knitting at my gauge (how fortuitous!), you would split 108 into 3 x 36. You can place the markers whenever you’d like, depending on whether you are knitting ribbing, or a raw edge. It’s really up to your personal preference.
For a ribbed neckline…knit 2, purl 2 until your rib is the desired thickness. You may want to go down two needle sizes to get a nice tight rib, but I didn’t bother.
For a raw edge, knit a couple rows before beginning the increases, or if you want less rolling, knit a few rows of garter stitch.
When you are ready to begin increases:
Row 1: knit 36 (or one third of CO amount), PM, knit 18 (or one sixth CO amount), PM, knit 36, PM, knit 18 (to end of round)
Row 2: k1, KFB, *Knit to 2 stitches before marker, KFB, knit, slip marker, knit, KFB*. You can also use YO’s for your increases, in which case you would k1, YO, *knit to one stitch before marker, YO, knit 1, slip marker, knit 1, YO*.
Repeat this increase pattern at every marker, increasing one before and one after each (eight increases total)
Row 3: Knit around.
AT THE SAME TIME…knit two rows at a time at set intervals using a self-striping yarn (like noro kureyon or silk garden). Make sure you change colors on non-increase rows. If you are following the pattern above, that means odd rows only. So if you want two rows worth of kureyon a little more than an inch apart, knit 8 rows in the main color, then switch to kureyon for rows 9 and 10. Switch back to the main color on row 11…and so on. All the while, keep increasing 8 stitches every other row.
Repeat this pattern until your yoke is deep and wide enough for the markers to meet under your arm. Make sure you are not straining to make them meet, or your sweater will be way tight.
It will help if you have a measuring tape to see how far it is from your collar bone where the sweater will fall, to the middle of your armpit. This measurement should match the finished measurement along an increase. Once you think you are there, transfer the sweater to scrap yarn and try it on. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT…it is a pain in the ass getting stitches from scrap yarn back onto your needles, but getting a good fit is worth it.
When you are finished increasing, join the arms. Knit to the first marker, then place stitches on scrap yarn until you reach the second marker. Slip the marker and knit until you reach the next marker. Slip the remaining stitches to scrap yarn and continue with your knitting. You’ll now have the front and back of the sweater on your needles and the shoulder sections separated on scrap yarn.
Knit the body as a straight tube until it is the desired length. If you are busty, you may want to strategically increase and decrease or add some darts. I am a 34 C (nearly D) and I didn’t add shaping…I just relied on the stretchiness of the fabric to shape itself.
When the body is the desired length, add whatever ribbing or trim you’d like at the end and bind of very loosely. Use a bind of that will stretch with the sweater, and if using rib, bind off in pattern.
Use DPNs to slip the shoulder stitches off of scrap yarn and divide stitches evenly over three needles.
(I have heard that knitting the first and last stitch of the round together will help decrease the appearance of a big ugly hole at the armpit…I have never tried it…I just go back and sew up the gap)
At this point you can knit the sleeves straight without decreases, or you can decrease as you go. I knitted for a couple inches, then began decreasing two stitches every ten rows…I did this six times, to lose 12 stitches total. The best way to figure out how to decrease is to measure your existing arm opening at the beginning of the sleeve, then measure your forearm to figure out how wide you want your sleeve to be at the end. Do some subtraction to figure out the difference, then convert that number to stitches. Measure the length from your shoulder to your forearm, convert that to rows, and then evenly space your decreases over that distance. Ideally, your decreases should end an inch or two below your elbow.
Repeat all that sleeve business on the other side and VOILA! Sweater! Weave in your ends and wear it around. People will think you are a genius and you do not have to let on that it is actually the easiest sweater ever and the yarn did all the work.