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Chic Knits TekTalk: How to Reinforce a Shoulder Area June 30, 2011

One of the most prevailing trends in the last decade of knitting has been the public love affair with Top Down Knitting.

I love it myself and have explored many of the types and styles that people have been using for decades and are now becoming a trend topic once more.

One of Chic Knits’ recent releases, VONICA, starts from the top, but is a traditional, set-in sleeve type sweater.

In this type of design, stitches are picked up along the shoulder through a cast-on area. Several things make this area prone to stretching, such as the type of cast-on used, the type of yarn used, and the nature of the lace itself.

Using a firm cast-on is key, but sometimes the other factors will combine to stretch that shoulder line. The sleeves should have a slight drop shoulder but should not travel down into the arm area.

Here’s my "discovery", born of a deadline, moving forward, from me to you to hopefully help you in your knitting! :)


What we’re doing…

The number one way stability is present in a garment’s shoulder area is by way of a seam, which adds both strength and support.

But "seamless" is one of the hallmarks of top-down knitting and this area often suffers a lot of stress in the blocking and wearing.

A traditional solution for this common problem is to sew a piece of ribbon along the line – this is seen very often in commercial sweaters.

But, I had to fix my sweater for a photoshoot, and had no time to go shopping!

Here’s what I came up with…

Pick Up Sts  

Using the smaller sized needle called for in the pattern itself, or two sizes smaller than the needle size you used to stitch the area, pick up sts through the loops of the shoulder cast on from the WS.

Mine looked like this – the loops were easy to spear. I picked up 1-to-1 as they presented, from the back to front, in a scooping motion.


View from RS  

This is what it looks like from the RS after all the sts were picked up
– ie. doesn’t show at all.

Picking a yarn  

Now, here’s where it gets interesting: although you can use the original yarn that you knit with and have success with this technique, you can do something that might improve the result even more.

If, going forward, you use yarn that is firmer than the one that might be misbehaving, it will tighten up the area even more.

So I dug through my stash and found a tightly spun, cotton/poly blend, in the same gauge, similar color, and used that for the next step.

Bind off sts  

Using whichever working yarn you’ve chosen, attach it to the wrong side of the garment, so you can work the "row" of sts you just picked up.

Now, here’s the sauce: simply bind off, knitwise, working with a firm, even tension, all the sts you picked up.

This forms a tight, chain across the shoulder line like a "seam" that will make that area behave and stay the right size.

Repeat for the other side.

ALTERNATELY: use a crochet hook, of the proper size, to make a chain through the picked up sts.


Steam lightly, from the WS, and enjoy your wonderful, well-fitting creation!

Chic Knits VONICA Lace Cardigan

For more info and to purchase the
pattern shown above

click here for VONICA…

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4 responses to “Chic Knits TekTalk: How to Reinforce a Shoulder Area June 30, 2011”

  1. CindyCindy says:

    Love that pattern. I will put it in my queue!

  2. TSKTSK says:

    LOVE that fix…functional…but also such a beautiful tidy little seam! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Susan says:

    What a brilliant solution–thanks!

  4. Jenink says:

    Thanks, that is very helpful info :)

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