Can I knit a non-top-down sweater in the round?

Say I have a pattern for a regular old sweater, the sort where you make the front… then the back… then the sleeves… then sew together and do a collar.

Is there any reason I can’t start at the bottom and do it in the round on circular needles from the waist up? I know it would end up kind of weird when I have to split the front from the back but it should be do-able, right? Then could I do the sleeves in the round, either on dpns or circulars? So in the end I would just have to sew sleeves to the body and sew the shoulder seams and make a collar?

I know I could just do a top-down sweater but that doesn’t answer my question. :wink:

Sure you can. You can knit up to the armholes, then do the front and back on straights. You could even do a 3 needle bind off on the shoulders and pick up for the sleeves and knit them down to the wrists. Not a seam in sight!:happydance:

I’ve done it quite a few times! I hate seaming!

Or you could do a raglan sweater, or a drop shoulder sweater using steeks, which is what I do most of the time.

I’ve done what Ingrid mentioned many times, but I always thought that steeking produces the same result, you just knit up to the underarms, start the steek, knit, and then start the neck steek. Then you finish the shoulders with a 3 needle bind off, cut the steeks, pick up the stitches, and finish the sweater. Steeks are really a bridge to allow you to knit the entire sweater in the round. Great for colorwork (except intarsia).

Raglans are great, too. You knit the body up to the underarms, than knit 2 seperate sleeves, knit them onto the body with stitches on holders at all 4 underarm locations, and then decrease the sleeves onto the body, and knit a neckband.

That’s the general idea :shrug: I could help you calculate your pattern to be knit with steeks or like Ingrid said, if need be, but I’m pretty sure that you wouldn’t want a raglan sweater for that pattern, though.

if you want a pattern, the wonderful wallaby is knit in the round from the bottom up. you knit each sleeve separately, then work it in, in the neatest method, then graft 6 or so stitches under the arm. no seaming. just simple kitchener.

this pattern is originally for a hoodie, but i am thinking about making another one and making a sort of polo collar for it.

Whoa… you mean like pick up as many stitches around the armholes as you would end up on your needles with were you to do them from the wrist up… and then just knit to the wrists and end in ribbing??? That sounds awesome! And easy! I never would have thought of that. Doesn’t it look upside down, though?

What is this wonderful wallaby pattern?

Traditional Fair Isle sweaters have sleeves that are knit from the top down and they don’t look upside down.

I guess if you have a particular pattern to follow, either stitch or color, you’d have to reverse it, but the stitches certainly don’t look upside down that anyone would notice.

Yeah, you’re right. Right after I posted that I went and looked at a hat I made and you can’t tell one way from the other, right-side-up or upside-down. I don’t know why I was thinking it looked different upside down.

I joined this forum less than 12 hours ago and already I am learning tricks that blow my mind. :smiley:

And, if you do a steeked sweater, which most traditional Fair Isles/Norwegian sweaters are, than most of the stitches don’t look upside down.

this should give you quite a bit of info. it’s a hooded pullover sized from tiny kids to great big guys. very versatile. i’ve only knit one, so far, for my 5yo. she loooooooooooooooves it!

If I do this knit to the shoulders thing… then pick up stitches around the armholes to start the sleeves… would I transfer stiches to a stitch holder or something, rather then binding off when called for? Sort of like making the thumb on a mitten?

Hope this makes sense.

And THANK YOU for the Wallaby link. :slight_smile:

glad to help. if you knit in the round up to the shoulders, you put about 7-8 stitches on a stitch holder or scrap yarn, then join in your pre-made sleeves as you work around and around, higher and higher. eventually, you will divide for the neck and start working back and forth instead of round and round.

hope that makes sense. it is the neatest thing, when it all comes together.

Or you can complete the body–bind off about an inch on each side of the center of the underarm and knit straight up to the shoulders.

Then when it’s time to add the sleeves, you cast on enough stitches to match the underarm of the sweater (half on each side of center) and pick up all the way around.

OK, I have been embarassed to admit that the above two tips don’t make any sense to me. Now I’d better swallow my pride before I mess up. :slight_smile:

This sweater calls for a cast-on of 69 stitches, ribbing in 2 inches, then stockinette. The front, you work to 15 inches before beginning neck shaping. For the back, you work until 17 1/2 inches before binding off 23 stitches at the beginning of the next two rows and then presumably doing a 3 needle bind off on the shoulders (it just says to bind off and sew together later but I was going to do a 3 needle bind off.

I had planned to work until 15 inches and then spilt the 2 halves, work back and forth, bind off shoulders, pick up 72 stitches for the sleeves and then work the sleeves in the round.

(The sleeves end up with 72 stitches at the top)

I just realized the absurdity of this notion now that I have done about 11 inches in the round of the body (138 stitches). This sweater has no shaping for the SHOULDERS - only the neck - so how the heck to I figure out where the sleeves begin?

I just in the nick of time prevented myself from knitting a 15 inche useless tube. :rollseyes:


Should I quit now and make the sleeves? Figure out how wide/long the tops of the sleeves are and then subtract that from the “actual length” of the sweater (17 1/2 inches, it says, though it is actually 2 rows past that since it says to bind off at the edges of 2 rows past that), and divide back and front when I have [17 1/2 - sleeve width] inches of tube?

Have I just messed this up completely?

Is there a good book to read on this sort of thing?

Hope this makes sense.

I haven’t done it “quite a few times”, but I have done it several. So much simpler and better-looking than my seams will ever be! Go for it.

Okay, this is a basic drop shoulder pattern which is good because there’s no armhole/shoulder shaping. So yes, work until you split for front and back, work the front neck shaping as for the original pattern and finish off with a 3 needle BO for the shoulders. For the sleeves, start where you split the back and front at the lower armhole and pick up stitches around it for the sleeve. Join and knit in the round, decreasing 2 stitches every couple inches or so. Or you might want to look at the original sleeve pattern and just reverse the shaping.