Different Length for Sweater Front & Back

I’m working on the front piece of a man’s V-neck sweater (http://www.vintagepurls.net.nz/Downloads/NeedleworkIllustrated194.pdf). I am just about to shape the left shoulder but my work is about 2 inches longer (and that’s before I start casting off over the next 4 rows) than the finished back piece. I have followed the pattern meticulously, tension is the same, etc… Is there supposed to be this much difference in length between the front and back?

If the back of the neck BACK is not carve out, this is probably the case.

I’m hoping you’re right. I haven’t knitted a sweater before so I wasn’t sure if there should be that much difference between the front and back. Thanks for your input.

Cayda, do you write your rows down as you do them, then cross them off when you do the matching piece?

Never just trust measurement.

I was taught to knit at four years old and I’m now fifty years old and I have always written my rows down, because I put all my shapings on there too.

For instance, on the front piece, when it tells you to “divide for neck” (or words to that effect) you’ll know exactly which row to do it on.

When you have finished the left side of the neck, you can cross the rows off to ensure you shape the right side correctly.

For instance, when I need to decrease one stitch at each end of a sleeve, next to the row number I write “D1EE” on my sheet of paper, so that I know what I’ve got to do on the matching piece.

If it’s decrease one stitch at neck edge I write “D1N”.
For decrease one stitch at armhole, it’s “D1A”.

It really does help you to know exactly what you’re doing.


I have learned (the hard way) through my limited experience that it really pays to write down the rows and any required changes. In this particular case my front piece is 8 rows longer than my back piece. I was just not sure if it was supposed to be that way? Another thing I’m not sure about is that my rib pattern has 4 rows to it. The directions for the front piece say, “Decrease 1 st at beginning of next row (neck edge) and every following 4th row till 38 sts. remain”. Does that mean that if I start to decrease at row 102 (which happens to be the 2nd row of rib pattern) that my next decrease comes 4 rows later at row 106 (also 2nd row of rib pattern) or should I be doing my next decrease at row 104 (which is 4th row of rib pattern)? Maybe this is why the front is longer?


“Every following 4th row” means the 4th row after you have started decreasing, so yes, if you have started on the 102 row your next decrease will be on the 106, then 110, 114 and so on.

Incidentally, when I write my rows down, when I am increasing or decreasing, as well as putting down those abbreviations that I mentioned in my previous post, I also put down the number of stitches that I should have left on the needle when I have finished that particular row.

That way, it helps you to check that you haven’t forgotten to increase or decrease on any of the rows.


No, you did it right, but maybe you have the wrong number of sts on one of the pieces? I mean that maybe one of them started with the wrong number so you would be doing more or less rows to get down to 38 sts on both.

Instead of keeping track of the number of rows I’ve knitted, I usually work all the pieces (back,front or sides) on one needle with the necessay balls of yarn. That way everything comes out the same. But sometimes the pieces still come out uneven. I guess that’s what blocking is for.