Neck too small

The neckband on a top I have knitted is too small. It’s nowhere near going over the head of the 2year old its for. The neck does look smaller than what you’d expect from the picture on the pattern. I’m not sure what to do now.

I’ve tried casting off more loosely but its not worked.
It’s a 2 x 2 rib - would a 1 x 1 rib make any difference?

Any suggestions please.

Any suggestions please?

Ugh, that’s so annoying when that happens.
There are a couple of alternatives.
You could pick up sts for the neckband, knit one row around and cast off. Be sure the pick up of sts is loose so that it’s not the limiting factor in making the neck too tight.
You could work single crochet around the neck.
You could open one shoulder and knit the neck band back and forth. Knit a placket of several rows with a couple of buttonholes onto the front part of the shoulder and the neckband. This extra piece would then be able to lap over the back shoulder which would have added buttons. It would need a buttonhole and button on the neckband.
Here’s the idea with a crocheted shoulder opening but it can also be knit:

1 Like

I’d try using a needle thats a size bigger to cast off with, if it’s still too tight, I’d use them for the whole neck instead of the ones stated in the pattern.


Is it just the bind off that feels tight or the whole neckband?
There are some very stretchy bind off methods if it’s only that.

I watched a tutorial recently about the different ribs, 1x1 and 2x2 etc as you say. They all stretch to the same width, it doesn’t give more stretch. What the different ribs give is more pull in (hmm, that is not the correct term is it?). So if the neck hasn’t enough stitches to be big enough changing the type of rib won’t help.

1 Like

Thanks for this - I redid the bind off to loosen it up a bit but it wont go over the head. The neck in the pattern picture looks bigger in comparison to the rest of the front compared to what I have.

You mention some very stretchy bind off methods - can you point me in the direction of some of those please?

Thanks for this - hadn’t thought of that. I shall try this to see if that works.

Thank you for this suggestion. I shall keep this one in mind.

I was right disappointed with this. The top has a lacy bottom which I struggled with at the start but managed to sort out - so I’m not giving up on this neck!

Take care

1 Like

What’s the pattern you have made? There is a small chance there was an error in the pattern which might be listed on ravelry or the designers website or someone here might know it.
If there was an error you might need to do a bit more than a new bind off.
Salmonmac gave some great suggestions for altering the full neck which you might need.

If it is ONLY the final bind off that is tight then a stretchy bind off can help a great deal.
Working in a larger needle really helps, so you can knit in your normal tension (not trying to be loose). If I knit in 4mm I might bind off with 4.5mm or 5mm, sounds huge and looks loose initially but once the stitches all settle in it works well.

Binding off in pattern helps, so if it is rib then following the rib with knit and purl bindoffs as they present.

An iceleandic bind off is nice and loose and I love the look of it. In this case I tend NOT to go up a needle size because in my experience the same needle size has worked nicely (try it out on a swatch)

There’s a couple of links.
You can also Google “stretchy bind off knitting” to find more tutorials and try out some different ways to see what you prefer.

Just wondering, did you have a bind off row BEFORE picking up to knit the neck band? This could be the tight area.

You could post a pic of your project too, to show how it’s looking now with the small neck.

…just had another couple of thoughts.
If you seamed the shoulders you could possibly undo the seaming and make the seam a bit shorter, leaving a wider neck. It depends how the sweater is constructed.
If the neck band is knitted in the round, I’ve seen a tutorial suggesting to knit inside out which makes the inside yarn travel a bit further (on the outer circle because its inside out) to guve a slightly bigger neck.

I’ve also picked up MORE stitches than a pattern says for a neck band. I am not very experienced in knitting but I got a nice stretchy neck band by having extra stitches. If you do this make sure to calculate the correct multiple of the rib you are using.


Could you pull back the neckband and check the opening has enough room? If so, you can reknit the band with more stitches and a larger needle, as well as a loose bind off. Sometimes, it’s the pick up row for the neckband that is too tight.
If there’s a shoulder seam, you could unpick and add poppers or buttons for ease of access!


Good point - I’ve looked at the neck on the main parts of the knitting and there is enough room there. I am going to try reknitting the band using a larger needle as a start. Fingers crossed it works!

1 Like

Thank you for this advice - going to try using a larger needle to start with.

1 Like

Good luck.
Let us know how it goes.

1 Like

Fingers crossed! Neckbands are often cantankerous!!