Top-down knitting

Hi: I was wondering if there are any good tutorials or books that fully explain knitting from the top down. I have made a few sweaters that were complete disasters! I’ve read on Ravelry by other knitters where they have made adjustments as they go along and I’d like to know how this is done. Thanks!

Yes there’s a tutorial here, and pattern generators at and where you put in the finished measurement and the gauge you have and it makes a pattern for you. They’re step by step, so should be easy to follow.

You try on the sweater when it seems long enough, about 8-9" from the cast on, and decide if it fits. The yoke should be long enough but not too long, the raglan increase lines should just about meet at the underarm, no more than 1" gap, the sleeves about the right size for your upper arms and the body would fit your high bust measurement. The sleeves and body could be an inch or so smaller than you actually need as you generally cast on sts at the underarm which will add a couple more inches.

Sue got a lot of good ones there. There’s some videos on YouTube as well.

I just ordered The Knitters Handy Book of Patterns By Ann Budd. I read reviews and it enables one to make more than 350 items. Various sweaters, mitts, gloves, etc in any gauge from infant to adult. Knit Picks has it on sale for $14.95. I am going to give it a try anyway.

She doesn’t really have any top down patterns in it though, only bottom up. However, she’s releasing a new one that has a similar format called Knitter’s Handy Book of Top Down Sweaters; I think it may not be available for a while though.

oh that’s right. I think it is available this month.

I haven’t done adult sweaters top down, only baby ones. The problem I had is that they’re all so different. I didn’t like the Knitting Fool pattern generator. The sweater ended up being much too wide and large for what I wanted. I found a good baby sweater pattern and adapted it. That one was for a vee neck. I discovered that to make it into a button from the sweater neck front, all I had to do was increase the stitches in the front. The front and back stitches between the markers are going to have the same amount of stitches. A button band will then be knitted along the front opening edges. I figured out the proper sweater dimensions by looking at ones at Lion Brand’s pattern website. They had a cute crochet sweater that was for beginners. It was all rectangle pieces that were sewn together. They had the dimensions of the sweater pieces all marked out for me. I figured out that for a newborn sweater, I needed it to be 10 inches across (a total circumference of 20, 10 front and 10 back). I kept knitting that top down sweater and measuring across the back from raglan seam to seam along the bottom edge of the knitting. When it got to be the right width I wanted, I stopped increasing and divided it for the sleeves. Your measurements may not line up with the pattern. You may have to knit a few more rows to get where you want. This is how I custom fit a bad pattern by measuring across the back. I knit the sweater until I reached the sweater length mapped out for me by Lion. I also used Lion’s measurements for the sleeve length. This was a standard newborn pattern, as I didn’t have the baby here to measure.

What you have to remember is that there are certain factors which make a big difference in the sizing. Who did the designer make the pattern for? It makes a big difference if she made the baby sweater, for instance, for a standard 7 pound baby or for the designer’s big moose 10 pound baby. Does the designer knit tightly or loosely? That affects the pattern and size. The gauge listed, if there’s one at all (many times there’s not in blog patterns), is for the designer’s gauge, not yours. That’s why it’s important to swatch to see how many stitches per inch you get. Another thing if you’re a beginner is that the yarn has everything to do with it. If you use sport weight yarn for a pattern which calls for worsted, you will use more yarn, more stitches, and your sweater will be too small. Knit a swatch and measure before you start.

The trick to getting the top down pattern generators to fit, and any other pattern like them, is to try it on. Work to just about the length it says before dividing the sleeves and put the sts on other circs or some yarn and put it over your shoulders. That way you can see if it’s going to have too many sts in the body and arms, or too long a yoke or whatever. Then you can change the increases a bit so it doesn’t get too big.

Another way to do it, is increase until the back sts measure half what you want the bust measurement to be, or an inch less to accomodate the cast on sts at the underarm.

Good tutorials posted before my comment.

But here goes: [B]I detest top-down knitting. [/B]If your row gauge isn’t spot on, your increases down to the armpits will be way off. Been there, done that.

I frequently substitute yarn…and I can always manage to get the stitch gauge right, but sometimes row gauge is off. In top-down knitting, this is a PITA to modify, tinker with, whatever you want to call it.

I prefer bottom-up knitting. Easy to make adjustments for length either way.

I don’t have a problem with row and stitch gauge no matter the size of the yarn weight and needles I use. I don’t follow the gauge in a pattern, preferring a very loose gauge rather than its denser one. The sts and rows are proportional when done this way and I think a lot more forgiving than tighter gauges. I do the adjustments at the underarm in how many sts I cast on for the body and pick up in the sleeves, and increasing or decreasing the first round/row after the underarm.

I’ve done bottom up and they are fine, but I like being able to try it on. :teehee:

After reading the last few posts, it really makes me wonder if I want to tax my brain with this top-down cardi.:teehee:

It should work out fine. I was just offering a different take on the stitch to row gauge ratio.

It really is fun to do. There’s something very pleasing about the line of increases at the sleeves. It’s a change from the usual bottom-up directions and it’s not difficult, just different.