Top-down raglan neckline mod: Shaping methods pros/cons?

Hi! I’m doing my first major pattern modification to a top down raglan sweater - or maybe it’s really more of an improvised pattern? I’m using the stripe design from this pattern but I want it to be a simple no-frills top-down raglan with a crew neck.

I was looking for universal patterns or tutorials to guide me a little, and found this which seems great! However, that method of knitting flat to shape the back of the neck I have previously only come across on cardigan patterns (I think), usually the sweater patterns I’ve knit have used short rows to shape the back of the neck. It would be nice to not have to go back and pick up stitches for the ribbing at the neckline, I think. What are the pros and cons to the two different methods? How would I go about changing the shaping to short rows? Could someone point me in the direction of other resources or universal patterns that might be helpful?


See if Ann Budd’s book helps. She may also have some advice on use and placement of short rows.

The method of knitting flat works well to start top down sweaters. Both this and short rows give you extra back rows to keep the sweater from pulling at the neck. Starting out flat is actually easier than disguising the turns of short rows. It might be interesting to give it a try.

Thank you, it looks like a really lovely book, and I may be able to source it in Europe, but then I would have to wait for it to arrive to get started :sob:

I have knit top-down raglan constructions before using both methods - just not without a set pattern. I find both methods easy - German short rows work super well and I don’t find them so noticeable that it bothers me. It’s not that I’m hugely bothered by picking up stitches for the finishing of the neck, it’s just that my projects have a tendency to get stuck in the knitting basket at that point :joy: I might use the flat construction just to get started quickly.

My local library has the book so you might check with yours to see if they carry it. Good luck with the sweater either way and please do post a photo when you finish.

You could knit the neck rib in the round and then use short rows to shape the back neck.

I much prefer picking up stitches for the neck over knitting the neck rib (or other pattern stitch) and continuing with the body because it just sits better when I wear it and I think it looks better. You could knit the neck rib separately and seam it in place but I avoid seaming so I’ve not done it. The seam or cast on or bind off edge where stitches were picked up provides stability. I think it was Tech Knitter who did a blog post on using a crochet hook and yarn to add stabilizing after the knitting was done.

Another thought. I think what you’re describing would be a modified circular yoke construction with the increases done for raglan lines rather than a circular yoke. That will work. Suzanne Bryan did live videos (still available on You Tube) about shaping yokes and she explained that a circular yoke or raglan lines are achieved by how the increases are placed.

If this isn’t what you’re asking about, ignore it.