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Knitting Instructional: How to Cast on for a Top Down Sweater

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Posted: Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Last Updated: Thursday, August 23, 2012

Terry from Jimmy Beans Wool and Diane Soucy from Knitting Pure and Simple demonstrate how to cast on for a top down sweater.

How to Cast on for a Top Down Sweater

Terry and Diane are going to show you how to cast on for a raglan top down sweater and explain marker placement, parts of the sweater, increases used and how to cast on at the beginning and end of rows.

Diane likes to use a long tail cast on but you can use whichever firm cast on you like best such as a knitted or cable cast on. She doesn't recommend using the backwards loop or a provisional cast on because they are not firm enough to hold the entire weight of the sweater.

Terry demonstrates the long tail cast on and places markers where each shoulder seam will be. Be sure to use markers that won't migrate, meaning you want markers that stay where you put them so that your increase lines will stay straight.

She then shows how the stitches are grouped. There are two stitches on either end which are the fronts, the next group in from each end are the shoulder stitches which will become the sleeve stitches as the sweater grows. Finally, the largest group at the center of the cast on are the back stitches. Increases are going to be done on both sides of each marker to create the raglan seams.

Terry goes on to demonstrate the kf&b (knit front and back) increase before and after each marker and a M1 (make 1) increase.

Many top down sweaters have you knit the button bands along with the main body of the sweater and since these start lower down after you've done front shaping increase you will need to cast on stitches at the beginning of the row. Terry shows how to do that with the backwards loop cast on. You may also use a knitted or cable cast on if you prefer.

Often the button bands are worked in seed stitch. Terry and Diane talk about how to read your stitches so you always know if you need to knit or purl the next stitch. For a more detailed instructional please watch our video How to do Seed Stitch

This is how you begin a top down sweater. Just keep going until you get to point where you need to slip your sleeve stitches off onto waste yarn. Watch for a video showing you how to do this soon!

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