I think i'm addicted to knitting sweaters. I love knitting super-simple, quick sweaters - using sumptious yarns in sumptious colors. And though i traditionally love the top-down patterns, there are a few aspects of them that don't suit my tastes perfectly. Take Knitting Pure and Simple pattern 992 below, for example. I'd love to whip up a version in the $5 per ball Rowan Chunky Print (color 83), but need to make a few changes.
First, the sizes are a bit too large for me. The smallest chest measurement is a 38 and i really like mine to be about 34 (yes, i know you all feel sorry for me).
Second, the sleeve section right under the armhole is too loosey-goosey. I prefer it to be snug fitting.
Third, I'd like the waist to have a bit of shaping...
Here's how i can accomplish those goals.
Making it smaller: The theory of making the chest smaller is simple - you want less stitches. For example, let's say that your gauge is 3 sts/inch. If the finished chest size is 38 inches, you'll be knitting on 38x3=114 stitches for the body of the sweater. If you want the finished chest size to be a bit smaller (e.g., 34 inches), you'll need to remove 4 inches from the body - which is 12 stitches (4x3=12). So, subtract 12 from 114 and you get 102... That's how many stitches you want to have on your needle while you're knitting the body.
When it comes to the KPS patterns, we can simplify the math even further. In the beginning, she tells you to knit until there are 55 sts between the back markers - for the 38 inch chest. To reduce the chest size by 4 inches, we need to remove 12 stitches total: 6 from the front and 6 from the back. So.... subtract 6 from 55 (giving you 49)and that's the number that you will knit to. Basically, you can write '49' before the 55, creating an even smaller size!
Tightening the Sleeves: This change is simple. Instead of waiting to do your first sleeve decrease (remember, you're starting from the top) for 6 rows, repeat the decrease every other row 3 times.... and then follow the pattern as specified.
Adding Shaping: To add shaping to this top down sweater, you want to decrease about 2 inches worth of stitches (at each side seam) gradually to 1.5 inches above the waist, knit 3 inches plain, and then increase them again gradually. So, in the example of 4 sts/inch, you're going to want to decrease 8 stitches total (1 on each side for 4 times). Note that standard waist to shoulder measurement is 17 inches.
And here's a sweater I knit using pattern 992 and those changes (and with a bit of Lace worked in)!
Posted by Jimmy (Laura) of Jimmy Beans Wool