Knitting a Top Down Sweater: Dividing for Sleeves

When you are knitting a top down sweater like a yoke or raglan pattern, after you complete the shoulders and top of bust, you will separate the sleeve stitches from the body stitches. The sleeve stitches will be held unworked as you finish the body down to the waist.

Joining the front and back of body creating a sleeve

In the Fireworks pattern by Olive Knits, at the beginning of the round you will work a few extra stitches before you separate the body and sleeves. This is because your BOR (beginning of round) is at the top of the shoulder and you must first work to the stitches that will be under the arm. Where you place your first marker is going to be the new BOR. Then you will continue by working a certain number of stitches for the front, slipping the appropriate number of stitches for one arm PURLWISE onto waste yarn, adding a few stitches under the arm, working a certain number of stitches for the back (this brings the front and back together), slipping stitches purlwise for the other arm, adding stitches for under the other arm, and joining the back to the front.

For other top down patterns, the process is the same, but the position of the BOR will change the process a little. A well written pattern will give exact numbers of stitches to work and slip and in what order.

Most patterns suggest holding sleeve stitches on waste yarn. But if you have extra cables you can use those instead. It is important that you use a generous length of waste yarn or a long cable so it will be easy for you to try on your sweater. That’s one of the big advantages of making a top down sweater!

To slip stitches to waste yarn, you will need a tapestry needle and a generous length of waste yarn. (See images below) I recommend using a contrasting yarn in a lighter weight than your work. Thread your waste yarn on your tapestry needle, but don’t knot it. Slip stitches PURLWISE onto the tapestry needle the same way you would slip them from the left to the right needle. Continue working your stitches down your waste yarn, but don’t let them fall off the other end! When you have the appropriate number of stitches slipped for one sleeve, tie the ends of your waste yarn together so you don’t drop the stitches. Be sure to leave plenty of room for you to try on your sweater.

If you are using cable needles, use any needle size smaller than what you are knitting with. This keeps from stretching your stitches and changing the gauge. Slip stitches PURLWISE from the left needle to the new cable being careful to not let them slip off the other end. Secure your needles together so stitches won’t fall off as you are working the body. Be sure to use a cable long enough to allow you to try on your sweater!

My favorite way to hold sleeve stitches is on an interchangeable cable so the needles don’t get in the way. For this technique, you will need:

  • an extra cable long enough to allow you to try on your sweater
  • a needle any size smaller than what you are knitting with
  • something to secure your cable, like a connection piece or stoppers

Attach the needle to one end of the cable and a connection piece or a stopper to the other end. Slip your stitches PURLWISE as described. Then replace the needle with the other end of the connection piece or the other stopper.

After your sleeves are separated from the body, you are ready to work the rest of the body! You will come back to the sleeves after the body is complete.

Find more details on the Fireworks KAL here.

Slipping stitches purlwise onto waste yarn
Backward loop cast on under the arm
Add marker between 2 cast on stitches to mark the center under the arm
Materials for holding stitches on an interchangeable needle cable
Slipping stitches onto a cable

Get Your Swatch On!

My beautiful yarn came in from Jems Luxe Fibers so I’m swatching for the Fireworks 4 Day KAL today! Look below for a peek at the colorway I ordered. If you are just joining us, get all the Fireworks KAL details here.

If this is your first time swatching, here are a few of tips.

  • Use your size 6 needles because you want to use the needles you’re going to use for the body of the sweater.
  • Cast on more than 20 stitches. The edges tend to warp a little bit, so you won’t get an accurate measurement if you count the stitches on the edge.
  • Your swatch should be a little more than 4″ x 4″ of stockinette stitch (k on one side, p on the other). There’s no “right” way to do it other than that. But if you like specific directions, I’ll post row by row directions below.
  • Notice the gauge says the swatch should be “blocked.” For the most accurate gauge, wash your block the same way you’ll wash your finished piece. When you wash different fibers, they may grow or shrink, so you’ll definitely want to take that into account for your sweater.

Let me know if you have any other questions! Happy swatching!

Swatch pattern

Cast on 28 sts.

Row 1: (K1, P1) across.

Row 2: (P1, K1) across.

Rpt rows 1 & 2.

Row 4: (K1, P1) twice, K 20, (K1, P1) twice.

Row 5: (P1, K1) twice, P 20, (P1, K1) twice.

Rpt rows 4 & 5 thirteen more times.

Rpt rows 1 & 2 twice. Bind off.

Luxe DK in colorway Euclase by Jems Luxe Fibers

Welcome to the Fireworks KAL!

This is your Olive Knits Fireworks Sweater Headquarters! Here, you can find links to everything you need to participate in the Fireworks Knitalong throughout the month of July. Let us know you are knitting with us by signing up here. If this is your first sweater, great! I’ll also have a variety of resources available to you to make it fun and easy.

A huge thanks to Olive Knits for organizing this worldwide KAL, and to Jems Luxe Fibers for hosting our small group KAL! First, bookmark these websites for easy access:

https://www.oliveknits.com/fireworks-4day-kal/ Olive Knits Fireworks KAL page: Contains the Pattern Details link, Events Timeline, Swag and much more!

https://jemsluxefibers.com/ Jems Luxe Fibers for ordering yarn.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/758681594755974 Join Jems: For the Love of Knitting and Cooking Facebook Group for meetings, updates, and to share progress.

https://katieclarkcrochet.com/ I’m your hostess and KAL leader! Look here for resources, videos, updates, tips and more. Email me at KatieClarkCrochet@gmail.com for personalized help along the way!

Event Dates

June 22nd: Swatch Party: Zoom party hosted by Jems Luxe Fibers, See Jems: For the Love of Knitting and Cooking Facebook Group for details about how to participate

July 1st: Virtual Cast On Party – Livestream: Hosted by Olive Knits

July EVERY TUESDAY: Weekly Zoom meetings hosted by Jems Luxe Fibers, See Jems: For the Love of Knitting and Cooking Facebook Group for details about how to participate

• July 6: Working the yoke

• July 13: Dividing for the body and working the body

• July 20: Working the sleeves

• July 27: Finishing

July ALL MONTH: Weekly livestreams and prize drawings with Marie on Facebook 

July 30th: Official end of KAL and Virtual Bind Off Party – Livestream

What You May Have Missed

• Order your pattern and yarn ASAP! The pattern is discounted for a limited time only. Order your yarn soon so you will receive your order in time to cast on with us!

• Let us know you are knitting with us by signing up here.

• June 7: Olive Knits unveils the Fireworks Sweater! View the video here.

Resources

Learn tips and tricks for swatching here.

• Video: How to read the information in the Pattern details, what materials you will need, and prepare to swatch

• Photo Tutorial on Dividing the Sleeves in a top down sweater

• Find errata on the Fireworks Pattern at the bottom of this page.

If you are enjoying this KAL and the resources I have provided, you can show your appreciation!

• View, Like, Subscribe, and Share my content on Instagram @katie_clark_crochet, Facebook @katieclarkcrochet, and here at https://katieclarkcrochet.com

• Consider leaving a tip in my Tip Jar!

Agape Love Shawl Crochet Version and 9 Tips for working with Mohair

Happy Valentine’s Day! Treat your Valentine or yourself to this soft, luxurious scarf designed by Judy Busby at Jems Luxe Fibers and translated to crochet by me, Katie Clark.

Agape Love is an unconditional love that transcends and persists regardless of the circumstance.  Agape is the Greek term for Love – the highest expression of love – a pure and  selfless thing.

This shawl is a fun and quick crochet using minis and mohair.  Every row begins with decreases that shapes this colorful shawl.  Have fun with your colors and let it reflect the love you’ve experienced, how it has shaped and reshaped you.  God’s love for you and me is passionate, pure and beyond anything we’ve ever experienced, accepting us as we are.  He reminds us of our worth and beauty as His daughters.  He loves us with unconditional Agape Love.  God is Love!

Judy Busby, Jems Luxe Fibers

If you’ve never used mohair, you’ll find it takes some patience to work with. So before we get into the pattern, let me give you a few tips for working with mohair.

Tip #1

Use a larger hook or needle to retain loftiness. The wonderful thing about mohair is the silky halo of fiber that surrounds the core. Using a hook or needle that is too small will compact the fibers, negating the effect.

Tip #2

Work loosely. For the same reason as above, use a gentle hand. Or if you have a tendency to stitch tightly, go up another size or two.

Tip #3

Hold with another yarn to add softness, halo & warmth. The fibers aren’t just beautiful. They are very useful for insulating. Used alone, mohair is surprisingly warm. So adding it to another yarn will make your finished piece that much warmer.

Tip #4

Ask your LYS to wind your yarn. Especially if you’ve never used mohair before, because it is so clingy. You don’t want to be frustrated with your yarn before you even begin your project. If you must wind it yourself, try loosening fibers before winding by gently spreading the strands apart to keep them from matting together as you wind.

Tip #5

Do not work cake or ball from inside. I’m a work-the-ball-from-the-inside kind of girl. I do it even when it’s not recommended. Except for mohair. Ever. The fibers pull on each other and you end up with a big mess. Ask me how I know.

Tip #6

Use excellent lighting. This is always important, but especially when using mohair. The halo can make the core strand difficult to see. Good lighting can help and if you really can’t make out your stitches, try holding it up to the light.

Tip #7

Don’t worry so much about mistakes. The halo hides a lot. But if necessary, hold your work up to light to check.

Tip #8

Be patient when taking out stitches. It’s inevitable that you will have to take some out eventually. But try not to get frustrated. Don’t pull so hard that you rip the core, but don’t be afraid to tear fuzz to separate the strands.

Tip #8

Most of all, be patient! It’s is different than any other fiber. But the soft luxurious mohair is worth it!

Now on to the Agape Love Shawl Crochet Version!

Agape Love Shawl

Difficulty
Beginner

Finished Measurements
Approx. 90 inches by 6 inches

Materials
Agape Love Minis and Nimbus Set

or

1 skein Jems Luxe Fibers Nimbus in Ruby Red MC
1 mini skein Jems Luxe Fibers Luxe Sock in each of these colors
Aphrodite CC1
Rubellite CC2
Agape CC3
Ruby Red CC4
Apple of Discord CC5

US Size N (9mm) hook

Tapestry needle

Gauge
3 sc = 1 inch
Gauge not critical

Begin Shawl
Holding MC and CC1 together, ch 270 loosely.

Row 1: Working in back loop of ch, sk first ch, sc3tog, sc across to last 3 chs, sc3tog. Turn.

Row 2: Ch 1, sc3tog, sc across to last 3 sts, sc3tog. Turn.

Rows 3 & 4: Rpt row 2.

*Break CC1. Pick up CC2 and hold it together with MC.
Rpt row 2 five times (or as many times as desired if you have extra yarn).

Rpt from * for each mini skein. Finish off both strands. Weave in ends. Block as desired.

Terms and Conditions

Game On! Make a better Pom Pom

Pom poms are adorable on a hat or ends of a scarf, so here’s an improvement on a classic. The Game Changer Crocheted Pom Pom!

Why is this pom better?

• It is washable and dryable Because it has no loose ends, as long as your yarn can be laundered, so can this pom pom be laundered.

• It can be made with any yarn Most pom poms are made with wool yarn because the wool fibers cling to each other and keep it from falling apart. This one is made with a crochet chain, so it’s structurally sound. That means you can use any yarn, even a novelty yarn, and it won’t fall apart.

• It’s child proof Do you have a kid that picks at everything? Then you know, if you pick at a pom pom, the pieces fall out! This pom pom cannot be pulled apart.

Now you know you need one! How do you make it? Look no further.

Game Changer Crochet Pom Pom

This pattern makes an approximately 3 inch pom pom. To make a larger pom pom, use longer chain loops in round 2. To make it smaller, use shorter loops.

To make a full pom pom, the sts have to be squeezed in. It can be difficult at the end, but the more chain loops you squeeze in, the fuller the pom pom will be.

Rnd 1: In a magic ring and leaving a long tail, ch 1, 20 sc, join with a sl st to first sc. Pull your magic ring closed very firmly.

Rnd 2: (Ch 10, sl in same st) 4 times. 5 ch lps made. Rpt for each st around.
80 ch lps

Finish off leaving a long tail. Being careful not to tie over any chain loops, tie the tails together very firmly. Use these tails to sew pom pom in place.

Bonus

Here’s a hint for attaching your pom pom to a hat. This is a very firm attachment and there is no knot on the inside to rub against a sensitive head!

Draw both tails through the top of the hat a couple of time. Then draw them back to the outside. Wind the tails in opposite directions a couple of times around the base of the pom pom and tie very firmly. Trim ends to just a little shorter than the the loops of the pom pom.

Need a pattern to attach your pom pom to? Here is my Basic Crochet Beanie Pattern for free!

Traveling with Stitch Markers

I just got back from Boston, and I didn’t lose a single stitch marker! That is a big feat after knitting on airplanes and subways and in meetings (don’t tell!) and sessions. I usually drop stitch markers just sitting on the couch, so I had to figure out a way to hold on to them. My secret is a life line for my stitch markers. Here’s how I did it.

Set up:

Thread the Life Line through markers
with a tapestry needle.
  1. Choose a sock weight yarn in contrasting color. Cut a length at least as long as your needles and up to as wide as your project’s finished size.
  2. With your stitch markers in place on the needles, thread the life line through each stitch marker on your needles.
    • If you have to add stitch markers throughout your pattern, I recommend using open stitch markers that clip closed or bulb pins so you can add them to the life line later.
    • If you use closed markers, you must add them to the life line in the correct place before you continue to step 3. They will dangle from your life line as you work, and that’s ok.
  3. Choose 2 extra stitch markers the same size or bigger. Tie one to each end of your life line to keep it from becoming loose from your work. Your last marker can stay on the needle or dangle free.

Working with the Life Line:

  • Always keep the life line on the same side throughout your row.
  • Do not allow the life line to wrap or yarn over your needles as you work.
  • I recommend working with the life line on the side facing you. Stitch to the first marker. With the life line in front, slip marker purlwise.
Stitched over marker
This is what it looks like when you carry your life line on the opposite side and you slip the marker with the yarn in back.
  • If you have to turn in the middle of the row (for example, when working wraps and turns), the life line must fall to the side away from you. In this case, work to the marker, and with the working yarn in front, slip the marker purlwise. If you don’t do this, the marker will be stitched in like this:

Trouble shooting:

  • If you stitch over your marker as above, you can continue your row. When you come back to the marker, slip it off the needle, pull the marker through the stitch to free it, and place it back on the needle.
  • If you wrap or yarn over your life line, it will become entangled in your work. You must unknit back to the mistake and unwrap the life line from the needle.
  • I prefer using bulb pins with this technique. The large end sits in place on the needle and the small end dangles down a little bit allowing the life line to hang out of your way as you stitch.

The Question Most Asked

crochet knit icon

I teach both knitting and crochet. And I teach a lot of beginners who don’t know the difference. The question they ask me most is:

What’s better? Knit or crochet?

That’s a totally subjective question. Ask a knitter and they will probably say knitting. Ask a crocheter and they will probably say crochet. Even those who do both may waffle and say, “They are just different.”

I have my opinions of what’s better and easier, but here’s some hopefully unbiased information with a side-by-side comparison so you can make up your own mind.

After you look over the info, keep reading for my answer!

Crochet vs knitting.jpg

Crochet vs knitting (pdf download)

So, when a student asks me, I say I prefer crochet. Why? Because it works up faster and mistakes are easier to fix. It’s just a personal preference, and these days I knit as much or more than crochet. There are things I like better about knitting, but my heart is in crochet!

Did I miss anything? What’s your opinion? Comment your preference and why!