Rushaan knitalong part 2: casting on, Body and Sleeves

Once you’ve chosen yarn for your Rushaan, the Handsome introduction has all the information you’ll need to choose a size and select your custom options. Because the Rushaan sweater is so simple in design, there are loads of options for customizing its size and shape. You can adjust the body length and sleeve length, add body shaping (A-line, V-line, or X-line), and/or work a short-row belly.

For my Rushaan, I chose a size with about 2” / 4cm positive ease. I’ll be using the custom body length, sleeve length, and X-line shaping calculators.

Remember that, if you use custom calculators that make your Rushaan longer or larger than the pattern version, you may need more yarn than the pattern estimate. Make sure you have enough yarn!

Casting On

The body of the sweater is worked as a seamless tube. This means that if you add body shaping, your increases and decreases will be done at the beginning/end and halfway point of the round — where side seams would be, if the sweater had seams. Of course, it also means that, if you’re working a short-row belly, it’s done on the front half of the stitches only.

The tubular cast-on is a marvelous, magical knitting technique that creates a sturdy yet flexible edge. In 1x1 rib like Rushaan's cuffs and bottom band, the cast-on melts invisibly into the knitting, and it's awesome. For more information, check out this great introduction to the tubular cast-on from Marnie MacLean.

The Handsome e-book includes instructions for tubular cast-on that comes out beautifully. It's a little fiddly, though, using waste yarn and beginning with approximately half the final number of cast-on stitches. I used this cast-on for my Rushaan, and it looks smashing (if still unblocked and kind of rumply).

 
tubular.jpg
 

I used this method in Handsome because it's easy to explain without images or video. But personally, I often use the long-tail tubular cast-on method. It doesn't require waste yarn, it's dead simple, and you cast on the final number of stitches you plan to end up with (for my Size 3 Rushaan, that was 108 front stitches and 108 back stitches).

Here's a photo tutorial from Purl Soho (with loads of questions and answers in the comments -- if anything is still unclear after reading the tutorial, chances are your question has already been asked and answered!). And here's a video tutorial from Ysolda Teague:

 
 

Shaping

Once your cast-on is complete, you’ll work the ribbed bottom band, and then begin the body of your sweater, working any body shaping from the custom calculator.

Once you reach the underarms, you’ll set the body piece aside while you knit the Sleeves. The Sleeves are worked just as the body is, except that the increases for shaping the sleeve happen only at the beginning and end of a round.

Starting a New Skein (with spit!)

Finally — and I'm doing this for every single knitalong in this series — I want to enthusiastically promote the felted join (aka the spit splice) as a method for joining new lengths of yarn. If you’re working with any yarn that has a large percentage of non-washable wool, this is an awesome way to avoid weaving in ends and I LOVE IT SO HARD. There are instructions in Handsome for working a felted join, but here’s a quick video tutorial from VeryPink Knits, for the visual learners. She shows the method I like best, which includes removing half of the plies on each end, so that the joined area isn't any fatter than the rest of the strand.

Next up, we'll JOIN the Body and the Sleeves in one giant mess of a sweater monster, to finish the upper body in a single seamless piece.