Rushaan knitalong part 3: the upper body

The next part of the Rushaan pattern is where all the action happens! We join the Body and Sleeves into a single big piece on a long circular needle, and then work the Upper Body, seamlessly shaping the sleeve caps and shoulders. 

the joining row

Starting at the center front, you'll work across the right front Body stitches, the Right Sleeve, the back of the Body, the Left Sleeve, then the left front Body stitches. The stitches you held on waste yarn for the underarm will line up at the Body and Sleeve pieces, and you'll graft them together with Kitchener stitch once you've finished working the Upper Body.

How the joining row works. The stitches held on waste yarn line up at the underarms.

How the joining row works. The stitches held on waste yarn line up at the underarms.

shaping the Upper Body

Once the body and sleeves are joined, we'll use decreases to shape the back, fronts, shoulders, and sleeves in one seamless piece. If you were knitting a seamed sweater with set-in sleeves, you'd work a sleeve cap by binding off a handful of stitches at each edge of the sleeve, then completing the sleeve cap in a bell shape. We're going to do much of the same shaping, but seamlessly. The lower part of our sleeve cap is shaped like a set-in sleeve cap, but instead of binding off stitches, we've got them held on waste yarn to be grafted together later. And where the front and back pieces meet, instead of a shoulder seam, there's a wide saddle with the garter-stitch panel in the center.

 
RUSHAAN shoulder.jpg
 

This Upper Body shaping happens in four different segments. Each segment includes decreases that consume either Sleeve stitches or Body stitches. To help you visualize what the pattern instructions ask you to do, here's a visual to show how the sweater is actually being shaped:

  1. Decreases Sleeve stitches on every other row to gradually shape the lower part of the sleeve cap.
  2. Decreases Sleeve stitches on every row to more dramatically shape the upper sleeve cap.
  3. Decreases Body stitches on every row to shape the upper body.
  4. Working just the saddle stitches, one side at a time, joins the saddle stitches to the front and back, using decreases that consume Body stitches.
The Upper Body shaping on Rushaan. Note that, while you're working Step 3 (shaping the upper back and fronts with body decreases), you'll also shape the front neck.

The Upper Body shaping on Rushaan. Note that, while you're working Step 3 (shaping the upper back and fronts with body decreases), you'll also shape the front neck.

The whole neckline looks a bit raggedy here, but the buttonbands and neck finishing cleans it up beautifully. We'll talk about finishing in the next and final installment of the knitalong!