Rushaan knitalong part 4: finishing

Since we knit Rushaan using seamless construction, what we have now is a big floppy piece of unblocked knitting. But we also have zero seaming to do!

Of course, we have to do other stuff to turn this floppy blob into a wearable sweater. In his final installment of the Rushaan knitalong, we'll walk through the steps to finishing the thing.

button and buttonband plackets

The buttonband is worked bottom-up, and the buttonhole band is worked sideways, both in garter stitch. After you've picked up the stitches at the base of the buttonband and worked a few rows, your piece will look something like this.

 
 Rushaan buttonband in progress

Rushaan buttonband in progress

 

The idea is to work the buttonband so that it's just slightly shorter than the sweater placket, to keep the thing nice and firm. I like to sew the band to the edge of the sweater as I go, using mattress stitch, so I know how much further I have to knit. Every inch or two, I just stop knitting and work a bit of mattress stitch.

Using mattress stitch to seam stockinette to garter stitch is simple. On the stockinette sweater edge, work through the horizontal bar between the outermost column of stitches and the column next to it. On the garter buttonband edge, work through the outermost column of purl stitches.

 
 Rushaan buttonband in progress, sewn to front sweater edge

Rushaan buttonband in progress, sewn to front sweater edge

 

For the buttonhole band, you'll pick up stitches along the opposite sweater edge and work the garter rows perpendicular to the sweater front. Once the two are finished, here's what you'll see. The instructions have you sewing down the base of the buttonhole band later on, but feel free to do it now if you'd like to tidy things up.

 
 Rushaan placket bands, completed

Rushaan placket bands, completed

 

neckband

The next step is to pick up stitches around the neck opening and work the neckband, following the pattern's row-by-row instructions. What you'll end up with is a henley collar that's gently rounded in front and lengthened with short rows in the back. Then you can graft the underarms using Kitchener stitch, weave in your ends, and admire your work!

If you used a particularly heavy yarn, or if you made one of the larger sizes, your sweater might benefit from a bit of added stability to prevent it from stretching and losing shape over time. One easy way to provide this is to use a run a line of crocheted slip stitches inside the sweater, along the columns of seam stitches outlining each armhole and shoulder. Because the seam stitches are purled on the right side, they pop right out on the wrong side of the fabric as a column of knit Vs. Just use a crochet hook the same size as your main needles and work a slip stitch right through both legs of each V, keeping to the wrong side of the fabric.

Since you haven't blocked anything, and there's a mix of garter and stockinette stitch with different row gauges, your unblocked sweater will warp in all sorts of unattractive ways.

 
 Unblocked floppy blob of finished sweater!

Unblocked floppy blob of finished sweater!

 

But after a warm bath and some buttons, everything will straighten out beautifully. As your sweater is drying, be sure to pin everything neatly into shape.

Rushaan finishing finished.jpg

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!


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 alternating/alternate cable cast-on called for in the pattern is a simple, flexible cast-on that works nicely for 1x1 rib. The cast-on stitches blend right into the rib, instead of creating a solid cast-on edge. I used this cast-on for my Rushaan, and it looks smashing (if still unblocked and kind of rumply).

 
tubular.jpg
 

Here's a straightforward video tutorial from Clare Devine of Knit Share Love, complete with jazzy music:

 
 

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.

And 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.


Rushaan knitalong part 1: choosing your yarn

 

Let's knit Rushaan!

 
Rushaan pair
 

For those just joining us, this is the second of six knitalongs I'll be hosting this year -- one for each of the designs in Handsome: Man Sweaters for Every Body. I'll be making a version of each sweater in the collection for myself, using Jill Draper Makes Stuff yarns. Folks will be sharing their projects, questions, and knowledge in the Handsome Ravelry group.

The Rushaan KAL will take place over the months of October and November, and I'll be posting here about all the steps it takes to make your own sweater, from choosing a yarn to finishing techniques. Knit along with us and post your stuff! #HandsomeKnitting #RushaanKAL #ManSweaters

The first step is to choose the yarn we'll use for our Rushaan sweaters. I'm going to talk a bit here about the different yarns I've used for Rushaan, and the different qualities those yarns give the finished sweater. Then I'll share some tips for yarn substitutions, in case you want to use something else from your stash or LYS.

The original Rushaan sweater (seen below on, yes, Rushaan) was made with Quince & Co. Chickadee yarn.

 
 the Rushaan sweater, knit with Quince & Co. Chickadee yarn

the Rushaan sweater, knit with Quince & Co. Chickadee yarn

 

Chickadee is a soft, springy, 3ply yarn made of 100% American wool. It's soft enough to wear next to the skin, and I find it an utter pleasure to knit with because of its smooth texture and bounce. When it's worked at 6 stitches per inch for Rushaan, the resulting fabric is of moderate warmth, perfect for folks who might overheat in thicker wool sweaters. It's also fairly lightweight, so it's a good choice for garments with seamless construction, even in larger sizes. (Though in the later stages of our knitalong, I'll suggest a few ways to add stability to your Rushaan sweater, even without seams.)

I used short-row belly shaping on this one, and this heathered colorway (Sabine) camouflages the short rows beautifully.

 
 Close-up of Chickadee's fabric

Close-up of Chickadee's fabric

 

Jason's version of the Rushaan sweater was made with Mountain Meadow's Cody sport-weight yarn.

 
 Jason's nubby textured Rushaan sweater in Mountain Meadow Cody

Jason's nubby textured Rushaan sweater in Mountain Meadow Cody

 

Mountain Meadow is a family-operated spinning mill owned by Karen Hostetler, dedicated to supporting local ranchers and revitalizing the American wool industry through eco-friendly operations and fair prices for ranchers. The "Mountain Merino" of their Cody yarn is fine, soft, and silky, and spun into a bouncy 2-ply yarn.

But my favorite thing about Cody is its slightly irregular texture. Not only does that texture produce a fabric that's really pleasant to the touch, but it also obscures minor wear, pilling, and fuzz -- my only beef with most fine Merino yarns. Compared to a smooth yarn like Chickadee, the fabric Cody produces has a more casual, rustic feel.

 
 Close-up of the Cody fabric

Close-up of the Cody fabric

 

Finally, I'm making my own version of Rushaan with Jill Draper Makes Stuff Mohonk yarn.

 
 Jill Draper Makes Stuff Mohonk yarn, in colorway Pine Shade. Photo (c) Jill Draper.

Jill Draper Makes Stuff Mohonk yarn, in colorway Pine Shade. Photo (c) Jill Draper.

 

Mohonk is made from 100% New York State unregistered Cormo wool. It's spun into a 2-ply sport weight, with a little of its natural lanolin. It's spongy and soft and lovely to knit with, and Jill's kettle-dyed colors are to dye for (lol GET IT?). In terms of texture, Mohonk produces a lightweight fabric with less of Chickadee's smooth stitch definition, but that isn't quite as nubbly as Cody.

yarn content qualities cost
Quince & Co. Chickadee 100% U.S. wool smooth, sturdy, moderately warm, 3ply
$.05 per yard
Mountain Meadow Cody 100% Wyoming mountain merino wool soft, warm, nubby-textured, 2ply $.06 per yard
Jill Draper Mohonk 100% NYS unregistered Cormo wool soft, spongy, warm, 2ply $.09 per yard

YARN SUBSTITUTIONS

Some things to keep in mind if you're planning to make your Rushaan sweater with a yarn not described here:

  • GAUGE, GAUGE, GAUGE: Make a few swatches with different sized needles, wet block them, pin them neatly into shape without stretching until dry, and then measure the stitch and row gauge. You're looking for 24 stitches and 34 rows over 4 inches of stockinette stitch, after blocking.
     
  • FABRIC and FEEL: You should also verify that you actually like the fabric your yarn creates at pattern gauge. After you block and measure your swatches, spend some intimate time with the swatch that got pattern gauge -- squish it around in your hand, rub it on your face and neck. Imagine a whole Rushaan sweater made from that fabric, and be sure it's what you want.
     
  • YARN & FIBER QUALITIES: Make sure the characteristics of your yarn work with the design in a way you're going to like. If you want a sweater that feels a little dressier, choose a smooth yarn like Chickadee, or one with a little bit of silk or alpaca for drape. If you want something more rustic, then a woolier wool like Cody is probably more suitable for your Rushaan. (And for more information about choosing the right yarn for a project, check out one of my #1 knitting bibles, Clara Parkes's The Knitter's Book of Yarn.)

So go read the Introduction to Handsome and use it to take measurements, choose a size, and select your custom options.

Next up, we'll talk about the alternate cable cast-on and how this sweater is put together.